Patriots discussion: Dion Lewis, x-factors and more
"Hal Bent – Every season for the past decade and a half an AFC East rival “wins” the offseason and spends the preseason bragging about how the Patriots should be put on notice because their reign in the AFC East is ending. This offseason has seen the Miami Dolphins reloading on defense, Rex Ryan bringing in his twin brother Rob as defensive coordinator and re-upping the braggadocio and bluster in Buffalo, and the New York Jets–who should have made the playoffs–mired in a quarterback controversy. Who is the top contender in the AFC East to the Patriots and will they be able to knock New England from the top spot?"
Kirk von Kreisler – While I want to say the Bills, I still think it’s the Jets. Yes, those pesky Jets currently have Geno Smith at the helm, but someway, somehow they have always found a way to complicate things for the Patriots. The Jets have one of the top wide receiver duos in the league with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and their defense has always proven to be the cornerstone of the team. The Bills have been a team on the rise in recent seasons; they have the potential to make some noise in the AFC East, but it seems way too early to give them the crown. In contrast, the Dolphins lost the underutilized Lamar Miller, replaced DE Olivier Vernon with the declining Mario Williams, and they also traded for CB Byron Maxwell to replace Brent Grimes. While the Dolphins have definitely made a splash this offseason, I’m not a fan of their moves towards taking the AFC East title. The Patriots should not be worried about their status in the AFC East this season. There may be some competition early, but I fully expect the Patriots to claim their top spot.
These 30 players will definitely make the final roster
Connor Fulton – I’m going to go with the Bills here, and it’s because this marks Year 2 for Rex Ryan in Buffalo. Look, the Bills are going to be good this year; those puzzling pass rushing issues will not hinder this team as much in 2016. Reggie Ragland was as good a first round pickup for the BIlls as anyone, and you can bet that Rex is pumped to play around with his new toy. The Bills always give the Patriots trouble, but this year it will be a bit more heated as the Bills separate themselves from the Dolphins and Jets in the AFC East and contend with usual suspects of teams for the top Wild Card spots.
Power ranking offseason cornerback additions
Jaydeen Allen – If the New York Jets sign QB Ryan FItzpatrick, it will be them. The Jets, despite their ups and downs as a team, had one of their best seasons since 2010. Their defense has always given the AFC East rivals, like the Patriots, problems, and with an average QB, they should at least be in contention for a wild card spot.
However, if the Jets don’t sign the Fitzpatrick, it’s fair to say the Bills can challenge the Patriots. Rex Ryan has always presented himself as a thorn in the Patriots side, due to his variety of complex looks on defense, and his yearly prediction of dethroning Bill Belichick and co. If their team can remain healthy, perhaps they may be a team motivated to play for a coach who likely is in his last year if they don’t make the playoffs.
Keep your eyes peeled for another Musket Fire Roundtable Patriots discussion soon.