Through the Tom Brady suspension and the major roster hits, is it actually possible for the New England Patriots to fall off in 2015?
By Guy Rose
The 2014 Super Bowl Champions are heading downhill faster than Johnny Manziel’s relevance.
The New England Patriots have gone from first to worst in their division. Yes, even the carnival that is the New York Jets will surpass them.
Let’s start with the obvious: Tom Brady, the NFL’s old golden boy, is suspended for four games (pending different resolution). That is a quarter of a season and a huge set back for the reigning champs.
Instead going with their four-time Super Bowl Champ, they’ll have to start an unproven Jimmy Garoppolo who played for Eastern Illinois, a college I didn’t even know existed. Garoppolo may be the man of the future with more training and mentoring, but right now he will be a straight up disaster.
That’s not all, their defense will not be what it used to be. They lost one of their top defensive players in Darrelle Revis and didn’t fill the gap. Without Brady they will most likely have to rely on their running game which is also a problem. Legarrette Blount, their number one running back, will be suspended for the first game.
Yikes. Not only have the Patriots just gotten worse the other teams in their division got better.
The Jets, who were the laughing stock of the NFL during the tail-end of Rex Ryan’s reign, have actually made a name for themselves in free agency. They picked up a number one wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, who averaged 11.8 yards per reception with a terrible Jay Cutler last year. They also picked up arguably the best corner back in the league with Revis who had 47 tackles on the year and is still arguably the best cover-corner in the league.
Lets not forget their new star defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who was considered the highest draft stock in this year’s draft. Their defense could have a solid argument to be the best in NFL. The problem with the Jets is that their quarterback situation is shaky. Geno Smith is still unproven but Fitzpatrick is proven to win games. They could be better than the Patriots if they start Fitzpatrick.
The Miami Dolphins were a mediocre team that turned into a possible Super Bowl contender with one signing. The Dolphins have a great team coming into 2015 with many additions, the major one being Ndamukong Suh, the best defensive tackle in the league. The monster of a man had 8.5 sacks on the year and a total of 53 tackles making him a major plug in the middle. Not to mention they also have star pro bowl players like Brent Grimes and Cameron Wake also on that defense. They also gained the edge in wide receivers by trading a diva in Wallace and letting Hartline go and getting wide outs like Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings.
Additionally, they drafted a fantastic receiver in Devante Parker and still have their rookie breakout Jarvis Landry. The quarterback situation is set with Ryan Tannehill improving every year.
The Buffalo Bills were another middle of the pack team who improved drastically with one signing. Lesean Mccoy, a true elite running back, is joining the team. He had 1,319 yards last season. They also have Fred Jackson who is another good running back to back him up.
Their defense is still unstoppable with their front four being amazing. Three of the four were named to the pro bowl last year. The Bills are a team to be reckoned with and have a running game that could be great with the right coaching. Their only problem is their quarterback situation. They have to decide if they want to start Manuel or Cassel. If they start Manuel they could be a team that can easily make it to the playoffs by riding on the coattails of their defense.
It’s easy to see that the pats will be contenders no more. They’ve deflated every chance of even winning their division. The only way they could even come back is if they cheat their way to victory, again. Maybe the evil genius Billicheat has another trick up his sleeve, but until then, the Patriots will come in last in their division.
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