Heller: AFC East Answers to my Preseason Series “3 Burning Questions”

With the regular season over, here are the answers to my three burning questions from before the season.

Miami Dolphins

Can Kenyan Drake be the back? Apparently, yes he can, just with a team other than the Dolphins. After he was sent to the Cardinals, he led them in rushing for the season. 

Are Rosen and Fitzpatrick the answer? The record doesn’t reflect it with only a handful of victories, but the Dolphins were in almost every game, thanks in large part to the magic that is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even if you’re not a fan of this team, you have to respect him and his will to win at all costs. This showed in his clutch throws, but also in the fact that he was the team’s leading rusher. 

Will the veteran receivers help the signal-caller? DeVante Parker had a breakout season after Kenny Stills was traded to Houston. As the season wore on, just about every highlight featured Fitzpatrick, Parker, or both. 

Buffalo Bills

Will Josh Allen show improvement? The answer is an overwhelming yes. After all, his team made it to January. Other than the Wild Card loss to the Texans, the only real blemish is two losses to New England, although they had a chance to win both of those games.

Running back by committee? Rookie third-round pick Devin Singletary had a good first season. It helped that he had a mentor in veteran Frank Gore, who himself had a solid season. 

Can this defense keep them in games? Yes, they can … especially in the games where Allen struggled or got out to a slow start. They did their part to keep the game from getting out of hand.

New York Jets

Is that Le’Veon Bell? After sitting out all of last season, Bell seemed to get better as the season wore on. The last month of the season, he looked like the running back the Jets were hoping that were getting. 

Will Sam Darnold have a sophomore slump? Darnold missed time with mononucleosis which impacted and doomed this season when it was just starting. Minus the Patriots game, he played very well, much like he did a season ago.

How will new Jets head coach Adam Gase handle the New York area media? As is the norm in New York, the fans and media were calling for his job just weeks into the season. I think Gase weathered the storm, and next year should be better for the Jets. 

New England Patriots

Will Father Time ever catch up to Tom Brady? At times, it did look like he lost it just a bit. But the injury-plagued and patched-together receiving core can be blamed more than the quarterback. 

How much will Rob Gronkowski be missed? The murmurs of him coming out of retirement were music to fans’ ears, but I think they blared even more in Brady’s. Without him, the offense looked out of sync.

Will Josh Gordon be a part of this team for the entire season? This is not surprising to many, but the answer is no. He showed flashes in the first few games to be a viable counterpart to Julian Edelman. However, he was sidelined with an injury and eventually waived. The Seahawks have him a shot, but just as he was learning the offense, news broke that Gordon once again was getting an indefinite suspension from the NFL.

While I didn’t see much standing in the way of another New England division title, I didn’t see the Bills being the second-best team in the division, either. Now, all four AFC East teams are watching the playoffs from their couches.

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