The beginning of August can mean a variety of things: the end of summer, school getting back in session, etc. To me, it means one thing, and that thing is that football season is right around the corner. It’s been too long without any football excitement in our lives and now we get to see what another season has in store. Today, we’ll look at the AFC East.
- New England Patriots (AFC Championship): The biggest story surrounding the Patriots had to do with the Deflategate saga coming to an end, as quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season. That means that backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be thrust into the spotlight to handle the team’s duties for the first quarter of the season. While that does probably impact how the Patriots will fare during the regular season, they should have no problem maintaining their usual success once Brady comes back in Week 5 as long as everyone stays healthy. People forget that even though he’s at the age where he should be contemplating retirement, Brady had an amazing season last year with wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski becoming an unstoppable tandem. I have no doubt that will more or less be the case this year. Expect the Patriots to win the AFC East as usual and be the team to beat in the AFC.
- New York Jets: The Jets finally managed to re-sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, ending a long offseason storyline. Fitzpatrick had a great year until Week 17 last season with wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall rivaling some of the best WR duos in the league. Matt Forte will now lead the backfield and their defense should be as scary as it was last season. The Jets should have made the playoffs last year and just came up short. I think they have a really good chance of getting it done this time around.
- Buffalo Bills: You would think the Bills are better than they really are with all the talk they create about themselves. But with running back Karlos Williams suspended for the first 4 games of the season and running back LeSean McCoy starting to leave his prime, things are really starting to look bleak for Buffalo. They don’t have consistency at QB with Tyrod Taylor to be competitive. Expect the Bills to be right in the middle.
- Miami Dolphins: A new head coach, a new running back in Arian Foster, and yet, the Dolphins still see themselves at the bottom of the barrel in a division that is known for being lackluster. They have the pieces in place to be good but the main roadblock is quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who wants to be considered among the better half at his position but has the lacked the consistency to earn that nod. I hope he realizes that he’s on the hot seat and plays at a high level, because that’s the only way I see the Dolphins having a realistic chance at making the playoffs.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Matt Weingarten