Category Archives: New York Jets

2015 NFL Season: Week 2 Picks

We are now out of the least meaningful week in the NFL season. Hurray! I went 9-6-1 against the spread last week, and admittedly botched a couple games badly. My biggest advice to you is this: don’t be that guy that overreacts to Week 1. Remember, the Patriots, Packers, Colts, Cowboys, and Ravens all lost in Week 1 last year, and all five of those teams made the playoffs. There are a few things I was very wrong on though, and I will go into those. Let’s start with last night.

Last week I wrote to pick the Broncos in every game the first half of the season and pick against them in every game the second half of the season. I went against my own rule last night, picking the Chiefs (-3), and of course got burned. But I stand by that pick. Look, everybody is going to make all the excuses they possibly can for Peyton Manning. I applaud Jim Nantz and Phil Simms for figuring out a way to blame everything possible for Peyton Manning’s struggles besides Peyton Manning. It’s his new offense, it’s the offensive line, it’s the play calling, it’s the blitzes by the Chiefs, blah, blah, blah. I love Peyton, I think he’s a great dude and a top 3 quarterback of all time. But it’s done. He can’t put a whole game together right now, let alone a whole season. Yes, give him credit for getting through that game last night. But let’s be honest, he had two good drives. When his first read was open, and he got rid of the ball in two seconds or less, he was fine. He looked a little bit like the old Peyton. But if the pass rush was able to even get close to him, he missed the throw, usually badly. Sometimes he had time, and still floated a throw five yards away from his receiver. His arm has never been great, now it’s below average.

Give credit to an incredible Bronco defense, and say thank you to the Chiefs for playing so terribly. It’s not just that they had five turnovers, it’s that every one of those turnovers seemed to come at the worst time. Jamaal Charles fumbled inside the ten, costing them a field goal. Alex Smith’s first interception pretty much gave Denver a touchdown. His second interception came when they were driving down the field. And then of course there was the Charles fumble returned for the winning touchdown with under a minute left. The only non-costly turnover was the fumbled punt, which gave the Broncos the ball around the 30, and they missed a 4th and 1 instead of kicking a field goal. I’m going to hurt my head if I keep writing about this, so let’s just go to this week’s picks. Home teams are in all caps.

Houston (+3) over PANTHERS

The Panthers won last week because they played the Jaguars. The Jaguars scored nine points, because that’s what they do. The Texans certainly have some huge quarterback issues right now, and I think eventually they’ll settle on the more talented Ryan Mallett. They need to get that quarterback situation figured out, because J.J. Watt looks a little less terrifying when he’s down by 20 points. The Panthers offense struggled last week, they will again against a great Texans defense. This one’s easy.

STEELERS (-6) over 49ers

Can there be a less impressive 20-3 win than what the 49ers had late Monday night? I’ll be honest, that second Monday night game on opening weekend is always one of the worst games of the year. The Vikings offense was horrible, and San Francisco couldn’t move the ball consistently. I still think the Steelers are going to be really good. They didn’t play well against the Patriots, but a lot of people don’t. Big Ben still won’t have Bryant or Bell this week, but he’ll have a lot more success against the 49ers than Teddy Bridgewater did. Don’t forget, Pittsburgh moved the ball pretty well between the 20s in New England, they just couldn’t finish drives. They will this week.

Buccaneers (+10) over SAINTS

I know Jameis Winston and his offense looked terrible last week, and the Tampa defense gave up 4 touchdowns to Mariota in his first career game, but a 10 point spread is too much for me in an NFL game. The Bucs should get Mike Evans back this week, and that’s huge for a rookie quarterback. The Saints will move the ball well, but they weren’t great against the Cardinals, and I don’t expect them to cover.

Lions (+2.5) over VIKINGS

Forget everything I said about the Vikings last week. They still have a lot to improve on. Carlos Hyde ran all over them. Bridgewater was horrible against what was essentially a brand new defense. They couldn’t move the ball at all. The Lions had a pretty big collapse in San Diego, look for them to be motivated playing a Vikings team on a short week and I expect them to win rather handily.

Cardinals (-2) over BEARS

I’m really only giving the Bears two points in this game? Ok. The Packers beat them by eight and they didn’t play well. Arizona always flies under the radar, and if their spreads are going to be this low all year, keep betting on them. Other than a running game, they have all the pieces. Give me the Cardinals going away in this one.

Patriots (-1) over BILLS

Do not, I repeat, do not overreact to week 1 from the Bills. Remember, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. I repeat, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. Now, give them some credit. They probably have the best defensive personnel in the NFL, and now they have one of the best defensive coaches in the league. But seriously, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see what Rex comes up with to cover Gronk, that’ll be the big difference between the Pats and Colts. Also, Rex probably has them thinking they’re going to win the Super Bowl after one week, so they’ll be in for a let down. Once again, don’t be that guy that overreacts to week 1.

Chargers (+3) over BENGALS

I feel a little weird picking all of these road teams, but I’m not going to put a ton of stock into what the Bengals did last week. The Chargers were impressive in their comeback last week. Like I said, I’m expecting Philip Rivers to have a big year, he’s extremely motivated after all the rumors that swirled around him this offseason. Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are rising stars. Give me San Diego in this one.

BROWNS (+1) over Titans

Mariota is definitely due for a letdown this week. After being that good in his debut, he can only go down from here. Give him a full season, maybe two or three before we crown him as the savior. Yes, I’m picking the Browns this week. What am I doing? I’ll take the home team getting points, yes, even if it’s the Browns.

GIANTS (-2.5) over Falcons

Despite how horribly they botched the 1st and goal from the one last Sunday, I think the Giants showed some good things. That defense can be good, they have a very good tandem of corners in DRC and Prince Amukamara. The Falcons were good, but they still were a missed field goal from blowing that game. I’ll take the Giants at home with Atlanta coming off a short week.

Rams (-3.5) over REDSKINS

I’m pretty nervous with this one, it seems way too obvious. I feel like a lot of people are going to jump on the Ram’s bandwagon after last week, and I don’t feel good about putting a lot of faith in Nick Foles. But the Redskins are not good. a 17-10 home loss was impressive for them. Their quarterback situation is a mess, the RG3 soap opera is still hanging around them, and I don’t think Jay Gruden is going to be a very good coach. I’ll take the Rams to cover, but expect it to be low scoring.

Dolphins (-6) over JAGUARS

I might end up picking against the Jaguars every game this year. Seriously, what is there to like? Blake Bortles is not good. Julius Thomas is already wasting away in this offense. There’s no offensive line or running game to speak of. The defense is nothing special. What am I supposed to like? The Dolphins should bounce back after struggling with the Redskins. And might I point out that despite struggling, they still covered. They’ll cover easily in this one.

RAIDERS (+6.5) over Ravens

I’m crazy for picking this, but I’m not going to jump ship on the Raiders after one week. The Ravens offensive line is horrible right now. I know they were facing a terrific pass rush in Denver, and an underrated defensive tackle in Malik Jackson, but they couldn’t run the ball to save their lives. The only time they moved the ball down field at all was their final drive running the two-minute drill. The Raiders will be ok. They still have a ways to go, but give them some time before you say they are as bad as they usually are. I’ll give them this one at home with the Ravens making the cross-country flight.

EAGLES (-5) over Cowboys

This line is a little big for me, but I really like the Eagles in this one. Their offense will be explosive. I think after reviewing the film Chip Kelly will realize he needs to run the ball more, and they’ll do really well with that. Sam Bradford found his groove in the 2nd half and looked really good when he did. Their secondary looked bad, but should gain some confidence against a depleted Dallas receiving core. As much as I love the Cowboy’s offensive line, their running game was not good last Sunday. I’ll take the Eagles to cover at home here.

PACKERS (-3.5) over Seahawks

This is a tough one to pick, but Green Bay is playing really well right now. The Seahawks’ offensive line didn’t look very good against St. Louis. Russell Wilson had no time to let deep routes develop. The absence of Kam Chancellor matters, don’t kid yourself. Aaron Rodgers walked right into Seattle in the NFC Championship last year and should’ve beat them on one leg. I’ll take the Packers right now in Lambeau.

COLTS (-7) over Jets

Yes the Jets were good on Sunday, but yes it was against the Browns. This Colts offense should get right back on track. Remember, they were playing at Buffalo, against the best defense in the league. That’s right Seattle, the Bills are the best defense in the league, at the moment. I expect Andrew Luck to get back on track, and I don’t see any reason the Jets should score enough points to cover.

If you’re a college football fan or just a degenerate gambler who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. My picks for this week are: Louisiana Tech (+9), Ole Miss (+6.5), Purdue (+6), Cal (-6), TCU (-37.5), Colorado State, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska straight up.

For more useless sports banter, follow me on Twitter @rory_maccallum

NFL Record: 9-7-1

College Football Record: 5-3-0

NFL Recap: 5 Things We Learned from Week 1

NFL football season is underway with week one’s slate of games finishing up on Monday Night Football, and the viewers got a good chunk of entertainment, surprises, and sloppiness. With it all, NFL fans everywhere learned more about teams, players and possible season outlooks.

1. The New England Patriots came out with a vengeance.

The New England Patriots are winning, no new news there. But we’re going to be seeing the Patriots use a mantra we have not heard since Spygate, “It’s us versus the world.” Off the heals of Deflategate and Tom Brady’s suspension, we saw the Patriots play with such ferocity and intensity in their season opener versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though the final score was 28-21, the game was very much dominated by the Patriots. Tom Brady went 25/32 for 288 yards and four touchdown passes. The narrative of the Patriots dominating their opponents could be commonly heard throughout the season, and the “us versus the world” mantra could very well give them even more motivation to make another Super Bowl run. Also, don’t mess with an angry Tom Brady.

2Marcus Mariota is the real deal

Marcus Mariota, the number two pick in the draft, impressed in his first career start. In fact, impressed was an understatement. Mariota was historic and near-perfect in his debut as the Tennessee Titans squandered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14. Mariota threw for 13/16 for 209 yards and four touchdown passes. What’s significant about the four touchdown passes is that they all came in the first half. The feat of a rookie throwing four touchdowns in his opener has not been done since Fran Tarkenton in 1965. With the impressive debut, it has essentially eliminated the talk of Mariota only being a system quarterback under Oregon’s fast-paced spread offense, and also eliminated the questions of Mariota possibly struggling to adjust to a pro-style offense.

3. Jameis Winston on the other hand, needs more improvement

Number one pick Jameis Winston, however, struggled and at times looked inept in his debut. His debut went south quickly when his first career past was intercepted and returned for a pick-six. Winston completed lest than 50% percent of his passes as he went 16/33 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. But with those two touchdowns, Winston threw two interceptions. However, it is too early to be hitting the panic button on Jameis yet. Winston is playing behind a shaky offensive line, and was also missing key receiver Mike Evans. However, that is not an excuse for having trouble in finding rhythm with throwing to them. As the season progresses, hopefully he should improve.

4. Maybe Johnny Manziel does have a chance.

After a disastrous rookie season, many began to write off Johnny Manziel as a bust. After checking into rehab, and a successful off-season of growth, a spark of hope was ignited when the Cleveland Browns opened up the season in New York against the Jets. After starter Josh McCown got lit up and sent out of the game with a concussion, Johnny football stepped in. Immediately, he made an impact by throwing a 54 yard bomb for a touchdown. However, the positives would shy away as the Jets force an interception and a couple of fumbles from Manziel during a 31-10 rout. Manziel finished 13/24 for 182 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Though they may not seem like big stats, it is a vast improvement over his rookie season. If he does start week two in place of a concussed Josh McCown, expect him to put up bigger numbers and seize the opportunity. Johnny Manziel has changed, and has improved.

5. It’s going to be a season of chaos

The Buffalo Bills beat the Indianapolis Colts. The St. Louis Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks. Those results should not have happened. But yet the underdog came out on top. And it is only a sign of things to come. This NFL season is going to be a season of twists, turns, and most importantly chaos. Teams that we thought were juggernauts, will stumble and fall and get upset. Peyton Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass, Marshawn Lynch couldn’t run one yard to convert a first down, the San Francisco 49ers won despite being cast off due to the tumultuous off-season. Everyone better buckle up, because of what happened in week one, this season is going to be the year of chaos.

2015 AFC Regular Season And Playoff Predictions

With the preseason now in the rear view mirror, as well as deflate gate and the seven month circus that it was, we can now shift our focus from courtrooms and un-drafted players, to what really matters. Regular season games, and the road to Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50. Many are under the impression that there is no clear favorite in the AFC right now. There are a few teams that look to be contenders, but not one sure fire team like in years past. Here is my full prediction for each division and playoff matchup.

AFC East:                                                                                                                                                                                             New England Patriots (12-4): Overall I have been underwhelmed by the Patriots this preseason. With the entire team and region ready to run through a brick wall for Tom Brady on Thursday, I believe they will take that game. After that they have two tough games in Buffalo and in Dallas two weeks later. With the secondary and offensive line going through significant changes, don’t be surprised if they get off to another two and two start, like they did last year. Nevertheless, the Patriots under Bill Belichick have always been dominant in the second half of the season, so expect them to bounce back and win the division.

Buffalo Bills (10-6): The Buffalo defense was already stacked as it was, and now add a defensive guru such as Rex Ryan to the mix, they can give any quarterback major headaches. Also, the Buffalo offense is full of offensive fire power and speed. Lesean McCoy in the backfield, Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin at receiver, and a speedy quarterback like Tyrod Taylor will keep any defense on their heels. However, Rex Ryan has never been a quarterback whisperer and starting an unproven player such as Taylor could be risky.

New York Jets (7-9): On paper, the Jets have an outstandingly talented roster. Their cornerback depth chart headed by Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie may be the best in the league. Brandon Marshall is also a big addition on offense. The Jets have a very similar problem as the Bills, they don’t have a quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been average to sub par in his career, and Geno Smith put himself out for the first ten weeks by getting himself punched in the face. With a first year head coach in Todd Bowles, the personalities on that roster could take over and not allow the team to capitalize on their potential.

Miami Dolphins (7-9): The Miami Dolphins were not shy in spending money this offseason, giving out mega contracts to Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh. It is great to sustain and add talent, however when you give out those deals it can leave you vulnerable at other positions. For example, their offensive line has been below average for the past few seasons, and how good is a twenty-million dollar quarterback when you can’t protect him. In addition, Joe Philipin may be on his last leg with the team.

cbssports.com
cbssports.com

AFC North:

Baltimore Ravens (11-5): If there is one team in the National Football League, besides the Patriots, that you can always count on being in at least the divisional round, it would be the Ravens. Say what you want about John Harbaugh’s personality, he is a great coach and his team fears no opponent. They will continue to have a stout defensive front and a run heavy offense, along with the always postseason reliable Joe Flacco. Count on them playing late in January.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7): The Steelers have been a very difficult team to predict the past couple of seasons. It looked as if they finally turned the corner last season when they won the division with a fantastic offensive year. However, they came out flat and lost in the wild card round at home against arch rival Baltimore. This season, they are facing a lot of turnaround on defense with long-time veterans in the secondary, Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu retiring. Also, key pieces on offense Le’veon Bell and Martavius Bryant are suspended early on. It will be a bit of a set back year in Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Over the past four seasons, the Bengals have been almost identical to the team the year before. They are a tough team up front on defense, with an average offense with a fragile superstar in AJ Green, and an inconsistent quarterback with Andy Dalton. Nevertheless, in the playoffs they never cease to amaze when they upset fans in the wild card round with their lack luster performance. I find it hard to believe that they will make it to the playoffs this season due to the increase in talent around them.

Cleveland Browns (6-10): Last year at this time I was all in on the Browns. Now they are just viewed as a bottom dweller once again. The Johnny Manziel hype has died out very quickly, and besides him there isn’t much on that team that is interesting. The defense has some young talent in Barkevious Mingo and Joe Haden along with others, but it has yet to translate to the field.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 21: at Heinz Field on December 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

AFC South:

Indianapolis Colts (12-4): The Colts have been the talk of the town in the AFC over this past offseason. With the additions of veterans such as Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, many are claiming them as Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. Although, not much has been made about their lack of defense. Their past two seasons have ended in Foxborough in January because they can’t stop the run. They did not address that need this offseason, and one of their best run stoppers, Arthur Jones, is out for the season with a torn ligament in his ankle. The offense will be among the tops in the league, but it will be tough for their defense to hold up in the key situations in the playoffs.

Houston Texans (10-6): The Texans flew under the radar last season going 9-7 and just barely missing the playoffs. This year Bill O’Brien will have them as one of the forces in the AFC, and defensive coordinator Romeo Crenell may have the best unit in the league. JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Wilfork, and Brian Cushing are just a few names on a defense that will be a force to be reckoned with. They certainly will give Andrew Luck headaches. The quarterback position is a question mark with Brian Hoyer as the starter, but Bill O’Brien is a very good offensive mind and can put things together.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Blake Bortles is a promising young quarterback, however he does not have much if not anything around him. The team added tight end Julius Thomas in the offseason, but he will be out for the first few weeks of the season due to injury. Also, his numbers may have been inflated because of the offense he was on in Denver. Jacksonville has a good young roster, they might just be a year or two away.

Tennessee Titans (4-12): The Tennessee Titans selected Marcus Mariota with the second pick in the 2015 draft, and they want him to be the quarterback that will take them to the top. Well, they need to begin to add pieces around him before they can truly be a relevant team in the AFC. His character and toughness will be tested early in his career as his team will struggle.

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AFC West: 

Denver Broncos (11-5): Most media members are counting the Denver Broncos out of the AFC championship race. That is the wrong move. Peyton Manning may be a terrible postseason quarterback, but he is more than likely the best ever when it comes to the regular season. Manning has a plethora of targets that include elite receivers such as Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Also, Peyton has help in the running game now with CJ Anderson and Montee Ball. In addition, the defense is stacked and should be in the top five overall. It won’t be like the late 90’s Broncos with Elway, Sharper, and Davis, but it will be enough to get them a home playoff game.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7): The Chiefs are a sleeper team right now in the AFC. The addition of Jeremy Maclin will compliment the speed of Jamaal Charles very nicely. Their defense is also very good up front lead by Justin Houston and Dontarie Poe. Also, Eric Berry returning will be an emotional lift and on field. He is one of, if not the best safety in the game. The Chiefs also have one of the best coaches in the game with Andy Reid, that can never go unmentioned.

San Diego Chargers (9-7): When you have an elite quarterback such as Philip Rivers as your starter, you will be able to compete for a playoff chance almost every season. The Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon in the first round of this year’s draft and many believe that he can be the next Jamaal Charles. The defense does not have a ton of talent, but they played very hard and physical last season. That will be essential when going up against divisional opponents such as Kansas City and Denver.

Oakland Raiders (6-10): Last season, the Raiders lost their first ten games of the season. They finished with three wins, and fought hard against almost every team they faced in the last half of the season. They now have Jack Del Rio as a head coach. He has always been known to be able to put together a solid defense. The Oakland defense is swimming with young talent. Offensively, the Derek Carr to Amari Cooper connection is one to keep an eye on in the coming years. Again, another team that may be just a year away.

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AFC Playoffs:

Wild Card Round: 6. Houston over 3. Denver, 4. Baltimore over 5. Buffalo

Divisional Round: 1. New England over 6. Houston, 4. Baltimore over 2. Indianapolis.

AFC Championship: 4. Baltimore over 1. New England

As a diehard New Englander, this pains me to write. The Patriots somehow managed to stay very healthy, (with the exception of Jerod Mayo) last season. No serious injuries were suffered to Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, or a defensive stars such as Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, or Devin McCourty. It is hard to think that nothing will happen to any of those players this upcoming season. Furthermore, the losses of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, and Vince Wilfork will be greatly missed in the postseason. In addition, the Ravens have no fear going into Gillette, and this rivalry tends to be back and forth. I hope I am wrong, but as of right now I see the Baltimore Ravens representing the AFC in Super Bowl 50.

Quarterback Michael Vick signs with Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Quarterback Michael Vick last played for the New York Jets.

After a brief stint with the New York Jets, free agent quarterback Michael Vick has signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal is for one year, and only worth roughly $1 million.

Vick had was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 draft, and became a franchise quarterback, leading the team to a conference championship game in 2004. He was released from the team when he was arrested for dogfighting in 2007, and served 21 months in prison followed by 2 months house arrest. He made his return by playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick did lead the Eagles to a playoff spot in 2009 and again in 2010, but never was able to lead them into deep playoff runs or stay healthy and consistent. In 2013 the Eagles chose not to resign Vick, who had been replaced by Nick Foles as starting QB.

Looking like his career may end, Vick was given the gift of a 1 year 5 million dollar contract by the New York Jets in 2014 to mentor the struggling Geno Smith. It proved to be an effort in futility for the Jets, in week 10 Vick was named their starter over Smith, and he pulled off their second win of the season. He had only started three games, and only competed 52.9% of his passes for 604 yards, throwing only for three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Michael Vick’s role with the Steelers is unknown, but it is a given that he is going to be a veteran backup to franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The signing could make sense as the other quarterbacks on the Steelers roster, Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones, are either injured or have yet to prove their worth. Other than being a backup, Vick could provide more versatility when it comes to the possibility of more attempts at two-point conversions, especially with the extra point distance being pushed back.

Deconstructing the AFC East: The Jets


<> at Ford Field on August 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.

There might not have been a team that gained more attention this off-season than the Jets. With a new coach, new GM and a plethora of new talent, they have been touted as the most likely team to unseat the Patriots. Even more so, to make a legitimate Super Bowl run. They are a team that can cause concern for Pats fans as well as the rest of the NFL.

Why Pats fans should be concerned:

With the additions of new coach Todd Bowles, the Jets gain another brilliant defensive coach that had some exceptional squads in Arizona over the past few years. They spent a lot of money on improving their talent depleted roster. On offense, the biggest acquisition was Brandon Marshall, who, with Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley, give them a dynamic trio with Kerley manning the slot. They added RB’s Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy to challenge Chris Ivory. They will be able to pound the rock as good as anyone.

Defense, they have a ton of talent. Although the loss of Sheldon Richardson for 4 games (and probably the year, still undecided), having stud DL Leonard Williams fall to them was a coup. Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the best 3-4 DL linemen in the league and NT Damon Harrison is a massive force. The biggest acquisition was Darelle Revis. He is arguably the best CB in the game (as we know) and with other free agent DB’s Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist gives them an entirely new look on defense. This team is just stacked with talent. But…

Why Pats fans shouldn’t be concerned:

With a new coach, there are bound to be growing pains. Especially in his first head coaching job. With QB Geno Smith already knocked out for 10 weeks, it shows that there is a general discord in the locker room due to the lack of retaliation and reaction after, by both coaches and players alike. This doesn’t bode well for chemistry. Relying on journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick is not something that can make anyone truly happy here. He did have his best success under OC Chan Gailey in Buffalo, but that was also 4 years ago. He has struggled in his stints in Tennessee and Houston. It doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Also, the offensive line is aging and is under-performing. There might not be a better center in the game than Nick Mangold. But, he’s 31 as is D’Brickshaw Ferguson, who underperformed last year. Free Agent G James Carpenter is mostly just a run blocker and can’t pass block well at all. They have a lack of talent on the other spots that could get this team in trouble.

<> at Ford Field on August 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.

With the suspension of Richardson, the Jets are in a tough spot. Williams was a stud in college, will that translate in the NFL? Also, relying on 34 year old Calvin Pace and Quentin Coples, who is more of a run stopping OLB, as their pass rushers is concerning. David Harris looked slow last year at his ILB position. They didn’t really do anything to improve the linebacking corps other than the drafting of Lorenzo Mauldin in the 3rd round. Also, the logic of paying that much money to 2 CB’s like Revis and Cromartie, who are over 30 is a little mind boggling. Gilchrist wasn’t that good in San Diego, so I’m not sure how good he’ll be in New York.

What does all this mean? There is a TON of uncertainty in New York. On one hand, you have a ton of talent that, on paper, looks poised to make a run. But, you can already see that there are things lining up in a bad way for New York. From Richardson’s drag race through a neighborhood to Smith getting punched in the face, the dark clouds are definitely on the horizon for this franchise.

AFC East Breakdown and Predictions: Will The Patriots Success Continue?

The AFC East for a long stretch of time has been ragged on for not being very relevant, outside of the New England Patriots. Some followers have discounted the Patriots reign of success because of the lack of competitors in the division. However, this past offseason there was a great amount of turnaround on all four teams within the division, which should make things a lot more interesting this upcoming season. So without further a due, here is my full breakdown of each team in the AFC East, with with a prediction of their final record and playoff standing.

New England Patriots: Once again the New England Patriots enter the season as the favorites to win the AFC East. Nevertheless, with the departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington the secondary is now a work-in-progress that could cost the team some games early on in the season. In addition, with Vince Wilfork signing with the Houston Texans and Dan Connolly retiring, both sides of the line of scrimmage are in a transition period with a lot of young players that are still a bit unknown.

If the Patriots offensive line can figure out some early struggles, like they did very well last year, the offense as a whole should be very explosive. With weapons such as Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon LaFell all with at least a year or more in the Patriots system under their belt, the offense should be able to move the ball up and down the field very effectively.

Also, the offense should not have to pick up the slack for the defense constantly if the front seven of the defense lives up to their potential. With young talented players on the rise like Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Jabaal Sheard, along with unproven players such as Dominique Easley and Chandler Jones with potentially high ceilings the front could carry the defense and allow Bill Belichick to, “turn the dogs loose.” Something they haven’t been able to do for a long stretch of time.

Prediction: 12-4, second spot in AFC Playoffs.

Buffalo Bills: Certainly one of the most talked about teams in the offseason, the Buffalo Bills are now filled with all sorts of bravado with new head coach Rex Ryan. Buffalo added tons of fire power on offense, with continued additions to their already strong defense. With Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus plugging up the interior, with an extremely talented player such as Jerry Hughes coming off the edge, the Bills should cause all sorts of headaches for opposing quarterbacks. The secondary still has some question marks in Buffalo, but Rex Ryan has been known to make up for a weak secondary with his phenomenal pass rush.

The Bills offense can be described with in one word, speed. With speedy wide receivers such as olympic track star Marquise Goodwin, along with Percy Harvin, and future superstar Sammy Watkins the passing game has some burners that can really stretch the field. To add to the insanely fast wide receivers, the Bills added Lesean McCoy via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. McCoy along with grizzled veteran Fred Jackson will contribute greatly to Rex Ryan’s run heavy offense. Also, McCoy can come out of the backfield and be effective in the passing game.

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The biggest question for the Bills this season is the quarterback position. A three-way competition has spurred throughout training camp between Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, and Tyrod Taylor. None of those three will strike great fear in any opposing team, especially the New England Patriots who are their biggest competition in the division. Unfortunately, their lack of quarterback talent will lead to their offense not reaching their full potential.

Prediction: 10-6, sixth spot in AFC Playoffs.

New York Jets: Much like the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets have added a lot of new talent to the roster along with some old friends. The biggest additions of course being Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Brandon Marshall. In addition, the Jets now have a Todd Bowles as head coach who was the architect of the defense in Arizona that is now one of the league’s best.

On offense, the Jets have a plethora of weapons starting with an elite wide receiver such as Brandon Marshall whom they acquired through a trade with the Chicago Bears this past offseason. Marshall is a freakish athlete that is a threat to score anytime he is on the field. The only problem is keeping his head on straight.

nypost.com
nypost.com

To compliment Marshall the Jets have a solid veteran in Eric Decker and promising rookie Devin Smith, who was a great player on Ohio State’s national championship team last year. Again, the Jets biggest question mark will come at the quarterback position. With Geno Smith now out for a long stretch of time, the team will have to rely on veteran cast off Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead them. That is something that fans of the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans will tell you not to be over confident about.

On defense, the Jets have possibly more all around talent than any team in the National Football League. When you have the best cornerback in the game in Darrelle Revis on your roster, you can do all sorts of things because he essentially takes away the opposing offenses number one target. On the other side of Revis, the Jets have Pro-Bowler Antonio Cromartie who is also a menace for quarterbacks and wide receivers to deal with.

Based off of those two players alone the Jets should have a top three secondary. In addition to their secondary, the front seven of the Jets will be one that can get to the quarterback. With Muhammed Wilkerson coming off the edge, and first-round pick Leonard Williams who was considered to be the best overall player in the draft.

In the end however, the Jets will probably not live up to there potential simply because they are the Jets and their locker room is already starting to collapse. With Sheldon Richardson likely out for the season because of his antics, and Geno Smith not commanding the respect of his teammates, Todd Bowles already seems to be letting the inmates run the asylum. That is something that has not bode well for former head coaches of the NYJ.

Prediction: 7-9, Miss playoffs.

Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins have given the New England Patriots the biggest run for their money over the past couple of seasons. Head coach Joe Philibin has been able to keep his team in the playoff race until mid December, and then his squad falls apart. This was never more evident than last December when they had a chance to make a statement against the Patriots in Foxborough. The Dolphins came out with zero energy and fell flat on their face getting walloped by a score of 41-13.

This past March, Miami made arguably the biggest move of the offseason by signing perennial Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a six-year, 114 million dollar contract. Their defensive line should be able to get in the backfield with ease with Cameron Wake coming off the edge, and Suh up the middle.

cbssports.com
cbssports.com

Furthermore, the Phins extended fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a six-year 97 million dollar contract extension. Therefore, the Dolphins are spending big cash to protect their most valuable assets.

However, when you spend big money like that you can be left vulnerable at other positions. For example, Miami continues to have a weak offensive line, in a division with three stout defensive fronts. What good is your expensive quarterback if you cannot keep him upright. Also, the Dolphins offense is not exactly filled with offensive power, and Tannehill is not the type of player that can make players around him exceedingly better.

Overall, the Miami Dolphins on paper seem to have a very talented roster, but they just don’t have the coaching. That will be proven this year once again when Miami fans are disappointed that their team is golfing in January once again.

Prediction: 7-9, Miss Playoffs.

New York Jets: More Drama for Richardson

(NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    in action against the on December 21, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Patriots defeated the Jets 17-16.
(NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) in action against the on December 21, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Patriots defeated the Jets 17-16.

Jet’s defensive end Sheldon Richardson put in a great case for a 2015 Darwin award. Or maybe, instead of calling him an idiot, it’s more fitting to call him immature and irresponsible. The star defensive end was charged with resisting arrest, after a July 14 incident. Wait until you hear what the incident was.

Richardson was drag racing near his home in St. Louis. He was caught going 143 MPH, a fully loaded semi-automatic shotgun was found in his car, the car reportedly reeked of marijuana, and to top it all off, there was a 12-year old child in the car. Oh yeah, and this came twelve days after Richardson was slapped with a four-game PED suspension. The Jets found out about this the same way you and I did, by way of media reports on Thursday. Apparently, “just a speeding ticket,” was not the best way to tell the people who sign his paychecks.

Police say they saw two cars speeding at, “exceedingly high rates of speed,” and suspected a road race. Richardson sped away in his Bentley, out of the sight of police, and hid in the driveway of a random home, turning all of his lights out. The police spotted his brake lights, which had been left on.

Richardson will have to appear in court on October 27. Resisting arrest is a serious crime. It is a Class A misdemeanor in St. Charles County (where the incident occurred), and could be up to a $1,000 fine along with up to a year in prison.

Well-respected ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick had some harsh words for Richardson on Twitter, saying, “DUMB, unappreciative & taking NFL life for granted. Drag Racing. 140+MPH. Weed. 12 yr old kid in car. You deserve to be MORE than suspended.” Jet’s coach Todd Bowles was quoted as saying that the organization will help him, “get help for his problem…It’ll be a good lesson for him. I’m sure his parents are more disappointed than anybody, and he had to stand that. His actions will speak louder than his words going forward.”

The Jet’s first round pick, Leonard Williams, has already replaced Richardson on the first team. This certainly is one of the most troubling cases of the NFL offseason as training camp begins. The situation likely couldn’t have been worse for Richardson, as so many things were wrong with the picture. We’ve seen teams handle these things in different ways. The Patriots tend to cut anyone who steps out of line, regardless of their capabilities on the field. The Jets have chosen to support Richardson, but at the same time make him understand the seriousness of his actions. The NFL has yet to act on this, but it would make sense for Richardson to be given an indefinite suspension until his arraignment October 27. If Sheldon Richardson isn’t a part of the 2015 NFL season and is not a part of Madden 16, at least he’ll have a chance to be a part of GTA VI.

Can the Kings of the AFC East be dethroned?

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Looking over the eight divisions in the NFL, the AFC East division has had a great deal of success over the past 15 years. Don’t remind any Bills, Jets and Dolphins fans about this though, for all twelve division titles, six Conference Championships and four Super Bowls won over this time belong to just one team – the New England Patriots.

But the reigning Super Bowl champs have had an offseason that has casted some reasonable doubt for fans ahead of the upcoming season. With the anchor to their defense and their two starting cornerbacks gone and an impending ruling yet to be handed down by the Ginger Hammer (#exonerateBrady), the rest of the AFC East has made moves to improve their teams with some key acquisitions. Is that enough to sink the tight ship run by Bill Belichick and Co.? Let’s take a look at how the three other teams stack up against the Kings of the AFC East:

Jets – Aside from the big (*cough* robbery *cough*) free agency signing of Darrelle Revis, the Jets also brought back Antonio Cromartie to the secondary to beef up an already tough and talented defense who will have Sheldon Richardson back by the time they face the Patriots in their Week 7 showdown. To complement the defense, the Jets improved their receiving corps by acquiring Brandon Marshall in free agency and drafting Devin Smith in this year’s draft. The bad news? The Jets may be in a better position to expose a weaker Patriots secondary by forcing them to put more cornerbacks on the field against a stronger set of wide receivers. The good news? The Jets don’t have Rex Ryan. Or a QB that can lead them to a division title. And while the Jets will have Sheldon Richardson back, the Patriots will have Tom Brady ready to go too, so I’ll be placing my bets on the Brady Bunch.

Dolphins – Ndamukong Suh decided to bring his talents to South Beach and that is huge for a franchise whose fans have been left with a sour taste in their mouths from watching teams full of hope and promise disintegrate the past two seasons. Having Suh join Earl Mitchell in the interior while Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon rush the edges will be the cause of many headaches for offensive coordinators in the division and across the league. The Dolphins also did a pretty good job of getting quarterback Ryan Tannehill (a massive contract and) some new weapons by signing Greg Jennings and drafting DeVante Parker with the 14th pick of the draft to join a balanced run game for the offense. But are these improvements enough to overcome the major holes this team has at guard, linebacker and at the cornerback position? Or will Dolphins fans face another tumultuous season that will end in more heartbreak for their fans? Too soon to tell. One thing that is certain – Bill Belichick’s bread and butter is taking away what every team does best and making them beat his team without their strengths. If the offensive line for the Dolphins struggle to create openings for their running backs and keep Ryan Tannehill upright, their secondary won’t be able to save them from the Patriots’ elusive passing attack.

Bills – No other team in this division (or in the league for that matter) had quite the offseason the Bills had. No other team in this division will have the pleasure of potentially facing a Brady-less Patriots offense (*knocks on wood*) this season and that is quite the advantage to have on your side, especially with an elite defense led by Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. These three ended the season with double-digit sacks on a team that racked up 54 sacks in 2014. It only gets better for this team because guess who’s at the helm for this Bills this year? Rex Ryan, defensive mastermind. But, said defensive mastermind is no offensive mastermind, and he’s going from one quarterback debacle with Geno Smith and the Jets to another with E.J. Manuel and the Bills. His other options at quarterback (Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel) don’t seem to represent the long term answer to lead a good running combo in Fred Jackson and LeSean McCoy and a good wide receiving corps that includes Sammy Watkins, who is coming off a stellar rookie season. It’ll be quite the chess match when these two teams meet up in Week 2 and in primetime on Week 11. Rex will focus on disguising his defense with intricate blitzing schemes to faze the Patriots quarterback while Bill will squash the running game and force the Bills quarterback to beat the defense with his arm. There is no doubt that the Bills have the biggest chance to dethrone the Patriots for the AFC East throne, but their biggest hole is at the most important position on the team. With that said, I will give Bill Belichick and Co. the benefit of the doubt and another division title for the 2015-16 NFL season.