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Jets firing Todd Bowles leads to more AFC East upheaval in Belichick-Brady era

Alex Reimer
December 31, 2018 - 9:37 am

The Patriots sent another AFC East coach packing with their blowout victory over the Jets Sunday. Just hours after their third straight double-digit loss season came to an end, the Jets announced they were moving on from Todd Bowles. They’ll now look for their sixth coach in the Belichick-Brady era, hoping this one can finally build and maintain a consistent winner. 

Before we go any further, it’s important to mention the Patriots win at the same rate against the rest of the NFL as they do against the AFC East. Their 18-year run of excellence isn’t  dependent upon squaring off against Chad Henne, J.P. Losman and Ryan Fitzpatrick. But unlike the NFL’s other titans, the Patriots have never faced a consistent challenger in their own division. The closest group was the Rex Ryan-Mark Sanchez-led Jets, who qualified for two straight AFC championships and handed the Patriots their last Divisional Round playoff loss in 2010. 

Overall, there have been 72 different head coaches and starting quarterbacks in the AFC East since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady teamed up. That number will grow by two, now that it's been reported the Dolphins will also fire Adam Gase. Miami dropped its remaining three games after the "Miami Miracle.  Gase finished below .500 for two straight seasons. 

It could be a full-blown teardown in Miami, with the Dolphins also reportedly thinking about cutting Ryan Tannehill, who has two years left on his deal. 

With Sam Darnold in New York and Allen in Buffalo, at least two teams in the AFC East may finally be building towards something. But Darnold’s and Allen’s rough performances against the Patriots this season show they have a long way to go before they can compete with Belichick and Brady.

And the Patriots just sent the Jets back to Square One with their 38-7 drubbing. It illustrates their dominance. 

This post has been updated.