Tag: bills

The biggest NFL storylines as we approach the regular season

The 2015 regular season is just days away. What are the biggest NFL storylines as we gear up for the Thursday Night Football opener between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers?

As the last week of the preseason is in the books and 53-man rosters are starting to take form, most teams won’t risk putting their starters on the field this week and it’ll be more about the back half of each roster.

The Buffalo Bills released Fred Jackson, the guy with the third-most rushing yards ever for the franchise. Even though he was the league’s oldest running back at 34, it still comes as somewhat as a surprise given how much Rex Ryan has said he wanted to run the ball this season. If LeSean Mccoy misses the start of the year as Buffalo fears he might, Boobie Dixon would be in line for the bulk of the carries. Jackson really must have lost a few steps, if there wasn’t enough touches to go around in the run-heavy offense.

Jackson already visited Seattle but has not signed as of now. Speaking of the Seahawks, they’re waiting to figure out what to do with Kam Chancellor’s holdout before they making any more signings. Their backup running back, Robert Turbin, is set to miss a lot of time this season with an ankle injury, so there is a need for Jackson. Marshawn Lynch also reportedly pushed for them to sign him, knowing him from their time on the Bills. The Bills also have their starting QB in Tyrod Taylor, expect him to use his legs a whole lot.

via CBSSports.com

via CBSSports.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ prized free agent acquisition Julius Thomas needs surgery on a finger he broke in the opening preseason game. He hopes to be back by Weel 4 but the Jaguars offense shouldn’t suffer too much as long as tight ends Mercedes Lewis and Clay Harbor continue their positive momentum’s into the regular season.

Yes, Tom Brady’s suspension was lifted by the courts, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. This case was no different then when Goodell was overruled in the New Orleans Saints bounty gate case or even Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension. What this should not do is influence every other suspended player to appeal in court as well. Greg Hardy is mulling it over but domestic violence and DeflateGate aren’t even in the same ball park.

Good news in Green Bay! Randall Cobb is set to make the season opener after getting hurt last week in preseason action. Lining up across from him at receiver looks like it will be Davante Adams, who has a giant chance with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Of course there’s going to be a drop off with him and Nelson, but Adams is set for a breakout year.

via KCCheifs.com

via KCChiefs.com

The AFC West has a chance to be one of the most surprising divisions this season. I think the Denver Broncos will take a small step back this season. Everyone is a year older and their running game won’t see the same success as last season. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers each had more productive off seasons. San Diego hasn’t had a steady running game in the last few years, so if Melvin Gordon can kick start that, their offense will stop being so one-dimensional. The Chiefs kept everyone on their defense and got Eric Berry back. If Jeremy Maclin can open up the offense they will exceed expectations. The Raiders might pull off a couple upsets too with new head coach Jack Del Rio. Maybe. Possibly.

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Is Rex Ryan going to put the Buffalo Bills over the top?

It didn’t take Rex Ryan long to earn a second shot at a head coaching job. He didn’t even have to leave his division. Some of the first words as Buffalo Bills coach were that his team was going to be a “bully”.

It’s pretty clear at this point that he is trying to replicate the success he had early in New York, with an all-world defense and a giant running game. It’s also becoming more clear that Rex is set on taking chances on guys that don’t have the best past. He gave a second, or even third chance to multiple players. He understands that it’s not often that a coach gets scooped up by a division rival as fast as he was.

Moves like the ones he’s making does raise question marks. Just check out this Buffalo cartoonist’s rendering of the Bills offseason.

 

While that drawing is a little over the top, the moves the Bills made could pan out for them in very big ways. Enter possibly the most controversial player they brought in, Richie Incognito. The troubled guard is filling a giant hole for them on the offensive line and Ryan already praised him multiple times throughout camp, saying he may be their toughest lineman.

via rantsports.com

via rantsports.com

Incognito’s been out of the league since 2013 because of the Miami Dolphin bullying scandal. Now he’s been picked up by a division rival and if any coach can create an environment for him to excel in, it might be Rex Ryan. Incognito will be a vital part of an offensive line thats going to need to make some space for LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson.

Percy Harvin was traded from Seattle after allegedly being a locker room problem and fighting with a few of his teammates. He’s not in line to be a starter and will take up his usual gadget role in the offense. Ryan obviously didn’t have any problems with him in New York last season, and his signing should open up a crowded ground and pound offense. For a team with a viable threat at quarterback, Harvin can create in a variety of different ways. Still, we’ll see what happens off the field with him.

The entire team is filled with players on second chances. Even second-round draft pick Ron Darby and fifth-round pick Karlos Williams had major red flags coming out of college. Still, Ryan and the Bills took a chance on him, figuring the risk was worth the reward. Their most recent acquisition may have been the one that turned the most heads.

nfl_g_enemkpali01jr_C_600x400

(via ESPN.com)

They signed the now-famous IK Enemkpali, just a couple of days after breaking Geno Smith’s jaw. Like Harvin, Ryan must of liked him enough in New York to sign him after an incident like that. Rex even joked about it during a speech before a joint practice with the Browns.

“We claimed IK Enemkpali,” Ryan said to the Bills in a statement, ” I wouldn’t bring him here if I didn’t think he could really come in and fit in with us. I need your help to welcome him to the team like he’s any other player.”

The linebacker is the type of player to fit in with the team they have been building. Talented and ready for a second chance. He may not factor in a whole lot on an already stacked defense, but the singing epitomizes what Ryan is trying to do.

Maybe the cartoon rendering is so far off after all. Their offensive line coach, Aaron Kromer is suspended for the first six games of the season, for allegedly punching a teenager in the face over a beach chair.

via bleacherrepport.com

via bleacherrepport.com

If all these moves work out, Ryan may have his most talented team yet. The defensive line is better on paper than any of the years with the Jets and with McCoy and Watkins the offense has two of the leagues premiere players at their positions.

If Ryan got Mark Sanchez to the AFC title game, it will be as big as a test getting either Tyrod Taylor or Matt Cassel into the playoffs. E.J. Manuel is the only quarterback that Rex didn’t bring in himself and his currently third on the depth chart. It’s going to come down to Cassel or Taylor. They do have the pieces around them, and if Rex stays true to what he said earlier, they could run the ball around 40 to 45 times per game.

And that may be enough to be a better version of his early Jets and contending with New England for the division is very possible.

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4 NFL Rookies to Watch for Fantasy Football

The NFL draft was just a week ago, but the hype around some of the newly drafted players is quickly rising.

This season, more than 14 million Americans tuned in to watch the annual football draft, and for good reason.

Depth wise, this past draft was one of the best in recent memory, and many of the players will be immediate starters.

Every NFL season, there is always a group of new players that surprises everyone. As a fantasy team owner, it is your responsibility to stay on your toes and keep up with trending players.

Let’s take a look at the players that you should keep an eye on for this fantasy football season.

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The AFC East is the Patriots to lose. Again.

afc-east-preview-new-england-patriots-miami-dolphins

The once mighty AFC East has really fallen off.  Even the perennial Patriots aren’t quite the team they used to be, and I’m guessing only the division winner gets to the postseason this year.

Predicted Finish:

New England Patriots (11-5) (2nd seed; AFC Championship game)

Miami Dolphins (7-9)

Buffalo Bills (6-10)

NY Jets (5-11)

(more…)

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