Welcome to the first division preview and it makes sense to knock out the easiest, most obvious division in football. The Patriots rule this division. There are people who are sophmores in college who know nothing but the dominance of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. We were barely over Y2K when they came in and announced their presence in the NFL. So, lets get this over with, here is the AFC East…
Team: New England Patriots
2018 Record: 11-5
My 2019 Predicted Record: 11-5
Preseason Power Ranking: 1
2019 Strength of Schedule: T-27th hardest
As Jay Z once quipped “What more can I say?” For nearly two decades, this team has dominated the AFC East. They have rewritten the concept of dynasty in a sport that isn’t built to have dynasties. Every year, half the teams that made the playoffs the year prior, miss the playoffs that season. The turnover in football is staggering by design, and the attrition is as inevitable as the passing of time.
SO. WHY. DO. THESE. SONS. OF. BITCHES. KEEP. MAKING. THE. PLAYOFFS. EVERY. YEAR!?!?!?!
Part of it has to do with the fact that they play in a historically mediocre division. Since Tom Brady came into the league, Chad Pennington has been the best Jets quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the best Bills QB, and Ronnie Brown was the best Dolphins quarterback. At the end of the day, though, Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history, and Tom Brady is in the conversation as best quarterback. Both of these guys are just gonna be out there forever, slingin’ passes and winnin’ rings.
On offense, they added rookie Damien
Harris to the backfield, and drafted big play threat N’Keal Harry
at wide receiver. Josh Gordon is about to come off suspension again,
as well. This team should be forced not to get new players for a
couple seasons. Kinda like in golf, when you take certain clubs away
from a superior player to even things up, the Patriots need to go
with what’s in the bag once in a while.
Oh, Julian Edelman goes down? Then your backup center better have good hands and know how to run a seam route.
Is This Team Better Than Last Year: Last year’s team won the Super Bowl, so I’m gonna be pretty hard pressed to say they are better. But this is the Patriots, so lord knows they will probably figure out a way.
Is This Team a Super Bowl Contender: Until Bill Belichick dies, this team will be a Super Bowl contender.
Fantasy Player You Should Be Drafting: Damian Harris had over 100 all purpose yards in the team’s second preseason game. It’s always tough to get a feel for what the Patriots are going to do at running back, but it’s obvious that the team will always be hot/cold on James White and Sony Michel isn’t exactly a picture of health.
Fantasy Player You Should Avoid Like the Plague: Sony Michel. He is going in the top three rounds in some leagues, and that is too high to draft any Patriots running back, due to Belichick’s fickle nature. Michel needs to prove he can play for an entire season without breaking down or getting in the Patriots doghouse or just looking at an equipment manager the wrong way, causing him to get benched for 3 weeks.
If This Team Was a Song: Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin. It’s old, it’s timeless, most people are really sick of hearing it, and it will forever be beloved by old white men.
Team: New York Jets
2018 Record: 4-12
My 2019 Predicted Record: 8-8
Preseason Power Ranking: 15
2019 Strength of Schedule: T-27th hardest
It stands to reason that there is optimism for the Jets this season. Sam Darnold made strides at the end of last season to bring optimism for 2019. They went out and brought in premier running back Leveon Bell, who definitely has fresh legs at this point. But man oh man, their coach…
Adam Gase is fine if you want an offensive coordinator who can come in and set the NFL on fire for the first two months of the season before defensive coordinators around the league figure him out, then you fire him a season and a half later, and he fucks off to his next adventure.
But holy hell, he got his chance to be a head coach. He sucked. Remember that offensive explosion that him and Hamburglar impersonator Dowell Loggins brought to Miami? Yea, neither does anyone else. Jay Ajayi had upwards of three good games and was shipped to Philadelphia. Frank Gore got serious play for this team. The team was consistenly garbage at all times.
Apparently that’s what it takes to immediately get a new job in the NFL. Also, Gase managed to run everyone who didn’t agree with him out of town and consolidated power. If Gase had his way, the entire roster would be nothing but McCown brothers.
Is This Team Better Than Last Year: They had damn well better be.
Is This Team a Super Bowl Contender: Not with that googly eyed from of a coach, they aren’t.
Fantasy Player You Should Be Drafting: Don’t overthink it. LeVeon Bell.
Fantasy Player You Should Avoid Like the Plague: Robby Anderson. He is gonna have three great games for you and 10 games where you curse his existence with the fury of a thousand suns.
If This Team Was a Song: Hate Me by Blue October. Because it takes a special type of self loathing as a franchise to bring in Leveon Bell, and also bring in Adam Gase as your coach.
Team: Buffalo Bills
2018 Record: 6-10
My 2019 Predicted Record: 6-10
Preseason Power Ranking: 27
2019 Strength of Schedule: 24th hardest
I want to find a reason to be excited about the Bills. There was some honest to god entertaining moments going on for them. Josh Allen has a cannon for an arm and likes to run around forever. But then I look at this roster and it’s just….bleh. John Brown is the number one receiver on this team. You will best remember him as the guy who was on your fantasy football team and probably cost you a playoff game by starting him in 2016. Last season, he was apparently on the Ravens, but there is no way to tell if he has anything left, since Baltimore employed the rarely seen “we don’t throw the football anymore” method of play calling.
Their running back situation honestly deserves a 2000 word dissertation by me because it makes me so incredibly furious. Their starting running back right now is Lesean McCoy. It has been a very long time since McCoy has been any good. You know who has somehow stuck around in the NFL further past their prime than McCoy? You better believe it, Lesean’s backup, Frank Gore. After them is 3rd round draft pick Devin Singletary. We don’t actually know if he’s any good or not, because he is firmly entrenched behind two guys who should be in the “charging 20 bucks for their autographs during Hall of Fame weekend” portion of their lives. Behind them is the poor man’s Frank Gore(and I don’t mean that as a compliment), TJ Yeldon. Yeldon couldn’t keep a job in Jacksonville even though the only people in front of him were a guy who was actively trying to get suspended(Leonard Fournette) and a guy who was openly sulking about the fact that he had been traded to Jacksonville(Carlos Hyde). Oh, i’m gonna continue. Behind them is veteran Sinorise Perry, who is just killing time until he can be the second or third most recognizable name on an XFL team in a few months. Behind him is a guy named Marcus Murphy, who will probably be a third string running back in the XFL behind Perry. AND THEN, THE ENTIRE REASON I WENT THROUGH ALL OF THIS, IS TO MENTION CHRISTIAN WADE.
Wade is a rugby player who has looked outstanding in the preseason. He has two of the best highlights in the NFL in that time. He was on the England national team. He has little to no football experience. He also has incredible breakaway speed and is basically a human bowling ball. Think Tarik Cohen with 20 more pounds of muscle. If he somehow makes the team, he will be the starting running back by week 7 because there isn’t a lot of talent in front of him.
So obviously he will be cut and put on a practice squad and die forever because the Bills suck and have no redeeming qualities.
Is This Team Better Than Last Year: Nah. Same as it ever was.
Is This Team a Super Bowl Contender: Only if 20 other teams contract Malaria.
Fantasy Player You Should Be Drafting: Robert Foster.
Fantasy Player You Should Avoid Like the Plague: Lesean McCoy.
If This Team Was a Song: Rock Lobster by B52s. Because it’s fun, even a bit entertaining, but it makes not a single goddamn ounce of sense.
Team: Miami Dolphins
2018 Record: 7-9
My 2019 Predicted Record: 3-13
Preseason Power Ranking: 32
2019 Strength of Schedule: 18th hardest
This team went 7-9 last year and made an incredibly smart move by jettisoning Adam Gase. They could have followed the trend of bringing a young, offensive minded coach in to integrate a modern offense and rebuild that way.
Like so many other forever piss poor
teams in this league though, they went out and tried to do the
Patriots Way. Ya know, that thing that has never worked for any team
not named the Patriots? How did Eric Mangini work? Josh McDaniels the
guy everyone thought he was? Did Romeo Crennel waddle his way into
anyone’s hearts? Is Matt Patricia actively failing in Detroit?
I haven’t even named all of the Patriots coaching tree failures. Bill O’Brien is considered a success story, and he is actively trying to get Deshaun Watson murdered.
Brian Flores is the latest person to eat shit and have to go back to New England with his tail between his legs in two seasons. He has managed to get one thing very correct about the Patriots Way, and that is to actively carry water for the owner, no matter how much of a reprobate the owner is. In this case, Flores went balls deep in defense of owner Stephen Ross after wide receiver Kenny Stills came out against the owner throwing a multi-million dollar fund raiser for Donald Trump. Flores, who has a backbone made of Charleston Chews, immediately caved and took the owner’s side instead of sticking up for his player. That’ll get the locker room on your side in a hurry, big guy.
Is This Team Better Than Last Year: Only if you consider swapping a guy who only ever had success for 7 weeks as an offensive coordinator for Marc Trestman in 2015 as your coach for a guy who washed Bill Belichek’s sweaters for a living to be an upgrade.
Is This Team a Super Bowl Contender: This team couldn’t contend for a Super Bowl on Easy mode in Madden.
Fantasy Player You Should Be Drafting: If you draft any Dolphins, then your season is already over.
Fantasy Player You Should Avoid Like the Plague: All of them. Literally all of them. You are gonna feel the urge to pick up Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 3. Good fantasy players avoid that urge.
If This Team Was a Song: Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden. No big meaning. This team is just a black hole so I went super literal with it.