Football Outsiders has released their NFL record projections for the 2016 season and the New England Patriots seem to be in a great position in the AFC East- and less so against the rest of the conference.
The four game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady is accounted in the math, but the difference is less than you would expect because of the Patriots easy early schedule. Football Outsiders (FO) projects the Patriots to win 1.9 games over the first four with Jimmy Garoppolo and 2.5 with Brady, a difference of a little more than half of a win.
FO expects the Patriots to win 10.3 games over the course of the full season, but keep in mind that these projections "end up grouping around 8-8 because they account for so much randomness." If Brady is allowed to play the first four games, then the Patriots would be expected to win 10.9 games.
The Patriots coast to another AFC East title, with the Bills and their projected 8.6 wins a distant second. The Jets are expected to win 6.0 games and the Dolphins are expected to come in last with 4.7 games.
FO expected a decline in Buffalo's offense because Tyrod Taylor is a question mark, the Jets don't have a quarterback and their defense needs to replace four starters, and the Dolphins lost a lot of talent in free agency.
New England is expected to come in third place in the AFC, behind the Steelers and Chiefs; both teams are projected to go 12-4. The Patriots have earned a first round bye in six straight seasons, dating back to 2009 where the team was the third seed.
Hopefully Brady's suspension is overturned this summer, but it seems like the Patriots are still in pretty good shape with Garoppolo at the helm.