After taking an early exit in a week one game against the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is done for the season.
He will require season ending knee surgery on his left leg. Brady left the game in the first quarter after being sacked and hit on the leg by Chiefs’ Safety Bernard Pollard. Now that Brady is done for the season what does this mean for the Patriots? How will this affect the AFC East and how will this affect the rest of the AFC?
Without Brady the Patriots offense will struggle and the same goes for their defense. Last season the Patriots offense was second in the league in time of possession, averaging over 32 minutes per game. It is hard to imagine that Matt Cassel will do what the Patriots coaching staff asked of Brady; manage the game and keep the ball in the Patriots hands.
The Patriots will surely miss Brady’s presence on the field. What Brady brings to the table is almost impossible to replace, he is arguably the fastest thinking quarterback in the NFL and possibly the coolest in the pocket. If the Patriots offense is not capable of holding onto the ball for at least 31 minutes, they will be asking their defense to do too much.
Take into consideration that the Patriots defense is not as dominant as it was in previous seasons: why is that you ask, because in certain positions they are either inexperienced, past their prime or not talented enough.
If last year’s Patriots had a weakness, it was definitely their inside linebackers and their secondary, and to be honest it did not get any better during the offseason. This season their starting inside linebackers is Jerod Mayo, a rookie, and Tedy Bruschi, who is another year older and a half step slower.
As for their secondary, there is no way that they can lose their starting cornerbacks, Asante Samuel and Randall Gay, and expect to bounce back quickly. Neither Ellis Hobbs nor Lewis Sanders can replace the leadership and skill that both Samuel and Gay brought to that defense. My guess is the more time this inexperienced and not so skilled secondary, not including Rodney Harrison, spends on the field the more they will struggle and the worst off the Patriots will be.
So what can you expect to happen to the rest of the AFC East?
Let’s be honest, if the Patriots cannot win the division it will either be the Buffalo Bills or the New York Jets, sorry Dolphins fans you will have to sit this one out.
I know that the Jets have a lot of hype this year, but they are definitely overrated, their defense is questionable and I am not sure how Kris Jenkins will do at the nose tackle position.
When looking at the Bills, I would have to say that this is a team that is ready to win. I know that they have a younger starting quarterback in Trent Edwards, but he has a better supporting cast and an even better defense to back him up. So when it is all said and done, expect the Bills to end up as the AFC East champions.
When it was announced that Brady was done for the season, every team blew a sigh of relief to see one of the NFL’s most dangerous quarterbacks done for the season. Brady’s injury will make the AFC a little easier for teams like the San Diego Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars to win a conference championship. But it is amazing that one player can have that much of an impact on the NFL.