The preseason breakdown moves to the AFC and we begin with the AFC East. This division starts and stops with the New England Patriots. The last time the Patriots failed to finish first in the division was 10 years ago when they finished second to the Dolphins, with them both finishing at 11-5. It’s pretty tough to see a team knocking off the Patriots this season, but let’s see what can watch out for in the AFC East.
New England Patriots
Arguably one of the greatest duos between a Coach and a player in NFL history. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are still going strong and will continue to be Superbowl favorites as long as they are together. Coming off a loss in the Superbowl, Brady should be highly motivated as he knows he has to hang up his cleats one day. Ending on top should be his goal. New England will be without receiver, Julian Edelman as he serves a four game suspension, other than that, pretty much business as usual for the Patriots. It’ll be interesting to see how the defense performs without former defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia now that he is the new Head Coach of the Detroit Lions.
Notable Additions: WR Eric Decker, DE Adrian Clayborn, WR Cordarelle Patterson, DT Danny Shelton
Notable Losses: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Malcom Butler, LT Nate Solder, WR Danny Amendola, RB Dion Lewis
The Dolphins to me are an intriguing team. On paper they’re very talented but they just can’t seem to get things right on the field. Last season saw them lose Quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the year with a torn ACL and had Jay Cutler brought in to run the offense which didn’t make any difference. Some key things to look out for this year is how Tannehill bounces back from the injury and how long it takes him to regain his form after being out for a year. Who will emerge as the number one receiver now that Jarvis Landry is gone, and what will their identity be?
Notable additions: G Josh Sitton, WR Danny Amendola, WR Albert Wilson, DE/LB Robert Quinn
Notable Losses: WR Jarvis Landry, C Mike Pouncey, DT Ndamukong Suh,
New York Jets
The New York Jets are another intriguing team out of the AFC East. They have a nice group of talented young players and they’ve just gone out and added depth at the Quarterback position. Their defense is their strength as of right now as they get things situated offensively. Sam Darnold is the Quarterback of the future in New York right now and he may get his opportunity sooner than later as a result of his play in preseason.
Notable additions: RB Charcandrick West, RB Thomas Rawls, SS JJ Wilcox
Notable Losses: WR Jeremy Kerley, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, LB Demario Davis
The Bills also went out and secured a Quarterback from the Draft. Josh Allen was brought in and like Darnold, may get a chance to start as a rookie. He has struggled at times but to be fair, the Bills haven’t looked all that great with any of the Quarterbacks under center in preseason. Allen has the luxury of having a team that is in better shape, having weapons in Kelvin Benjamin, Lesean McCoy, Charles Clay and the newly signed Jeremy Kerley and with his big arm, I could definitely see him being the starter week one. The Bills made the playoffs last year and it will be interesting to see if they improve on that or take a step back. Lesean McCoy may be punished by the league after being accused of domestic abuse claims. No decision has been made yet but that is something big that is still developing.
Notable Additions: WR Jeremy Kerley, OLB Trent Murphy, DT Star Loutolelei
Notable Losses: QB Tyrod Taylor, CB EJ Gaines, LT Cordy Glenn
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