Since 2010, the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins have appeared in the postseason a combined two times. The Patriots are left off that list because the dynamic duo of Belichick and Brady has made the playoffs every single year since 2010, showcasing their domination of the AFC East. This article shows what needs to happen for each of these teams to obtain a 16-0 regular season record (sorry Jets fans, this will be rough).
When Ryan Tannehill went down, the season looked like it was once again in shambles for the Dolphins as Matt Moore was next in line to take over as starting quarterback (I am sure Bud Dupree was excited about that). However, Miami’s knight in shining armour appeared out of nowhere with a cigarette in one hand and a football in the other. That man was Jay Cutler.
Many know that Jay Cutler had arguably his best year when Adam Gase was offensive coordinator for the Bears. Cutler posted 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while throwing for upwards of 3500 yards. Cutler now has possibly the best array of weapons he has ever had with Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Julius Thomas. Both Ajayi and Landry have both shown that they can be tremendous playmakers even with a below-average quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.
Defensively, the Dolphins need to get another good year from linebacker and former caveman Kiko Alonso. They also need stellar defensive line play from Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake who could both provide the team with at least 10 sacks this season. Cordrea Tankersley will be a perfect compliment to Maxwell and Howard and the defensive backfield will have three tremendous corners that can cover any receiver in the NFL.
The Dolphins will get two free wins by playing the Jets twice so they would already be only 14 games from reaching their goal. The rest of their schedule consists of very winnable games including home games against the Saints and Titans, both Buffalo games and a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. With a new sheriff in town at quarterback and an improving young core, the Dolphins have a shot at 16-0.
The Buffalo Bills look to be going through a huge overhaul of their roster as they enter their first season with new head coach Sean McDermott. The Bills also hired Brandon Beane to take over the role of general manager for the organization. This just sounds like a recipe for a 16-0 season.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has shown flashes that he can be a top-tier quarterback in the NFL and will have to take it to the next level during the 2017-2018 season. What will help Tyrod is running back LeSean McCoy who has shown in both Philadelphia and now Buffalo that he is one of the best running backs in the league and there seems to be no signs of him burning out just yet. On top of LeSean McCoy winning the rushing title, the Bills will need a big year from rookie receiver Zay Jones who will be starting on the outside opposite of the newly acquired Jordan Matthews.
The defense is still very talented up front with Shaq Lawson, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, and Jerry Hughes. This is also a defense that has shown they can be one of the league’s best as they ranked seventh in takeaways for the 2016 season. The Bills will also need Tre’Davious White to have a defensive rookie of the year campaign as he is currently slotted to start outside at corner.
The Bills may be in the middle of a rebuild or tank which takes time in the NFL, but with great production from their incoming draft class the Bills could be an AFC standout at 16-0.
New York Jets
The Jets need to do a ton of praying this season if they want to have any shot of going 16-0. This is the exact reason that General Manager Mike Maccagnan needs to get on the phone and call the St. Lucie Mets to speak to future hall of fame quarterback Tim Tebow. If Tebow was on the Jets, every game would be sold out at MetLife stadium and that would be a huge advantage for the Jets when opposing teams come to play them. Tebow also is probably still a better quarterback than Hackenberg, McCown and Petty combined which really says something considering Tebow has not played a down since 2015 (and it was the preseason).
Maccagnan’s next phone call needs to be directed to the home of LaDainian Tomlinson who will come out of retirement and set a new record for touchdowns in a season with 30. The last phone call that Maccagnan has to make is to owner Woody Johnson asking him for an enormous raise because he was somehow able to turn this dumpster fire that is the New York Jets into the best team in the league.
Defensively the Jets actually are building a pretty good young core. Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams are both players who have very high potentials and could two of the better safeties in the league at the conclusion of the season. Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson are two physical defensive tackles that can provide pass rush and solid gap responsibility in the run game.
Jets fans, stop refreshing your twitter feed for 2018 mock drafts and get to know the team that will go 16-0.
New England Patriots
All right enough joking around, it is time to get serious here with a team that has the best chance to go undefeated in the league. Any year that the Patriots have Tom Brady they are not only projected to win the Super Bowl, but they are often projected to go 16-0. Brady has done it before back in 2007 with the addition of Randy Moss which made that offense nearly unstoppable. The Patriots made a similarly big move by adding wide receiver Brandin Cooks to an offensive arsenal already loaded with an immense amount of weapons.
Brady has seen it all throughout his 15 years as quarterback of the New England Patriots, but the only thing that is just out of his grasp is not a 16-0 season, but a 19-0 season. This is the best, and quite possibly the last, chance that Brady could get to go 19-0 and he knows that. Cooks, Gronkowski, Hogan, Lewis, White, Mitchell, Burkhead, Gillislee, Allen, Dorsett and Amendola are all simply toys in the toybox for Brady that he cannot wait to play with.
The defense for New England is also greatly improved with the addition of lockdown corner Stephon Gilmore who will now play alongside former super bowl hero Malcolm Butler. The linebacking core is still strong with Dont’a Hightower calling the shots on defense. The Patriots also have one of the most consistent safeties in the NFL with Devin McCourty, who is returning for another season as the backbone of the defense.
It is hard to go 16-0 in the National Football League, but this Patriots roster is head and shoulders above the rest of the league and will easily make their way to perfection.