As we continue in our NFL Preview, here are the Top 5 questions surrounding the teams of the AFC East:
#5 – Will the Buffalo Bills’ offense be able to take the next step?
The Bills (8-8) at times were a good offense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor passed for over 3,000 yards and had a 20/6 Touchdown to Interception ratio.
LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams were good running backs and receivers Sammy Watkins, Charles Clay and Robert Woods were solid.
In 2016, if the Bills are going to end their playoff drought and contend for the AFC East crown, Taylor will have to be better, as will LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins. Williams is suspended for the first four games and the rest of the offense is a bit in flux.
#4 – Will Arian Foster be able to elevate the Miami ground attack?
It’s no secret that Arian Foster struggles with staying healthy. In the last three seasons, he has missed 23 games, including most of last year.
Lamar Miller is in Houston now (ironic?) and Jay Ajayi has uncertainty surrounding him. It’s possible that rookie Kenyan Drake could step up, but if Miami is going to challenge New York and New England, they’ll need someone like Arian Foster to have a throwback season.
#3 – Was last year a fluke for Ryan Fitzpatrick?
With 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns, 2015 was by far Fitzpatrick’s finest season in the NFL.
The Jets already have a good defense and with skill players like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Bilal Powell and newly acquired running back Matt Forte, it’s possible Fitzpatrick has a similar season in 2016.
If he is able to play as well as last year, this could be the first time since 2008 where a team not named New England wins the AFC East.
#2 – Will Ryan Tannehill be able to elevate his play?
In the final four games of 2015, Tannehill’s play began to drop off and Miami lost three games in a row before winning the last game of the season. Despite the last few games, Ryan Tannehill had a good 2015 season.
If the running game is able to take pressure off the passing game, expect great things from the quarterback position in Miami as Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, and DeVante Parker are all looking like they’re ready to step up in a big way in 2016.
#1 – How will the New England Patriots fare with Tom Brady out for the first four games?
Jimmy Garappolo is said to be ready for the 2016 season and there’s reason to believe the Patriots will be able to win 2 or 3 of those first four games.
The offense is deep with Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, LaGarrette Blount, and James White.
If Garappolo can manage the game and let his defense and skill players do the rest, they’ll have a fantastic chance to win games 2-4, which are all home games against Miami, Houston, and Buffalo. And don’t discount them for Week 1 at Arizona.
As long as Bill Belichick is the head coach, never, ever count the Patriots out.