State of the AFC East: Can the Buffalo Bills Challenge the Patriots?


Aug 16, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel (3) drops back to pass against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Vikings 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Football is back and all is well in the world again. We got our traditional opening day game with the defending Super Bowl champion on Thursday night. Now it’s on to a whole slate of games on Sunday and Monday!

It should be a fantastic couple of days full of football across the NFL, but let’s look at what’s happening right here in the AFC East this weekend.

Patriots at Bills — I have a weird feeling this one will be closer than many expect. The Bills are young, talented and in my opinion underrated on offense. New England’s defense will be tested all day, especially against the big play. On the other side of the ball, the names of Tom Brady’s receivers didn’t matter in the preseason and I doubt they will on Sunday. Brady will find the open man early and often. Look for rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld to have a monster game, as the Bills don’t really have anyone to match up with him in the red zone.

Prediction: Patriots 34-20

Dolphins at Browns — Forgive me for not buying into the Miami hype this offseason. Yes, the Dolphins brought in Mike Wallace, but they also lost Jake Long. I don’t care what anyone says, that is going to lead to a drop off in pass protection, especially on deep ball routes where Tannehill is going to want to target Wallace. He simply won’t have the time to for those plays to develop consistently, let alone with Joe Hayden covering Wallace. I see the Browns as a young and dangerous squad with far more upside than the Dolphins. Look for tight end Jordan Cameron to go off big for Cleveland.

Prediction: Browns 27-17

Buccaneers at Jets — Here’s the saddest thing (maybe not for New England fans). Everyone in their mother is picking the Bucs to smoke the Jets on Sunday and yet Tampa might be the worst team in their division. Heck, they could finish as the worst team in the NFC. That’s how bad the Jets are. I’m looking for Doug Martin to go crazy against a Jets defense that allowed over 133 yards per game on the ground in 2012. On the other side of the ball, Geno Smith will be staring across the line at Lavonte David — one of the best young linebackers in the game — all day long. David will be all over the field and in Smith’s head in what I expect to me a nightmare opener for the Jets.

Prediction: Buccanneers 31-9

Thoughts? Agree or disagrees? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!