Ah, the NFC East – also known as the “uncontested lay-up” division for all pundits.
Patriots. As long time readers know (and Red hopes they are both awake and not hungover this morning), this is where Red always writes that it is “cowardly and spineless to pick the Patriots year after year” and then confirms his cowardice and utter lack of vertebral support by picking the Patriots anyway. In fairness to Red, look at the rest of this division – details to follow below. Red has finally come to terms with the fact that Brady and Bellicheat long ago made a pact with the Dark Lord and while their souls may be damned for all eternity at least they will both end up in the Hall of Fame. Realistically, Red thinks this may be the season where Tom Brady finally looks tired and old and Bellicheat gets his playbook stolen by Russian hackers. That coupled with a brutal stretch after the Week 9 bye; from November 12 to December 17 the Pats play 5 of 6 games on the road against real competition (Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins and Stealers). Oh, for crying out loud. Quit kidding yourself Red, you know you have no balls when it comes to this division. Save your foolishness for the NFC West. Who on the schedule can beat the Pats even on a bad day? Maybe the Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Falcons and Stealers? Certainly not the Texans as long as Tom Brady is in the house. New England breezes to another divisional crown with a 12-4 record. Red really hates himself today.
Bills. The Bills have not made the playoffs in 17 years – the longest active post-season drought in the NFL (yes – worse than Cleveland even). Red sees no reason that streak ends anytime soon. Yes, the inevitably flawed “Rex Ryan as a head coach” experiment ended up with broken glass on the floor and poisonous gasses filling the laboratory/locker room. Trump supporter Ryan failed in his promise to make Bills’ fans “tired of winning.” New coach Sean McDermott will at least not be flaunting absurd predictions of success. Rather, the Bills seem to be building an offense suited to the limited repertoire of QB Tyrod Taylor. Coordinator Rick Dennison is implementing a version of the vaunted “West Coast Offense” with short routes mixed with long bombs and quick decisions. If Sammy Watkins can stay on the field, he leads a corps of competent wideouts. And then there is the redoubtable LeSean McCoy. Red isn’t about to guess what to make of his 2017 season. On the defensive side, out is the Ryan family’s complicated 3-4 scheme and back in with a traditional 4-3. The Bills seem headed in the right direction after years of aimless wandering, but that probably only translates to a less than awful season. Orchard Park is reasonably happy with an 8-8 campaign.
Dolphins. The Dolphins at least went 10-6 and made the playoffs last year. But against the Pats, they were behind 31-3 in week 3 before rallying to lose by only 7 and then were blown out 35-14 in week 17. In the playoffs the Stealers pushed them aside like a Latvian President and that was it for the aquatic mammals. The Dolphins cupboard is not bare with up and coming talent like Jay Ajayi and others. But when your season depends on Jay Cutler . . . [insert bad thing happening here]. Miami regresses to 7-9.
Jets. The Jets have been a reality TV show for the last several seasons – and a really bad reality TV show at that. Of course, when the White House is pretty much a reality TV show, maybe Red is on the wrong side of this issue. Probably not, but Red is an open-minded sort of guy. But the Jets! What is going on with this franchise? When Red went to the Jets official website – they did not have a depth chart posted! Maybe when your choices for starting quarterback include the appropriately named Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty it’s just as well to keep everyone in the dark. What is going on is a massive roster dump to get the first draft pick next season – thought to be USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Every season Red’s fondest wish is for a 6-10 team to make the playoffs. His runner-up wish is for a team to go winless. The Jets love Red this season – 0-16 Baby!