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Rob Weintraub's 2019 All-AFC East Team

New England Patriots linebackers
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Nearly forty percent of every team's schedule is made up of division games. Every coach and player talks about the importance of winning games against division foes. Schemes and personnel are very often tailored to matching up with division opponents. Yet when it comes to naming the best players at season's end, we never classify them by division. Where are the All-Division teams? This has always mystified me. Colleges name All-Conference teams, why not do likewise for the professional ranks?

Well rest easy, I've done it for you, starting with the AFC divisions. Naturally, this being Football Outsiders, our stats are used to justify selections whenever necessary.


QB: Tom Brady, NE

After finishing fifth, first, and eighth in passing DYAR the last three seasons, Brady fell all the way to 16th in 2019 -- and was still easily the best quarterback in the AFC East, though Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't too far behind, in part thanks to his late drive in the regular-season finale that denied the Patriots home-field advantage in the playoffs. Josh Allen was 27th and Sam Darnold 32nd among the 34 eligible passers.

RB: Devin Singletary, BUF
RB: James White, NE

Singletary and Sony Michel were the only two backs in the division to post positive rushing DYAR on the season. Michel's was low enough that even though White is essentially a slot receiver playing out of the backfield, his contribution in the passing game (fourth among all running backs in receiving DYAR) was enough in this wasteland to make the squad.

WR: John Brown, BUF
WR: DeVante Parker, MIA
WR: Cole Beasley, BUF
TE: Ryan Griffin, NYJ

Oy vey, was the AFC East painful on offense this year. Outside of Parker, who was excellent, the best the division could muster was the "Accidental Homicide Bs" duo of Brown and Beasley. Fifty-one other wideouts topped the best the Jets could offer, Robby Anderson, and Phil Dorsett and Julian Edelman don't appear until 55 and 56 on the DYAR list. Matters were little better at tight end, where Griffin was the lone player at the position in the division to get into positive DYAR, so his innocuous season captures All-Div honors by default.

OT: Dion Dawkins, BUF
OT: Cody Ford, BUF
OG: Joe Thuney, NE
OG: Shaq Mason, NE
C: Ted Karras, NE

Pats on the interior, Bills out wide, Jets and Fish way back of the pack. Only Thuney had a season worth bragging about, another reason this was the AFC Least when it came to offense.


DE: Trent Murphy, BUF
DE: John Simon, NE
DT: Lawrence Guy, NE
DT: Danny Shelton, NE

Simon and Guy lined up everywhere in New England's elastic 3-4, but the team considers Simon an end and Guy a tackle, and we wouldn't argue with Bill Belichick.

OLB: Kyle Van Noy, NE
OLB: Jamie Collins, NE
ILB: Tremaine Edmunds, BUF
ILB: Dont'a Hightower, NE

Just as with the front four, we have three Pats and a Bill. Will the secondary be any different? The Patriots did have the league's top pass defense, so…

CB: Stephon Gilmore, NE
CB: Tre'Davious White, BUF
Slot CB: Jonathan Jones, NE
S: Devin McCourty, NE
S: Jamal Adams, NYJ

No! In an upset, a Jet actually makes the team, though let's remember that Adams was the subject of intense mid-season trade rumors, so he may or may not be a fixture on the AFC East All-Div squad in the future.


K: Stephen Hauschka, BUF
P: Jake Bailey, NE
RET: Andre Roberts, BUF

Only one player had more punts than Lachlan Edwards of the Jets: incredibly, it was New England's Bailey. Corey Bojorquez of the Bills was fifth, by the way. Who woulda thunk the Dolphins were, by far, the team that punted the least in the division? Hauschka was the only positive placekicker in the East, another sign of the offensive apocalypse. Braxton Berrios had a good season returning a plethora of punts for the Jets, but Roberts was the more consistent between kickoffs and punts, thus getting the All-Div nod.


11 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2020, 3:19pm

1 I'm starting to think NE and…

I'm starting to think NE and BUF's defensive reputations were built around the conference possessing fewer above-average starters on offense than there were offensive positions.

2 AFC Least offense

Yikes! There are a number of regular NFL teams whose offense I would take over the all-AFC East offense.

That secondary, though.

5 The offense is just wow. …

The offense is just wow.  Honestly the front 7 is pretty solid but not Earth shattering either.  Both are good, but I suspect each will be among the weakest divisional units.
Granted, until this year the offense would have looked so much better.

3 Nickel CB?

I understand having 4 DL and 4 LB, but surely given the amount of time teams spend in nickel+ with regards to number of DBS on the pitch these teams should have a 5th DB?

7 Thy will is done

Ask and you shall receive. We're going through and adding a slot cornerback to each division's all-star team. You are correct: that's a more accurate portrayal of how teams line up in the modern NFL.

8 Murphy

Can't argue too much about these selections. Thought Nsekhe was a bit better than Ford this season, and pay at least lip service to Milano and Hyde.

The only one I don't get is Murphy. He was the 3rd best DE on the Bills, how is he the 2nd best in the division?