In this series of articles here on the Last Word On Sports, we will be breaking down each NFL division starting every Monday, preparing for the upcoming 2018 NFL Season. We will highlight strengths and weaknesses of each team and make our best analysis and predictions for this upcoming season. Let’s continue with the AFC East Breakdown.
Buffalo Bills Prediction: 9-7
This was the first year of a new regime led by General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott. McDermott had changed the culture to a more focused and disciplined attitude. As a result, the Bills made the playoffs for the first time since 1999, where they lost to the Tennessee Titans in the Music City Miracle. It had been the longest current playoff drought. They lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round, 10-3.
LeSean McCoy had another spectacular season as he finished fourth in the league in rushing yards and made his sixth Pro Bowl appearance of his career. He ran for 1,138 yards on 287 carries and six touchdowns as he was the focal point of their offense.
On defense, cornerback Tre’Davious White had a superb rookie campaign. He had 69 total tackles, 18 pass deflections, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. White has emerged as the top player of Buffalo’s secondary.
Despite making the postseason, their playoff defeat exposed how much they need to improve the roster. They were 26th ranked in total defense and 29th in offense. Offensively, they didn’t have a lot of big plays due to the lack of skill players outside of McCoy. Tyrod Taylor and Nathan Peterman showed the organization that they weren’t franchise quarterbacks.
Furthermore, they drafted Josh Allen out of Wyoming to eventually be their franchise QB and signed A.J. McCarron in free agency to be a stop gap for Allen. Buffalo added Vontae Davis, Star Lotulelei, Trent Murphy and Rafael Bush to help out their defense. In addition, Russell Bodine and Marshall Newhouse signed with the club to fix the offensive line after Richie Incognito retired and Cordy Glenn being traded to the Bengals.
Team MVP: LeSean McCoy
I picked LeSean McCoy to be the team’s MVP because he would be relied on heavily to carry the offense. There’s no question that he’s a top five running back in the NFL. There will be times where they will struggle to score points because of the unproven skill players on that side of the ball. He will help out ease the load for A.J. McCarron and/or Josh Allen to make their lives easier. They say that a QB’s best friend is a running game. I project McCoy to have at least 300 carries, 1300 yards on the ground and will factor in heavily in the passing game.
Top Rookie: Tremaine Edmunds
The six foot five, 253 pound middle linebacker out of Virginia Tech was drafted to lead the defense. He’s a versatile player that has speed, size and explosiveness that can start right way to fill in the middle. Edmunds has the ability to be disruptive in all phases. At the scouting combine, he ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash.
Reason for record prediction
Therefore, I believe that they’ll have the same record as last year but they’ll miss the playoffs. The reason is because they will face AFC teams like the Ravens, Chargers, Titans, Texans, Jaguars and the Patriots twice that have gotten better. The only winnable games they have are the Bears and the Jets twice. The one thing about Sean McDermott’s squad is that they’ll be physical and well-coached.
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