How will the AFC East play out in the 2017 season? USA Today gave their thoughts and it isn’t good for teams without “Patriots” in their name.
History tends to repeat itself and that’s not always a bad thing. In this case, it is—well at least for the rest of the AFC East, that is.
Nate Davis wrote up USA Today‘s annual predictions of how the season will play out, including records for every team in the league.
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) July 24, 2017
As you can see in the above tweet, things aren’t projected to go well for the other teams involved in the AFC East arms race. All three teams are projected to be under .500. While the New England Patriots are going undefeated…again.
Initiate gag reflex.
See, this is where I go crazy about people predicting records. Even though, hypocritically, I’ll be doing this over the next several weeks on a special edition of the NFL Battle Zone on Sports War Radio, but I digress.
This article is everywhere on social media and the one question that everyone seems to agree on is this: What team is going to beat the New England Patriots?
After taking a quick glance at the Pats’ schedule, here are some possibilities:
- Week 5 on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a short week on Thursday Night Football.
- Week 7 at home against the NFC Conference Champion Atlanta Falcons in prime time.
- Week 10 at the Denver Broncos in another prime time game.
- Week 11 at the Oakland Raiders.
The point is that there are a handful of games that the Patriots could lose. There’s a mantra: ‘Any Given Sunday’. That’s what’s cool about football, anything can happen.
It’s very difficult to go undefeated in the NFL.
That was my best Captain Obvious impersonation, but it’s true. It’s only happened twice in NFL history, and only once did that include a perfect postseason—the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Moving to the rest of the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills haven’t been to the playoffs in 17 years so a 4-12 record is understandable. But more realistically they’ll be closer to .500 or flirting with 9-7.
The Miami Dolphins surprised everyone (including me) and made the playoffs last season. I think that was more of a fluke than anything else, though I’d love to see them prove me wrong.
What about the Jets?
Finally, for all the New York Jets fans in the room, the 1-15 record isn’t that surprising with all the tanking talk. I could see that for the Jets. This entire season rests on the team’s mediocre (at best) quarterback situation.
If Christian Hackenberg plays out of his mind, the Jets could sniff the .500 mark. He’s going to play the majority of the season (12 plus games) and it’s impossible to predict how he’ll do. Terrible quarterback play will result in a long and tumultuous season for not only the team but the fans as well.
The New England Patriots have won 13 out of the last 14 division crowns. The only year they didn’t win it was in 2008 when Tom Brady was lost for the season. But they still almost won the crown, going 11-5 with Matt Cassel under center.
Despite Brady flirting with the age of 40 at the beginning of August, there’s no dad bod to criticize, but rather amazement as he has begun the start of a new breed of quarterback.
We’re talking about quarterbacks that can play effectively into their 40’s, something Brady has proclaimed he plans to do. So it appears the longevity of Brady means the Patriots will be the projected favorites for the foreseeable future of the AFC East.