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2017-2018 NFL Preview: AFC East

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 

GET: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Stephon Gilmore, TE Dwayne Allen, RB Mike Gillislee, LB David Harris, WR Phillip Dorsett, CB Johnson Bademosi, DE Cassius Marsh, RB Rex Burkhead, DE Lawrence Guy

LOSE: RB LeGarrette Blount, LB Jabaal Sheard, LB Rob Ninkovich, OT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Martellus Bennett, DE Chris Long, CB Logan Ryan, DL Kony Ealy, RB Tyler Gaffney, TE Rob Housler, WR Andrew Hawkins, QB Jacoby Brissett, LB Marquis Flowers

RE-SIGNS: LB Dont’a Hightower, CB Malcolm Butler, DL Alan Branch, OL Cameron Fleming, CB Duron Harmon

DRAFT: 3rd round: LB Derek Rivers, Youngstown State     OT Antonio Garcia, Troy     4th round: DE Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas     6th round: OT Conor McDermott, UCLA

SUMMARY: New England has a scary roster. They lost some big names: Blount, Sheard, Ninkovich, Vollmer, Bennett. They added some big names: Cooks, Gilmore, Allen, Harris. The scariest name of all? Tom Brady. Brady’s revenge came to fruition and it was very sweet. The greatest of all time cannot be overlooked and should not be doubted. The Patriots are once again the surest bet in the AFC East and most likely to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler should be one of the strongest corner duos in football. The receiving core has taken a hit. Julian Edelman will miss the season, putting Brandin Cooks in a more pressurized situation. Brady will be more than up to the task, with a healthy Gronkowski returning. The rushing game will likely dimish and I’m interested to see how Belichick adjusts, but it’s improbable that it causes any significant problems. New England has always been productive at substituting screens for the running game. If New England matches their 15.6 points allowed per game last year, they’ll be unstoppable.

Brady, Cooks, Chris Hogan and the Patriots defense, against a weak AFC East, should all thrive.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:13-3

Week 1: vs. KC   Week 2: @NO   Week 3: vs. HOU   Week 4: vs. CAR   Week 5: @TB   Week 6: @NYJ   Week 7: vs. ATL   Week 8: vs. LAC   Week 9: BYE   Week 10: @DEN   Week 11: @OAK   Week 12: vs. MIA   Week 13: @BUF   Week 14: @MIA   Week 15: @PIT   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: vs. NYJ

BUFFALO BILLS

GET: S Micah Hyde, WR Jordan Matthews, CB E.J. Gaines, FB Patrick DiMarco, G Vladimir Ducasse, K Steven Hauschka, LB Gerald Hodges, CB Shareece Wright, LB Ramon Humber, WR Andre Holmes, RB Joe Banyard

LOSE: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Ronald Darby, CB Stephon Gilmore WR Robert Woods, CB Corey Graham, LB Reggie Ragland, RB Mike Gillislee, K Dan Carpenter, WR Anquan Boldin, S Aaron Williams, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, WR Dezmin Lewis, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Justin Hunter, QB E.J. Manuel

RE-SIGNS: QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Lorenzo Alexander, C Eric Wood, WR Corey Brown, P Colton Schmidt, FB Mike Tolbert, WR Brandon Tate

DRAFT: 1st round: CB Tre’Davious White, LSU     2nd round: WR Zay Jones, East Carolina     G Dion Dawkins, Temple     5th round: LB Matt Milano, Boston College     QB Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh     6th round: LB Tanner Vallejo, Boise State

SUMMARY: The Bills have done what any smart team would do at this point: trade assets for picks and get ready for the future. The AFC East has already been won.

The Bills’ top four receivers from last year are all gone (Woods, Goodwin, Watkins, Hunter). The Bills’ top two corners (Gilmore, Darby) are both gone. They’ve infused youth into their lineup, saved some cap space and gained future considerations. They’re now in the best position of the three AFC East teams to surpass New England once Brady retires. If he retires.

Buffalo still has a capable defensive line, although they finished 29th against the run last year. That number should change with Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott coming in to coach the Bills. Micah Hyde is a nice addition to the secondary. Buffalo still sports a strong offensive line that hosted the best running game in the league last year, with an average of 164.4 a game. The issue is, with no receivers to fear on the outside, teams will likely stack the box against Buffalo this year, making it hard for LeSean McCoy to replicate his 5.4 average, 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns.

I think Buffalo will still surpass the Dolphins, narrowly, but they simply can’t contend with New England.

LeSean McCoy won’t rack the numbers up like he did last year, but is likely to run a lot this season.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:6-10

Week 1: vs. NYJ   Week 2: @CAR   Week 3: vs. DEN   Week 4: @ATL   Week 5: @CIN   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: vs. TB   Week 8: vs. OAK   Week 9: @NYJ   Week 10: vs. NO   Week 11: @LAC   Week 12: @KC   Week 13: vs. NE   Week 14: vs. IND   Week 15: vs. MIA   Week 16: @NE   Week 17: @MIA

MIAMI DOLPHINS

GET: S T.J. McDonald, QB Jay Cutler, LB Rey Maualuga, LB Lawrence Timmons, CB Alterraun Verner, C Ted Larsen, DE William Hayes, TE Julius Thomas

LOSE: OT Brandon Albert, DE Mario Williams, DT Earl Mitchell, DE Jason Jones, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DE Dion Jordan, TE Jordan Cameron

RE-SIGNS: DE Cameron Wake, LB Kiko Alonso, WR Kenny Stills

DRAFT: 1st round: LB Charles Harris, Missouri     2nd round: LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State     3rd round: CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson     5th round: G Isaac Asiata, Utah     DT Davon Godchaux, LSU     6th round: DT Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State     7th round: WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

SUMMARY: The Miami Dolphins are trending down. Ryan Tannehill has lost his right to the title “franchise quarterback.” Adam Gase may be the only person associated with the Dolphins excited about the arrival of Jay Cutler.  Starting corner Tony Lippett and Tannehill are done for the year. A young receiving core has promise and Jay Ajayi will have a chance to prove he’s not a fluke. The offense was ninth in rushing last year, a number heading downhill with Cutler behind center fresh off shoulder surgery. They were 26th with Tannehill in the aerial attack category last year. Cameron Wake had a third of Miami’s sacks last year (30.0, ranked 23rd). There’s a lot of pressure on a lot of individuals on this team. I’m not buying it.

Jay Ajayi’s the surest bet, though Jarvis Landry is worth WR2 consideration.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:5-11

Week 1: vs. TB   Week 2: @LAC   Week 3: @NYJ   Week 4: vs. NO   Week 5: vs. TEN   Week 6: @ATL   Week 7: vs. NYJ   Week 8: @BAL   Week 9: vs. OAK   Week 10: @CAR   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: @NE   Week 13: vs. DEN   Week 14: vs. NE   Week 15: @BUF   Week 16: @KC   Week 17: vs. BUF

NEW YORK JETS

GET: G Brian Winters, CB Morris Claiborne, DE Kony Ealy, S Terrence Brooks, QB Josh McCown, OT Kelvin Beachum, WR Jermaine Kearse, K Chandler Catanzaro, RB Jordan Todman, TE Chris Gragg, DT Mike Pennel

LOSE: DT Sheldon Richardson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Brandon Marshall, CB Darrelle Revis,  C Nick Mangold, WR Eric Decker, OT Breno Giacomini, S Calvin Pryor, S Marcus Gilchrist, LB David Harris, K Nick Folk, WR Devin Smith, CB Dexter McDougle, QB Geno Smith

RE-SIGNS: LB Bruce Carter

DRAFT: 1st round: S Jamal Adams, LSU     2nd round: S Marcus Maye, Florida     3rd round: WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama     4th round: WR Chad Hansen, California     5th round: TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson     DE Dylan Donahue, West Georgia     6th round: RB Elijah McGuire, Louisiana-Lafeyette     CB Jeremy Clark, Michigan     CB Derrick Jones, Ole Miss

SUMMARY: No team lost more notable names than the New York Jets this offseason. Management tried to remove every one of their franchise staples. They were mostly successful.

Let’s not sugarcoat it. The New York Jets are gonna suck. They had the worst turnover differential in the league last year (-20) and were one of five teams to finish with at least a -10 (Rams, Browns, Jaguars, Bears). They also scored 17.2 ppg, third-worst in the NFL. Quincy Enunwa is out for the year, leaving second-year receiver Robby Anderson as the number one target opposite Jermaine Kearse. Matt Forte is nearing the end of his career but might still have a little game left. Neither Bryce Petty nor Christian Hackenberg looks to be the answer at quarterback. Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams should provide some entertainment on the defensive line, but it’s gonna be hard to find other success points.

No fantasy assets here.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD:2-14

Week 1: @BUF   Week 2: @OAK   Week 3: vs. MIA   Week 4: vs. JAC   Week 5: @CLE   Week 6: vs. NE   Week 7: @MIA   Week 8: vs. ATL   Week 9: vs. BUF   Week 10: @TB   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: vs. CAR   Week 13: vs. KC   Week 14: @DEN   Week 15: @NO   Week 16: vs. LAC   Week 17: @NE

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 8

Top 5

1. QB Ben Roethlisberger 40/49 for franchise-record 522 yards, franchise-record 6 TDs, 150.6 QBR vs. IND

Fourth QB to win 100 of first 150 starts (Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw) and first QB to throw multiple 500 yard games.

2. QB Tom Brady 30/35 for 354 yards, 5 TDs, 148.4 QBR vs. CHI

3. WR Jeremy Maclin 12 receptions for 187 yards, 2 TDs vs. ARI

4. RB Arian Foster 20 receptions for 151 yards, 2 TDs, rec TD vs. TEN

5. TE Rob Gronkowski 9 receptions for 149 yards, 3 TDs vs. CHI

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Geno Smith 2/8 for 5 yards, 3 INTs vs. BUF

2. Falcons drop 21 point halftime lead, tying biggest comeback loss in franchise history in loss to Lions.

3. Eagles allow 80-yard and 75-yard touchdown passes in loss to Cardinals

4. Green Bay throttled in loss to New Orleans Saints

5. Jets commit six turnovers in loss to Bills

Steelers Recap

Steelers were awesome against the Indianapolis Colts, besting their week 7 performance against the Houston Texans with a sensational performance against the Colts secondary. All of the offense clicked during the game and the defense finally got pressure on a quarterback throughout the entire game, pressuring Andrew Luck the entire game and reminding us of the Steel Curtain we used to know. This Sunday night match-up against the Ravens is crucial but after two incredible home wins, I got to believe the Steelers make it three.

Game of the Week: Broncos @ Patriots

Perhaps the final match-up between two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, this is certainly the one to watch this week.

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