With the Patriots losing Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season due to back surgery, are the Patriots no longer the favorites coming out of the AFC East? If so, will another team emerge as the top team in the conference?
Kyle Curry – If there is a team that can threaten the Patriots No. 1 spot at the top, it would be Miami. The Dolphins at this moment are the hottest team in their division. They have won six straight games against teams like the Steelers and Chargers. Miami only lost to New England earlier in the year by seven points and the Seahawks by two.
I think Miami is poised to take advantage of the unfortunate position the Pats are in with Gronk being out for a period of time. Their next two games are against the Ravens and Cardinals and then they’ll finish out the year playing division opponents Patriots, Jets, and Bills. If the Dolphins can go 3-2, with all three wins coming against their division rivals, it would put them in a fantastic position to take over their division.
The only situation in which they could make me look like a liar, is if their defense does not shape up. Ryan Tannehill, Jay Ajayi, and Jarvis Landry are all performing better than anticipated. Their defense is what could force them out of first place and potentially a playoff spot with them currently sitting in the final Wild Card spot.
Jr. Williams – Anyone who thinks lightly about the Patriots’ losing Gronkowski, and that this isn’t a tumultuous blow to the organizations goal at reaching the Super Bowl, is clearly delusional. Prior to injury Gronkowski was arguably the leagues best tight end this season and a huge reason the Patriots are leading the AFC east with a 9-2 record . Statistically speaking, Tom Brady is a more accurate quarterback when Gronk is healthy, and when Brady is without his star tight end, his numbers decline. The Patriots’ lose a target the size of Texas, however, I wouldn’t count this team out of a bar fight just yet.
Their stock has indeed dropped drastically and opens the door for the Oakland Raiders to clinch the division. January 2003 marks the last time the Oakland Raiders reached the Super Bowl, and I don’t think there’s any team in the AFC that can stop their momentum.
This is an unfortunate situation for Patriots fans. Can Bill Belichick rally the troops? That’s the million dollar question.
Kiersten Brown – Will losing Gronk effect the Patriots?? Yes, Gronk is no doubt one of the best tight ends in the NFL, and he was crucial to their success as a team. This could be a blessing for certain teams as two games behind the Patriots are the Dolphins. Can the Dolphins catch up? An uncertain answer considering their remaining schedule, but I’d say that the Patriots will continue to win without Gronk.
Tom Brady is an elite quarterback and can make plays happen. The Dolphins don’t have the key players required to catch up, and Tom Brady will continue to help lead this Patriots team to the playoffs. The loss of Gronk will negatively effect them of course, but its nothing they can’t handle. The Patriots are a team that know how to adjust accordingly as I continue to feel confident about them winning the Super Bowl.
NFL PREDICTIONS – WHICH TEAMS WILL CLINCH THEIR DIVISION?