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Verdicts on Buffalo, Miami, New England and NY Jets

Bills unlikely to make another playoff charge

Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy
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Buffalo Bills

2017 9-7 Coach Sean McDermott
QB Nathan Peterman RB LeSean McCoy
Major Ins DT Star Lotulelei, CB Vontae Davis
Major Outs G Richie Incognito, QB Tyrod Taylor
Top draft picks QB Josh Allen (first round), LB Tremaine Edmunds (first round)

Verdict
The Bills ended the league's longest stretch without a playoff appearance last season but another run to the post-season appears unlikely. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was traded away and raw rookie Josh Allen is set to be bloodied earlier than anticipated after stop-gap AJ McCarron broke his collarbone in pre-season.

It could be a baptism of fire in a team with few receiving options and a weak offensive line.

Running back LeSean McCoy will again have to shoulder the burden. Their defence against the run has improved with the signing of Star Lotulelei, but matching last season's 9-7 record looks to be a big ask.


Miami Dolphins

2017 6-10 Coach Adam Gase
QB Ryan Tannehill RB Frank Gore
Major Ins WR Danny Amendola, DE Robert Quinn
Major Outs DT Ndamukong Suh, C Mike Pouncey
Top draft picks S Minkah Fitzpatrick (1), TE Mike Gesicki (2)

Verdict
The Dolphins will have quarterback Ryan Tannehill available after injury and New England's Danny Amendola looks an interesting addition at wide receiver following the departure of Jarvis Landry.

Veteran running back Frank Gore is a proven performer but may not be as dynamic as we have seen him in the past and this is a team who have undergone a lot of changes.

It may take them a while to knit it all together but at least they will not have to play for 15 successive weeks like they did last year. There is definitely scope for some improvement but winning the division is probably beyond them.


New England Patriots

2017 13-3 Coach Bill Belichick
QB Tom Brady RB Jeremy Hill
Major Ins RB Jeremy Hill, DE Adrian Clayborn
Major Outs OT Nate Solder, WR Brandin Cooks
Top draft picks OT Isaiah Wynn (1), RB Sony Michel (1)

Verdict
The Patriots looked a tired outfit in the Super Bowl and the departure of both their offensive and defensive co-ordinators suggests it will be a year of change.

Receiver Julian Edelman is suspended for four games and the departure of Nate Solder is a blow for the offensive line, but they should still have too much for a weak division that they have dominated.

Star quarterback Tom Brady is now in his 40s and it was a risk trading back-up Jimmy Garoppolo. If Brady stays fit, the Pats should have few problems but tougher tests are set to emerge down the line.


New York Jets

2017 5-11 Coach Todd Bowles
QB Sam Darnold RB Isaiah Crowell
Major Ins WR Terrelle Pryor, CB Trumaine Johnson
Major Outs DE Muhammad Wilkerson, LB Demario Davis
Top draft picks QB Sam Darnold (1), DT Nathan Shepherd (3)

Verdict
Rookie Sam Darnold is set to start at quarterback and that is news which long-suffering Jets fans will surely welcome. However, he could be in for a difficult start as a shaky offensive line has to give him the chance to improve on last year's poor record.

The rushing and receiving options are not great for a team who have managed to win just five games in each of the last two seasons.

Their defence is not the force it was and Darnold may have to prove a revelation if the Jets are even to eclipse their recent mediocre win totals. 


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Raw rookie Josh Allen is set to be bloodied earlier than anticipated after stop-gap AJ McCarron broke his collarbone in pre-season
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