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Sports News:
Might be too soon to count out Belichick, Pats in AFC East

NEW YORK (AP) – It’s tempting to decide towards the New England Patriots this yr. It actually is.

The up-and-coming Buffalo Bills have emerged as a well-liked decide to dethrone Bill Belichick’s bunch atop the AFC East. And, on paper, it actually appears cheap.

Tom Brady is gone – and so is among the mystique that has surrounded the Patriots for a lot of the final twenty years.

Just don’t strive promoting any of that changing-of-the-guard stuff to Belichick.

“It’s professional football,” the Patriots coach stated. “It’s the National Football League. Every team has changes every year. We have them, so does everybody else, and I think right now, everybody’s focused on this year. We’re looking ahead. We’re not looking backwards at anything.”

In different phrases, Brady or no Brady, it’s all simply discuss till another person really wins the division.

New England has gained the AFC East in 17 of the previous 19 years, together with the final 11. Bills common supervisor Brandon Beane insisted in April that the Patriots stay the staff to beat in the division.

And that is still true. Especially as a result of Belichick remains to be working issues in Foxborough, whether or not it’s Cam Newton, Jarett Stidham or Brian Hoyer main the offense.

QUARTERBACK CAM

Belichick has but to resolve on a starter for the Patriots’ Week 1 recreation towards Miami, however most imagine it’ll be Newton. And if not immediately, then ultimately.

Newton was signed as a free agent in July after he was launched by Carolina. Injuries shortened the final two seasons for the 2015 NFL MVP, and now he finds himself in New England wanting to resuscitate his profession – and substitute a quarterback who led the franchise to six Super Bowl victories.

The 31-year-old Newton feels no stress.

“I mean, it’s a breath of fresh air, to be honest with you,” Newton stated. “It’s a challenge that I had to accept each and every day, but no challenge is ever going to be greater than the personal challenge that I challenge myself personally. Yeah, we all know what that was and what it is and it needs no mention. But yet at the same time, I think I’ve got my hands full with trying to learn as much as I can in a short period of time, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

ALL IN ON ALLEN

Buffalo has cause to really feel a bit assured after making it to the playoffs for the second time in three years. The Bills misplaced to Houston in the wild-card spherical, however it offered them a blueprint for fulfillment.

“I think most importantly, having the home playoff game, I think that’s something that we need,” quarterback Josh Allen stated. “That comes with winning the division.”

Allen’s progress in his third season stays the focus for Buffalo. He’s an thrilling playmaker together with his cannon arm and skill to make issues occur together with his legs. But he can be frustratingly inconsistent, one thing coach Sean McDermott thinks will enhance.

“I’ve been around some quarterbacks who started off very much like Josh has and have developed and played at a high level in Donovan McNabb and Cam Newton,” McDermott stated. “And, so, that takes time. In particular at the quarterback position, there’s a lot to balance. But we’re encouraged by Josh’s development.”

SAM THE MAN?

The Jets are going through the same scenario because the Bills in that they want their quarterback to present he can lead the franchise for years to come.

Sam Darnold handled mononucleosis initially of final season and was inconsistent behind a shoddy offensive line and up-and-down play calling by coach Adam Gase. The third-year quarterback confirmed actual indicators of enchancment down the stretch, although, and helped New York flip a 1-7 begin to a 7-9 end. Darnold has taken on a a lot greater management position this summer time and is impressing his teammates.

“As a leader, he’s one of the best,” stated middle Connor McGovern, in his first season with the Jets and the chief of a revamped O-line. “I feel like he’s a veteran because he plays with confidence, he knows what to do and he’s not out there second-guessing himself. If I wouldn’t have known he’s 23 years old. He’s playing like a true vet right now.”

SOUTH BEACH SHUFFLE

The Dolphins have a lot of new faces, loading up with 11 draft picks – together with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – and including a number of different gamers comparable to cornerback Byron Jones, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and working backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida.

Despite the thrill over Tagovailoa, it seems veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will begin the season beneath middle whereas the rookie continues to rise up to pace after a not-so-great camp. The offensive line can also be an element, as three rookies – first-round decide Austin Jackson at left sort out, second-rounder Robert Hunt at proper sort out, and fourth-rounder Solomon Kindley at proper guard – might begin.

“We have to get all three of them up to speed pretty quickly to do that,” coach Brian Flores stated. “But look, if they’re (among) the five most talented players (on the line) and that gives us to have some success, then we would have to do that.”

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Patriots, Bills, Jets, Dolphins.

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AP Sports Writers Kyle Hightower, John Wawrow and Steven Wine contributed.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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