Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

Pathetic AFC East continues its quest to hand Patriots division before season begins

Alex Reimer
August 28, 2017 - 1:32 pm

The Patriots experienced some rare bad luck last weekend, with Julian Edelman going down for the season with a torn ACL. But the rest of the moribund AFC East can’t capitalize. Instead, the Patriots’ competition is continuing its quest to hand over the division before Week 1 even begins.  

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor left Saturday’s preseason loss with a concussion, putting his status for Week 1 in doubt. Backup quarterback T.J. Yates was placed in concussion protocol, too, which means rookie Nathan Peterman is currently the only healthy QB on the roster. 

While it’s unlikely that Taylor’s concussion will sideline him for a prolonged duration of time, it will be an issue the Bills will have to monitor all season long. Taylor, 28, is already dealing with a depleted supporting cast, as the Bills traded No. 1 receiver Sammy Watkins to the Rams earlier this month. Veteran wideout Anquan Boldin announced his retirement last week as well.

The Dolphins are poised to be the Patriots’ most ardent challengers, but they recently placed quarterback Ryan Tannehill on injured reserve after he underwent reconstructive knee surgery. Unlikely replacement Jay Cutler says he feels “really good” heading into the season; however, he’s only participated in 19 plays this preseason. The 34-year-old Cutler only played in five games last season with the Bears, throwing for four touchdowns and five interceptions. He missed time with right thumb and labrum injuries.

There’s been some speculation the Dolphins will trade Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who’s emerged as one of the best slot receivers in football. Head coach Adam Gase rebuffed those rumors Monday, saying there’s “no chance” the explosive wideout will be traded. Still, with the season less than two weeks ago, the Dolphins offense is an uncertainty. 

The Jets, of course, aren’t even pretending to contend this season. They appear ready to hand the starting job to veteran journeyman Josh McCown, with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg behind him. Petty, who suffered two shoulder injuries last season, tore his MCL in the Jets’ preseason defeat Saturday. The Jets have already been affected by injuries this training camp, with receiver Quincy Enunwa getting placed on injured reserve a couple of weeks ago.

Edelman’s absence leaves the Patriots with a big hole in their offense. But given the pathetic state of the division, it seems as if they’ll have at least six preseason-type games on their schedule this season to figure everything out.