The New England Patriots still look like the kings of the AFC East, but it’s going to be a lot harder for them to manage to get by all of their division rivals unscathed this season. The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills should still be easy to dispatch (though both teams did give the Patriots one tough game last season, which shows how competitive rivals are), but the Miami Dolphins look like a legitimate playoff team on paper. Tom Brady spoke about the Patriots primary rivals in the New York Jets, as well as a bit more about the AFC East. He mentioned rookie quarterbacks Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel (only Smith by name), who are obviously hot topics of discussion.
Here’s what he said in his appearance on Dennis and Callahan this morning, “I saw some of their game the other night. They’ve made some significant changes to their team on defense; they got rid of a lot of players, they drafted Geno Smith. Buffalo’s made a bunch of changes, a bunch of coaching changes, drafted a quarterback. And Miami — our division, no one knows how it’s going to play out. We’re trying to get better like every one of those teams. We get both those teams [Bills and Jets] right out of the box, so we’ll see where we’re at here pretty shortly.”
The Patriots and Buffalo Bills square off for the season opener, and the Bills could be undermanned at quarterback if E.J. Manuel (or even Kevin Kolb) cannot play, and the fact that Stephon Gilmore will be out for about five or six games severely curtails the Bills chances of beating the Patriots (Gilmore is a potential lockdown CB). The Dolphins should give the Patriots a run for their money, but I can’t see them usurping the Patriots for the division crown.