1. New England Patriots
Even with Tom Brady out the first 4 games, winning 12 games still seems doable for them.
2. New York Jets
Bringing in Matt Forte means the Jets offense have another weapon in the passing attack.
3. Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor is being paid like a franchise QB, but is there enough around him to get Buffalo into the playoffs?
4. Miami Dolphins
Adam Gase has been hired to turn around this once proud franchise’s fortunes.
Head Coach: Bill Belichick
Key Position: Quarterback
Even without Tom Brady for the first four games of the season, the Patriots are still contenders for the Super Bowl. This will be an interesting test for backup Jimmy Garoppolo and whether he is the heir apparent for them. If New England happens to be 3-1 or 4-0, then the future will be even brighter for this franchise.
Key Acquisitions: TE Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears), G Jonathan Cooper (Arizona Cardinals), WR Chris Hogan (Buffalo Bills), DE Chris Long (Los Angeles Rams), LB Shea McClellin (Chicago Bears), LB Barkevious Mingo (Cleveland Browns)
Key Rookies: CB Cyrus Jones
Head Coach: Todd Bowles
Key Position: Quarterback
It was a long drawn out process to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now that he has been paid, the focus will be on whether he can repeat his 3,905 yard – 31 touchdown 2015 season. If he can come close to that, then the Jets will be knocking on the door of a Wild Card berth.
Key Acquisitions: T Ryan Clady (Denver Broncos), RB Matt Forte (Chicago Bears), DT Steve McLendon (Pittsburgh Steelers), RB Khiry Robinson (New Orleans Saints)
Key Rookies: LB Darron Lee, LB Jordan Jenkins
Head Coach: Rex Ryan
Key Position: Pass Rush
For a Rex Ryan defense this Bills team was pretty abysmal at rushing the quarterback. Drafting Shaq Lawson was a good start, but Jerry Hughes is not going to strike fear on the other side. Someone will need to step up and improve on their 21 sack total from a year ago.
Key Acquisitions: RB Reggie Bush (San Francisco 49ers)
Key Rookies: DE/LB Shaq Lawson, LB Reggie Ragland, DT Adolphus Washington
Head Coach: Adam Gase (Chicago Bears)
Key Position: Wide Receiver
Jarvis Landry is a legitimate number one receiver. The rest of the cast, however is going to be closely scrutinized. Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Jordan Cameron all have to be better and will be counted on to improve a stagnant passing attack.
Key Acquisitions: LB Kiko Alonso (Philadelphia Eagles), G/T Jermon Bushrod (Chicago Bears), RB Arian Foster (Houston Texans), CB Byron Maxwell (Philadelphia Eagles), DE Mario Williams (Buffalo Bills), S Isa Abdul-Quddus (Detroit Lions)
Key Rookies: G/T Laremy Tunsil, CB Xavien Howard