Buffalo Bills: 2015 Record: 8-8
2016 Projected Record: 7-9
Key Additions: Shaq Lawson (draft), Reggie Ragland (draft), Reggie Bush
Key Losses: Mario Williams, Leodis McKelvin, Karlos Williams
We are going into the 2nd year of Tyrod Taylor as a starting QB in the NFL. In his first season he had 3,035 yards, 20 TDs & only 6 INTs. Taylor is great at making plays with his legs as he had 568 yards rushing to add to his pretty impressive year in 2015. The big for Tyrod is that he needs to stay healthy because last year he only missed 2 games but in those 2 games Bills were forced to start E.J Manuel and the Bills went 0-2 with Manuel throwing for only 3 TDs & 3 INTs.
The Bills had a great 1-2 punch with Lesean McCoy & Karlos Williams last year. The Bills in 2015 were 1st in the league in total rushing yards with 2,432 yards (Tyrod Taylor kind of helped with this too). Now Karlos Williams is gone because of being overweight & he was already suspended the first 4 games of this year. The Bills added Reggie Bush in the offseason to pair with McCoy which probably makes the Bills the most athletic backfield in the NFL. Sammy Watkins returns from having foot problems last year & hopefully he can stay on the field because despite missing 3 games last year he still managed to get 60 catches for 1,047 yards & 9 TDs.
The Bills defense was supposed to be well improved under Rex Ryan but things didn’t go as planned. First off he tried making great pass rushers like Mario Williams & Jerry Hughes drop back in coverage way too often. Now Williams is gone to the division rivals in Miami while the Bills still have Jerry Hughes to rush the edge. The anchors of their defense is still their two stout DTs in Marcell Dareus & Kyle Williams. Dareus is suspended the first 4 games of the season. The Bills added Zach Brown to their linebacking corp from the Titans to pair with Preston Brown in the middle. Both guys are very athletic so I would expect some big plays from both of them.
The secondary of the Bills is a group I like a lot. At the corner positions they have Ronald Darby & Stephon Gilmore. In Darby’s rookie season in 2015 he had 21 pass deflections & 2 INTs. On the opposite side Gilmore is considered one of the best corners in the game. He has continually shown growth each year & I see him getting better & better. The safety spots are manned by Aaron Williams & Corey Graham. Williams only got to play in 3 games last year because of a neck injury he suffered. I see a big improvement from last year in this secondary. Bills are a team I’d like to put above .500 but they have Rex Ryan as head coach & they have too many injuries for my liking.
Miami Dolphins: 2015 Record: 6-10
2016 Projected Record: 7-9
Key Additions: Arian Foster, Mario Williams, Laremy Tunsil (draft)
Key Losses: Lamar Miller, Olivier Vernon, Rishard Matthews
I might be the only person in the world who still believes in Ryan Tannehill. What has Tannehill done to deserve so much hate? LEAVE TANNEHILL ALONE. Discounting his rookie year the dude has thrown at least 3,900 yards & 24 TDs every other year. Tannehill has also already been sacked 184 times in his 4 years & has had no continuity at the head coach or offensive coordinator positions which doesn’t help. Under Adam Gase I see Tannehill thriving with a 4,300 yard & 25 TD type of season.
The Dolphins lost Lamar Miller in free agency but added Arian Foster. Their backfield will consist of Foster, Jay Ajayi, & Kenyan Drake (who I think may have a bigger impact than expected). If Arian Foster can stay healthy I expect him to flourish under a Gase led team. But with Arian Foster now being 30 years old & coming off injuries last year that’s going to be tough & not everyone can show no signs of aging like Adrian Peterson. The Dolphins were the 23rd best rush offense last year with 1,496 yards. The Dolphins receiving corp is led by Jarvis Landry. Landry in 2015 was 4th in the NFL in receptions with 110 while gaining 1,157 yards.
The defensive line of the Dolphins on paper is elite but we’ll have to see once the season starts. The Dolphins added Mario Williams to go alongside Cameron Wake & Ndamukong Suh on their D-Line which should result in an improvement from last year. Miami was 25th in the NFL in sacks last year with 31. Suh in 2015 (1st season with Dolphins) had a very sub-par year for being the highest paid defensive tackle, he only had 6 sacks. The Dolphins have a pretty solid set of LBs with Koa Misi, Kiko Alonso, & Jelani Jenkins. Kiko Alonso is a very good coverage linebacker but has had a hard time staying on the field. Alonso was out the whole 2014 season after tearing his ACL (2nd time he’s torn his ACL) & in 2015 after being traded to the Eagles he started 1 game before re-injuring his knee. For the sake of the Dolphins hopefully he can be on the field.
The secondary of the Dolphins is definitely their weakest link. Besides Reshad Jones you have a few guys who are either unproven or overpaid *cough cough* Byron Maxwell *cough cough*. Maxwell for the Eagles in 2015 looked like he was lost having to play more man-defense than he did for the Seahawks in previous seasons. Maxwell found out real quick that the Eagles didn’t have Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor to make up for the mistakes he made. Tony Lippett, the corner opposite Maxwell only played in 9 games last year in his rookie season so he’s an unknown. Lippett looks like a strong physical corner standing at 6 ft 3in. & 194 pounds. The Dolphins seem like an improved team to me but there’s still too many question marks (especially in the secondary) for me to give them a .500 or above record.
New England Patriots: 2015 Record: 12-4
2016 Projected Record 13-3
Key Additions: Martellus Bennett, Jonathan Cooper, Chris Hogan, Chris Long
Key Losses: Jerod Mayo, Chandler Jones
Yes, I know Tom Brady is suspended for the first 4 games but I see the Patriots going 3-1 in those games (the only loss being in week 1 to the Cardinals). The Patriots are always going to be contending as long as Tom Brady & Bill Belichick are together. Even with Brady being suspended I can still see Brady finishing in the top 3 for the MVP voting.
The Patriots are hoping they can get Dion Lewis back from injury as soon as possible. Good thing the Patriots have James White who’s a very similar running back to Lewis. After Lewis got hurt last year White stepped in & had 40 receptions for 410 yards & 4 TDs. Of course the Patriots still have Legarrette Blount to put in in short yardage situations or if they just need to run the clock out. The Patriots were the 3rd worst rushing offense with 1,404 yards. New England is the only team you can make an exception for for not having a running game because their short passing game is their running game. The Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett & when he’s your 2nd TE you’re going to be pretty good.
The Patriots have a very good defense as well. Their D-Line is led by Rob Ninkovich & Jabaal Sheard. Ninkovich is suspended the first 4 games but the Patriots signed Chris Long from the Rams so he’ll start until Ninkovich comes back. The linebacker group is a great for the Patriots which consists of Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, & JonathanFreeny. Collins is one of my favorite LBs in the NFL because of his versatility. He can be a great pass rusher if needed & he’s able to cover guys step for step in the passing game.
The secondary is also very good for New England. The Patriots corners are Malcolm Butler & Logan Ryan while the safeties are Patrick Chung & Devin McCourty. Mostly everyone thought that Malcolm Butler was going to be a one hit wonder after his interception in Super Bowl 49 but Butler showed last year that he’s an up & coming corner in the NFL. On the other hand Logan Ryan had a great year in 2015 with 74 tackles & 4 INTs. Devin McCourty was always good for the Patriots but he became even better when the Patriots moved him to safety a few years ago. The Patriots in my opinion are by far the most complete team in the NFL & I think it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop them especially when Brady comes back.
New York Jets: 2015 Record: 10-6
2016 Projected Record: 10-6
Key Additions: Matt Forte, Ryan Clady, Darron Lee
Key Losses: Chris Ivory, Antonio Cromartie
The Jets finally ended their nightmare of maybe starting Geno Smith week 1 by resigning Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick had his best year in 2015 with 3,905 yards & 31 TDs. In my opinion the difference in wins between Geno Smith & Ryan Fitzpatrick is around 4-5. In Geno’s 3 year career he has more INTs (35) than TDs (27). That’s not good. With weapons like Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker I see Fitzpatrick having another good year.
The Jets lost Chris Ivory in the offseason but signed Matt Forte. Jets will be moving forward with the duo of Forte & Bilal Powell. Forte in 2015 rushed for less than 1,000 yards for just the 3rd time in his 8 year career. Forte has always been a great receiving back. Just 2 years ago Forte had 102 catches & 808 yards AS A RUNNING BACK. The duo of Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker was one of the best in the NFL last year. In 2015 Marshall had 109 catches for 1,502 yards & 14 TDs while Eric Decker had 80 catches for 1,027 yards & 12 TDs. I see another phenomenal year for the law firm of Marshall & Decker.
The Jets defensive line is pretty solid made up of their 1st round pick of 2015 in Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, & Sheldon Richardson. Richardson is suspended for the 1st game of the season but should return in week 2. The linebacking group for the Jets is “ok”. The Jets outside linebackers are Jordan Jenkins & Lorenzo Mauldin & neither of them have started a game in the NFL (Jenkins is a rookie). The inside linebacker group is led by a familiar name in David Harris. The Jets also drafted Darron Lee from Ohio State & are hoping he can make an impact this season.
The Jets secondary is still a great secondary. You’re always going to have a successful secondary when you have Darrelle Revis on your team but they also have Buster Skrine & Marcus Williams at CB. Williams had 6 INTs in 2015 with Revis getting 5 in 2015. The safeties for the Jets are Calvin Pryor & Marcus Gilchrist. In 2015 Pryor had 69 tackles & 2 INTs while Gilchrist had 82 tackles & 3 INTs. The Jets are a good team & if they wouldn’t have blown the game against the Bills late in the season last year they would have been in the playoffs but I see them making the playoffs this year.
Final Prediction: New England wins the division (WOW what a surprise) at 13-3 & the Jets also make the playoffs at 10-6.
Next article I will be beginning my previews of the NFC divisions starting with the NFC North.
WR Cole Beasley Signs Deal with Buffalo
In the NFL, free agency has been wild in 2019. A lot of big name players getting big contracts with new teams. Now, add another big name player to the list.
Down in Dallas, free agent wide receiver Cole Beasley has been trying to make an offer to Dallas to sign a multi-year contract for $20 million. Well, today, he accepted a deal with the AFC East Buffalo Bills.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the contract is for 4-year $29 million, $14.4 million guaranteed.
Cole Beasley, who is 29-years old grew up in Houston, Texas and went to high school in Little Elm, Texas. From 2008-2011, Beasley played Wide Receiver at SMU in Dallas. In 2012, Cole signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.
Here are Cole Beasley’s numbers during his time in Dallas:
- Caught 71 percent of the passes
- Targeted 449 times
- 319 passes caught
- 130 passes dropped
- 3,271 reception yards
- 23 Touchdowns
For many Cowboys fans, he will be missed on the field and the sidelines.
Bills Looking Into Disturbing Domestic Violence Allegations Against LeSean McCoy
The Buffalo Bills are aware of and looking into domestic violence allegations against running back LeSean McCoy, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
McCoy’s longtime girlfriend Delicia Cordon was shown bruised and bloody in an Instagram post made by a woman, who is a friend of Cordon’s, who accuses McCoy of “viciously” beating Cordon, his son and a dog.
You can see the full instagram post below:
@shadymccoy is THE DEVIL!!! YOU ARE AN ANIMAL!!!!!! We didn’t say anything about how you beat your dog “Henny” into kidney failure. Let’s not talk about all the times my best friend had to stop you from VICIOUSLY beating your son for small things like peeing in the bed. We kept quiet about your drug usage … all the ILLEGAL steroids and needles you were using, but we will not keep quiet about this!!!!!! I can’t believe you did this to my best friend!!!!! YOUR KARMA IS GOING TO BE SO REAL!!!!!! The world needs to know what type of animal you really are!!!!!!! This was just her yesterday on the left and now this morning this is her on the right!!!! #WomanBeater #AnimalAbuser #ChildAbuser @nfl @tmz_tv @buffalobills
All-Star or All Hype: A Josh Allen Breakdown
When recent mock drafts and power rankings were released by some of the most well-respected draftniks in the industry, Josh Allen’s name kept appearing early and often. In fact, ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked the Wyoming product first overall to the Cleveland Browns and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has him rated over fellow quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson.
The questions are why does Allen have all this hype surrounding him after a less than stellar college career and does the 21-year-old deserve this sort of praise?
Let’s talk about this hype train, which started as a well-oiled machine in 2016, spun off the tracks and managed to right itself but with half the cars missing. Prior to the 2017 season, fans and scouts alike were drooling over the potential of the 6’5, 235 pound prospect. They had every right to, as well. Allen was coming off a 36 touchdown season for the Cowboys, including seven on the ground and one as a receiver. A season like that, especially with the obvious physical ability he displayed, meant that things should only go up for Allen. That’s where the problems began to crop up.
Allen’s 2016 season showcased his potential, but many scouts wanted to see improved mechanics, ball placements, accuracy, better pocket awareness and decision making. When a quarterback only completes 56 percent of his passes and throws 15 interceptions, questions will need to be answered on the field. Some of the questions were answered, just not how many were expecting.
Statistically, the only improvement in Allen’s 2017 play was his interception numbers, which dropped from 15 to six. Allen’s statistical drop-off continued into his passing touchdowns, where he has 12 fewer than 2016 and his yards per attempt, which dropped nearly two yards.
The improvements many expected or hoped to see just never happened, but why was that the case? Some of the blame can be placed on the supporting cast at Wyoming, where Allen’s top receivers from 2017 only had a combined 32 catches between them prior to the start of the season, according to Sports Reference. The Cowboy’s running game was also non-existent, as Allen had as many touchdowns on the ground as the two halfbacks he shared the backfield with. With all of those deficiencies, an improvement on a very impressive 2016 should not have been expected, but Allen didn’t help his cause on the field either.
Wyoming’s first loss of the season came against Iowa, a tough matchup for any Mountain West team. Allen was matched up against another player that may go early in the draft, cornerback Joshua Jackson. The game plan was to spread the ball out against Iowa’s defense and attack them with bubble, flat, stick and hitch routes. Often, Allen was having major issues when his first read wasn’t open in this game and he succumbed the pressure the Hawkeyes brought on a consistent basis. Jackson baited him into an easy interception late in the game and he ended up with only 174 passing yards on 40 attempts.
The loss to Iowa served as a microcosm of the issues Allen’s game includes. Not only were his mechanics dreadful, even in a clean pocket, but it caused him to miss wide open targets and erase a handful of potential plays that would have put Wyoming back in the game.
Based on that performance alone, Allen could have fallen out of the first round all together, but he did redeem himself later in 2017.
New Mexico had a much harder time containing Allen than Iowa did, to the point that he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter in the blowout victory. On the first play from scrimmage, Allen threw a bomb down the sideline that was initially called a touchdown. The play came back, but it just showed how much arm talent the raw quarterback has when his mechanics aren’t wild.
That was the biggest take away from the New Mexico game; Allen can throw with proper mechanics but just doesn’t do it on a consistent basis. The ball came out of his hand very clean and he was able to hit deep passes down the field all game. Allen’s mobility was also on full display, even though he caused some of the pressure with a bad feel for the pocket.
The difference in quality his tape shows is a major reason on why opinions are so divided regarding his draft stock. 12 of Allen’s 16 touchdown passes came in four games last year, in the other seven he threw one or zero touchdown passes. There really was no in between in 2017, even in victories. In a win against Hawaii, who had the 114th ranked defense of 129 FBS teams, Allen only completed nine of his 19 pass attempts for fewer than 100 yards. Against Colorado State, who had the 97th ranked total defense in the country, he only completed ten of his 20 attempts for 138 yards and no scores.
A popular excuse for Allen’s lack of production was the lack of talent around him, and that is a very valid point. However, some of the games he was at his absolute worst in were against teams devoid of defensive talent. Outside of Iowa, the best overall defense he played against was Oregon, who had a similarly dominant performance against him. Their defense, which could be considered average since they ranked in the mid-40s, held him to a 37.5 percent completion rate and 64 passing yards.
The only game that Allen played well in against a top 50 defensive opponent was in Wyoming’s bowl game against Central Michigan. It was probably the only game that Allen looked like his 2016 counterpart, even though he still only threw for 154 yards and completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes. Allen’s three touchdown passes in the first quarter showed why teams may consider him a top quarterback prospect this year. The first, which was a dart in a tight window from 23 yards away, was a display of top tier arm strength. On the second touchdown pass, Allen avoided pressure and juked out a defender before throwing into another tight window. The third, which probably has teams the most excited, was a 45 yard score that travelled 55 yards in the air and hit his receiver in perfect stride.
Central Michigan answered the question as to why Allen has the hype, and the majority of his other games answer if he deserves it or not. The simple answer is probably not, but he will still get drafted very early anyway.
Quarterbacks that Allen apologists consistently compare him to are Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz. These are fair comparisons, as both of these NFL stars have similar physical traits and went to small colleges that faced an inferior level of competition. Let’s start with Roethlisberger, who would probably be the first overall pick if he were coming out of college this year. Ben started three seasons at Miami of Ohio, with his best numbers coming as a junior. Without throwing out a bunch of statistics, Allen was worse in every category. Specifically, Roethlisberger completed over 13 percent more of his passes than Allen and had 21 more touchdown passes in his junior year alone. Wentz, even though he was injured and played in four fewer games in his final year at North Dakota State, threw more touchdown passes, had a six percent higher completion rate and averaged a full yard per attempt more per pass.
Neither Roethlisberger nor Wentz were the first picks or even first quarterbacks selected in their respective draft classes. The thought of a quarterback like Roethlisberger falling all the way to 11th overall is ludicrous by today’s standards. Obviously, times have changed and quarterback evaluation has evolved in large part because of Roethlisberger, Wentz and former UCF Knight, Daunte Culpepper.
The scouting process, however, puts Josh Allen out of this category. With rough mechanics, poor ball placement, middling accuracy and a tendency to not step up in the pocket to deliver the football, Allen is a far inferior prospect to each of the quarterbacks mentioned. Now, this can change and he can definitely improve with proper coaching and the right teammates around him. There just seems to be a lack of acknowledgement regarding his major flaws from the draftnik community, including the aforementioned Mayock and Kiper. To place him over the polished Mayfield or the raw but even more talented Sam Darnold is a reckless projection of something that hasn’t been shown on the field at any point. The Senior Bowl was Allen’s opportunity to show it was more the fault of his teammates than his own for the lack of consistency, but he just reaffirmed the fact that he isn’t able to put it all together in practice or games.
Again, that is not to say Allen won’t surpass these other players at some point in his career, but nothing he has done indicates that their careers are trending in that direction. The lack of accuracy and mechanics alone could quickly put Allen in Paxton Lynch or Jake Locker territory, a monster but not a quarterback. To me, that shows that right now he is nothing but a hype train that is going to come crashing down at an NFL team’s expense.
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