By this time we have all heard enough about deflate gate. With Tom Brady’s appeal process still going on there is no clear amount of time that the Patriots will be without him, but it still leaves an opening for the other teams to come in and steal the AFC East from the champions.
With the Buffalo Bills making some impressive moves during the off season, the New York Jets making their best attempt at changing philosophies with a new coach, and the Miami Dolphins quietly growing and improving, there is a chance the Patriots can slip up during the time Brady might be out.
The Buffalo Bills ended the season in second place with a 9-7 record to surprise everyone. They made a huge splash in the off season by trading for RB LeSean McCoy and signing WR Percy Harvin. They have a new look up front with head coach Rex Ryan running the team and making moves like stealing TE Charles Clay from division rivals Miami Dolphins, and even trading for QB Matt Cassel. It will be a lot of work for the Bills, they have a lot of things figured out but the lack of confidence at the quarterback position might hurt them at one point or another.
The Miami Dolphins on the other hand didn’t switch things up that much. They understood there were some bad influences in the locker room and after trading WR Mike Wallace to the Vikings, there was a lot of work to be done. They bolstered they receiving corps by adding WR Greg Jennings and trading for Saints WR Kenny Stills. They also got quite lucky and saw highly praised WR Devante Parker fall to them in the draft, and replaced Clay with TE Jordan Cameron. An impressive attack for quarterback Ryan Tannehill who seems to keep growing and has already developed a great connection with WR Jarvis Landry. The addition of DE Ndamakong suh to the defense makes them a terrifying team to face with Cameron Wake already coming from the opposite side.
The New York Jets needed to climb out of the biggest hole. They have been struggling mightly at quarterback and with turnovers and the trade for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is bound to help them. A huge trade for Bears WR Brandon Marshall gives the offense hope regardless of who is under center, and their defense should be as tough as its ever been. Arguably one of the best players in the NFL Draft fell to the Jets with USC DE Leonard Williams joining Sheldon Richardson on that defense. And after winning the superbowl with the Patriots CB Darrelle Revis joined the team and CB Cromartie to completely shut down opposing offenses.
This division is going to go down to the very end just like it did last year when it came to the Wild Card spot. Sure the New England Patriots will be with Tom Brady a maximum of 4 games and the appeal process can reduce it at any time. It is hard to say the Super Bowl champions might not win their division, but it is certainly a possibility if they skip a beat at the beginning of the year.