Breaking down regional NFL teams' season prospects

Posted

The official kickoff to the National Football League season took place last week with the annual Hall of Fame game and induction, meaning the regular season is just about a month away.

Let's look at the regional NFL teams to see how they could fare in 2019.

***

The New England Patriots just don't stop winning.

Now with six championships during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, we are left to wonder, when will this dynasty end?

Short term answer: not this year.

New England should remain atop the mantle of the AFC East and it's still not even particularly close.

Brady just received a contract extension, and with one of, if not, the best quarterback in history still under center, I don't plan to bet against them.

Brady's weapons certainly aren't as strong as last year with tight end Rob Gronkowski retiring, but the veteran signal caller has won with less before.

I like the draft pick of wide receiver N'Keal Harry. He provides Brady a deep threat, which is something the Patriots have lacked since Randy Moss.

Defensively, the addition of defensive end Michael Bennett will provide some much-needed pass rush ability and complement a strong secondary.

Factor in a fairly easy schedule and you have recipe for success once again in Foxborough.

Prediction: 12-4 record, lose in AFC Championship game

***

The New York Jets are heading in the right direction.

With tons of cap space this past offseason, the Jets made the most of it.

Their biggest addition was running back Le'Veon Bell, who sat out all of last season in a contact dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bell should provide New York a different dimension than its had in a while, with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Having a security blanket like Bell for a young quarterback, Sam Darnold, can only be positive for the QB's development.

I also love how the Jets have developed their defensive line. Adding top-five pick Quinnen Williams to a line already with Leonard Williams sounds like a terror for opposing quarterbacks.

With that being said, there are definite holes for the Jets, with shaky offensive line play and their lack of targets for Darnold as paramount concerns.

The Jets should be competitive, just not a playoff team.

Prediction: 8-8, miss the playoffs

Article Continues After These Ads

***

The Buffalo Bills are a team in a similar spot to the Jets.

Young quarterback. Check.

Veteran running back. Check.

Up-and-coming defense. Check.

I like second-year quarterback Josh Allen and his development, but his receiving options don't do much for me.

Cole Beasley is a good veteran receiver, John Brown was a solid addition and Zay Jones has some potential to break out, but none of them really stand out to me in a big way.

I loved the draft pick of Ed Oliver to play defensive tackle. A lot of teams were shying away early in the top 10 of this year's draft because of some injury risk, but Oliver's potential more than outranks his risk.

Oliver could be an all-pro lineman for the Bills and a stalwart of their defense for the next decade.

He joins a strong defensive line with Jerry Hughes, along with a good linebacking core.

Prediction: 7-9, miss the playoffs

***

The New York Giants had an interesting offseason.

On one hand, they seemed to commit to a rebuild, jettisoning out players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon.

But on the other hand, they didn't fully commit to one by signing veteran wide receiver Golden Tate, who is suspended for the first four games of 2019 because of a performance-enhancing drug failed test.

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman seemed to be sending mixed signals about his intentions for the 2019 season, given his moves.

There is definitely some things to like about the Giants. Saquon Barkley is already one of the best running backs in the league and the Giants actually made a few additions to their offensive line to help him out.

Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram are decent receiving threats and Tate should contribute once he returns to play.

The defense, which was stripped down over the past year, could struggle to stop teams, but there are some intriguing young pieces, such as Jabrill Peppers and Dexter Lawrence, to keep an eye on.

The biggest question for the Giants has to be who lines up under center. Most people expect Eli Manning to start at quarterback once again, but the Giants decided to take Duke-product Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick in the draft. Guys who are picked that high rarely sit for long, so we'll see how that pans out.

To me, there just isn't enough talent and a few too many question marks for the Giants to make much of a difference this year.

Prediction: 4-12, miss the playoffs.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


TALK TO US

If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.




Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions