The New England Patriots are Big Kahuna; that is without question. But decimating the AFC East with no competition? Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
The Pats are winning the AFC East, and it’s not close. Even if the wide receiving corp never takes shape and even if Rob Gronkowski gets hurt again and even if they desperately miss the departed LeGarrette Blount and even if Vince Wilfork never returns to 100% and even if Darrelle Revis never returns to All-Pro form and even if they only win nine or 10 games, the Patriots are STILL going to win this division with ease.
Besides the fact that NE is talented and all those things can’t possibly occur at once, the rest of the AFC East is a train wreck. I’d go as far as to say that any team from the entire NFC would finish at least second in the AFC East. Anyone.
…okay maaaybe not Minnesota, but you get my point.
I already addressed all my problems with the Jets. This team has a couple of very good players and little supporting them.
In Buffalo, it’s almost the same story, except I like the Bills’ overall talent a bit better. While the offensive line and quarterback are not any better than what the Jets will trot out, Buffalo’s skill position players are certainly superior. On defense, they can also match the star quality in the front four and question marks in the backfield. These teams are pretty close. Let’s just say if Sammy Watkins was a Jet, I could see them finishing in third. Instead, I like Buffalo third and New York last unfortunately. And neither team approaches eight wins. No way.
Which leaves the default winner of second place, the Miami Dolphins. As you pointed out, Miami would be ahead of Buffalo but on the outside of the playoff conversation. I completely agree with that sentiment. We just have to slide the Dolphins down a few notches from a repeat of 8-8 to something under .500. While no one on the offense scares you, I still like Ryan Tannehill for some reason. I think he can be a good quarterback and is already a solid step ahead of his divisional peers, Smith and Manuel. I also like this defense. Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan are not the Pro Bowlers they’ve been in years past but make a formidable pairing nonetheless.
While not a single NFC division was predicted to be a runaway, the very first AFC division is in my mind. Again, New England could go 9-7 and win this comfortably.
I can’t tell if you actually like the Patriots, or just find the remainder of the AFC East so bad that its boosting up New England. In both respects you’re wrong. I already laid out how the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins are all solid teams. None will be dominant, but you banished them to the closet with Oakland and the Cleveland Browns. Too far. Way too far.
New England is winning the East, but not because every other team is awful. They are winning for the same reasons they have kept winning over the last decade. Consistency on both sides of the ball. Consistency bred from a dynamic head coach who is constantly staying ahead of the next great thing in the game of football. This time around, Bill is learning all he can from his friend in Philadelphia, recognizing the future before everyone else does too.
It’s not a coincidence that no matter who Tom Brady throws to, or who he hands the ball off to, that those players find themselves near the top of fantasy stat sheets. The Patriots’ offense is a war machine that keeps getting better. I’d be shocked if they don’t win ten plus games this season.
I realize our crystal balls are focused solely on the divisions, but I wonder how you see the Pats stacked up against the rest of the league. If you are so down on the remainder of the AFC East, I can only imagine what you think of the rest of the AFC. Outside of Denver, who is going to challenge New England?
The NFL is a league of hope, but little seems to have changed from last season in regards to New England and their mastery of the game of football. I’ll save my playoff predictions for later, but know this; New England isn’t winning the East easily, but they will be a force well past the end of the regular season once again.