The 2017 NFL season is drawing closer by the day. The long wait that we as football fans have had to endure is nearly at its end.
To prepare for the upcoming season, we will be breaking down every team’s biggest storyline this year. Today, we’ll take a look at every AFC team. Without further ado, let’s begin.
New England Patriots: Is 19-0 a realistic option?
Our own Ian Glendon will be very pleased with me when I saw this: the New England Patriots are arguably the NFL’s best team on paper.
Even though they made a fantastic comeback in the Super Bowl this past February, they still managed to go all out this offseason. They added Stephon Gilmore to an already talented secondary. Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen will provide Tom Brady with even more weapons to throw to. One could be in their right mind to believe that the team has no weaknesses.
Unless Brady undergoes a regression similar to that of Peyton Manning in 2015, New England appears to be the favorite to win the AFC. The question is: can they do so while maintaining perfection?
Miami Dolphins: Can Adam Gase help them relive their magic from last season?
Things weren’t looking good for the Miami Dolphins to start the 2016 season; they kicked off the year with a 1-4 record. However, they managed to make a major turnaround by winning nine of their next 11 games, which was good enough to make the playoffs.
Now, head coach Adam Gase enters his second year at the position for the Dolphins. Miami’s current roster isn’t much different from last year’s – they didn’t really lose any key contributors – so a repeat of last season is possible. Will the offensive mastermind be able to lead them back into the playoffs this year?
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New York Jets: Can any of their quarterbacks be remotely good this year?
Let’s face it: this isn’t going to be the New York Jets’ best season.
They lost Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker this offseason, leaving Quincy Enunwa as the only solid, proven receiving option on the roster. Rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen will likely be forced into bigger role than they are ready for. This is bad news for whomever the team chooses to be their starting quarterback.
Had the Jets re-signed Geno Smith, then he likely would’ve been their starter. Instead, they’re stuck with an aging Josh McCown, an underwhelming Bryce Petty and the enigma that is Christian Hackenberg. None of them would start on the average NFL team, which leaves them in a tough predicament for this season. Hey, at least they have the 2018 NFL Draft to look forward to, right?
Buffalo Bills: Will a new head coach break them out of mediocrity?
The Buffalo Bills have seemingly been mediocre for years now. They haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, which is currently the longest playoff drought in North American sports. It’s safe to say that new head coach Sean McDermott has his work cut out for him.
Buffalo has its fair share of promising pieces, though. LeSean McCoy is one of the best running backs in the league. Sammy Watkins, when healthy, has been a productive weapon for Tyrod Taylor. Look for rookie Zay Jones to make an impact in the passing game. Their front seven is promising, boasting players like Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, Lorenzo Alexander, Shaq Lawson, Preston Brown and Reggie Ragland.
The Bills aren’t the most complete of teams, but they have a handful of pieces to build around. Will McDermott’s arrival propel them into the playoffs?