The final time the New England Patriots did not win the AFC East was 2008, when quarterback Tom Brady missed the season with a torn ACL. Now that Brady is not within the division, may issues come full circle with a brand new AFC East champion?
The Patriots’ streak of 11 straight division crowns is an NFL report, with the next-closest crew being the Los Angeles Rams, who received the NFC West seven consecutive instances (1973 to ’79).
The Patriots be a part of the Atlanta Braves (14) as the one franchises from the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL to win no less than 10 straight division titles.
The New York Yankees (1998-2006), Colorado Avalanche (1995-2003), Los Angeles Lakers (1982-90) and Boston Celtics (1957-65) are the groups from the opposite main 4 sports activities which have streaks of 9 straight titles.
Previous to their one-year settlement with quarterback Cam Newton in late June, the Brady-less Patriots seemed to be extra weak, whereas the Buffalo Payments, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets have all appeared to make progress this offseason. Does Newton’s arrival alter the outlook and swing the pendulum again within the Patriots’ favor?
ESPN NFL Nation reporters Wealthy Cimini (Jets), Marcel Louis-Jacques (Payments), Mike Reiss (Patriots) and Cameron Wolfe (Dolphins) make the case for — and in opposition to — the groups they cowl.
Why they are going to win the AFC East: High to backside, that is probably the most proficient roster on paper within the division. With 10 starters returning on either side of the ball and a top-three scoring protection in every of the previous two seasons, the Payments had been already in place to make a run on the division crown earlier than Brady left the Patriots. Now that they’ve added receiver Stefon Diggs to spice up final season’s anemic passing offense, the Payments are poised to earn their first division title since 1995.
Why they won’t: Buffalo’s schedule turns rugged in Week 5, which begins a run of 4 video games in opposition to 2019 playoff groups in 5 weeks. If the Payments stumble via this stretch, they might have hassle successful the division. Additionally, Buffalo’s offensive continuity is essential, and quite a bit is using on quarterback Josh Allen’s reference to Diggs, which could take time following a restricted offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic. — Louis-Jacques
Why they are going to win the AFC East: No AFC East crew improved greater than the Dolphins this offseason. Tua Tagovailoa has extra upside than any quarterback right here, and coach Brian Flores coaxed a 5-11 report out of the NFL’s worst roster in 2019.
Brady is gone, and even with Newton’s arrival, this Patriots crew would not command the identical worry because it as soon as did. The Payments are most likely no less than division co-favorites, however they are not scaring anybody. The Jets are nonetheless … the Jets. The division is broad open, so why not the Dolphins?
Why they won’t: It is a 12 months too early. The Dolphins have loads of younger expertise, however coming off a shortened offseason, it is quite a bit to ask for them to win the division with a rookie quarterback making an attempt to interrupt into the lineup, 4 or 5 new starters on the offensive line and two new coordinators. The Patriots and Payments have extra confirmed expertise and cohesiveness going into the 2020 season. Miami needs to be aggressive, however 2021 extra possible might be their 12 months. — Wolfe
New York Jets
Wealthy Cimini weighs all of the elements in Jamal Adams’ request for a commerce from the Jets.
Why they are going to win the AFC East: The protection is sweet sufficient to hold the crew via the powerful early portion of the schedule, giving quarterback Sam Darnold & Co. an opportunity to construct chemistry and set up an identification. After a gradual begin, Darnold will get pleasure from a breakout season, with assist from rejuvenated operating again Le’Veon Bell and rookie broad receiver Denzel Mims. They have not made the playoffs since 2010. There is a legislation of averages, proper?
Why they won’t: Whether or not Jamal Adams is on the crew or not, his contract dispute will create a foul vibe that permeates the locker room. Coach Adam Gase will not be capable to overcome the turmoil, and every thing will crumble. The largest motive, although: There’s nonetheless a scarcity of expertise on the roster. When a powerful security (Adams) is clearly the very best participant on the crew, it is an issue. — Cimini
New England Patriots
Stephen A. Smith and Louis Riddick passionately focus on if Jarrett Stidham or Cam Newton ought to enter Patriots coaching camp because the starter.
Why they are going to win the AFC East: Invoice Belichick continues to be the coach, reigning NFL Defensive Participant of the 12 months Stephon Gilmore nonetheless strains up at cornerback, and there is a robust core of management that is still regardless of Brady’s departure. If Newton is wholesome and might present a strong stage of play at quarterback (assuming he beats out second-year man Jarrett Stidham), that will reply the crew’s greatest query, as his big-game expertise is one thing that had been lacking on this roster.
Why they won’t: In some unspecified time in the future, quarterbacks should step up and make championship-type throws, and there stays a query as as to whether Newton (well being, system/tradition match) or Stidham (expertise) can try this persistently. Add in a pandemic that eradicated the prospect for observe, and the problem solely will increase. Additionally, the schedule ought to take a look at the Patriots, with street video games in opposition to Seattle, Kansas Metropolis, Houston, the Rams and Chargers. — Reiss
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