Realism vs. the MIGHTY fan
So call me a homer but I’m about to breakdown what is really going on in the AFCE.[dropcap][/dropcap]
New York Jets
Let me start with the Jets. My obvious prediction is 16-0 and a SB. Anyways, my record prediction is 6-10. I originally had them at 7-9 but due to the recent game and the jets first team defense getting lit up by Gabbert in the hurry up was concerning. It made me realize our LB’s outside of Coples and Davis are O-L-D. I forgot about this.
Something that hasn’t been talked about. Harris was completely exposed in pass coverage and was getting picked on so much he was noticeably tired. One specific play standing out is the terrible angle he took on an easy tackle (or push out to get a player out of bounds). He completely missed and the play went for 20.
Reason for hope is the DL and improved OL play. OL can hide a lot of flaws at the qb position. Give any qb in the league 4-5 seconds per play and he’ll pick you apart. Jets OL is SOLID. They are gritty and tough and finally DEEP.
The DL is young and Wilkerson is continuing where he left off. In an analysis over the last pre-season game PFF said the best player on both sides was Sheldon Richardson. They pointed out his ability to stop the run has been great and when he isn’t involved directly in the play he is eating up blockers leaving the other rushers open.
Last but not least is our pedestrian wide receiving corps, are they as bad as we actually think? Start with Stephen Hill – he still sucks. Fine, he has room to grow and he has been better this season. Move to Gates who is having a great pre-season but as Miami fans know, nobody knows if this will translate to the regular season. Move over to Kerley (my favorite receiver on the Jets). I expect a better year than last year for him. He’s an asset as he can play a similar role to Amendola. He’s not nearly as explosive but plays the slot as well and can run deeper routes. Additionally, Holmes coming back within the first 4 weeks will give them some kind of veteran on the field which is key and although he isn’t dominant anymore he is still a solid receiver.
Lets move over to the Fins. I had originally pegged them at 8-8 but that was depending on a lot of factors. Will Tannenhill improve, will the OL hold up, will Grimes play well and stay[d healthy. Tannenhill is a bit early for me to judge on this season as of now so I’ll leave that alone. As far as Grimes goes all is well and he looks healthy. He should be a STEAL for the Fins and maybe the best pickup in the entire offseason outside of Revis (based on health).
The OL scares me big time. Not only from a protection stand point but because you have a young qb back there. Pressure to a young qb could force him to develop bad habits. I know the grades by PFF on Martin have been better than expected but let’s remember…he’s a real strong run blocker and a suspect pass blocker.[dropcap][/dropcap]
As you all know I am not sold on Lamar Miller cause I haven’t seen enough of him to be sold. Additionally, although I don’t believe this, Philbin is continuously saying that Daniel Thomas is right there with Miller. If that’s the truth I am FAR from sold on either but maybe it’s just a motivational tactic.
I love the fins defensive front 7. I don’t think I need to do any explaining here. The big thing that scares me is that if the OL struggles or faces an injury that could be the kiss of death.
Additionally it was reported numerous times the Keller and Tannenhill had a great rapport. Last but not least they need to supply time to Tannenhill for Wallace to be able to get to where he needs to be for the route. NFL games are won and lost at the line scrimmage. IF the OL holds up I see 8-8. I think they have a tough schedule this year playing the NFCS. But it would not surprise me if they finished lower. This being said the entire year depends on Tannenhill who depends on the factors around him. – (hinting at OL)
Next lets talk about the Bills. Such a wildcard team to predict. I am sold on CJ but I am not sold on his health and the same goes for Fredex. Marrone is going to shove the ball so far [dropcap][/dropcap]down CJ’s throat that hes going to gain an additional 3 lbs in mass. I’m even higher on CJ because the fact he has a running qb behind him. No matter who you plan to defend against in the run – they can both hurt you.
EJ Manuel looks like the real deal so far, contrary to his criticism. His accuracy and ability to lead TD drives have been noticeable although it has been a small sample. Unfortunately, there’s a legit chance he doesn’t start the season because he is rehabbing from the minor surgery.
If Kolb starts the first few games, well…DOOOM! Just kidding. But you will need to keep a steady pocket for him to succeed.
Stevie is amazing in my opinion but he needs to be at 100% health. He never is, but always seems to play through it. The addition of a true number 2 receiver will only help this offense. Even if he isn’t great, right off the bat, having a big reliable guy who can demand the attention of a defense will only open things up for the offense.
Lets move on to the troublesome part. HANDS2THEFACE!!!!! Kidding. The DL looks like it should be formidable if they remain healthy. However, if Byrd holds out that is a big blow as your secondary was suspect last year (update Byrd has signed a one year deal). That being said Gilmore is still a stud and if he continues to develop it could be great for the Bills D. They would just need to grab some LBs.
With a new coach, new qb and all together new system its really tough to peg them. The upside is very high on that offense but the downside is just as low if it doesn’t click. I’d love to make a solid prediction but realistically I could see the bills, depending on rain or shine at either 5-6 wins or 8-9.
New England Patriots
Now let’s move to the Patriots. Not to many negatives here outside of the health aspect for the entire time. My prediction is 10 wins. Some of you may say that’s low. I think its more realistic. Anyways lets talk about it.[dropcap][/dropcap]
Top 3 qb in the game and top OL in the game. Nothing to worry about here. The running game looked good last year and should be good again. I’m not sold on Blount by any means but I don’t think he see’s realistic time barring an injury to Ridley or Vareen. (I’m not sold on Blount cause I’ve seen him on another team suck it up).
Now lets talk about the rest of the offense. I am 100% sold that Amendola is better than Welker, you all have seen me debate this in the past. Remains to be seen but regardless he is amazing and the only factor here is health. BUT GUESS WHAT PATS FANS…REASON FOR OPTIMISM. HE ISNT PLAYING ON ASTRO TURF ANYMORE!!!! That is a huge thing to be excited about.
As far as TE goes I think that Gronk will be fine when he is back. “But what do we do till then” you may find yourself asking. Luckily for you I will tell you. You have Brady, and I know Sudfield has looked actually quite impressive and it only helps Brady is throwing to him.
Lets talk about the other end of the game, the defense. I will be the first to say I am not a big fan of the pats defense as a whole. I like their LB corps and I think their DL is good to decent depending on what you are asking for. Can they stop the run yes. DO they have a dominant pass rusher, no. However, they have a multitude of players who can rush the passer and rack up 7-8 sacks. This number can definitely improve. Chandler Jones in his second year should see his production spike.
I don’t like the secondary. I think that although Mccourty is a good safety, the pats benefit from beating up offensively on weaker opponents. This forces the opposition into passing the whole game and playing comeback. TO ME, this is why the pats always have a lot of picks but somehow never actually have a formidable secondary. I do not think they are a bad unit but I do not think they are great. Against good/great passing teams last year the scores were high flying. This year’s schedule you may see more of the same. I still have them safely pegged at 10 wins.
Written by Dan.
( I am at work so I didn’t spell check or any of that jazz, DEAL WITH IT…MORONS!)