The Atlanta Falcons get the AFC East this year, which means two semi-challenging games, one joke of a game, and one sure-to-be difficult Super Bowl rematch. You would hope to get at least two wins out of that stretch, if not three, but the Bills and Dolphins didn’t figure to be easy.
That has changed somewhat. Miami’s suffered a rash of unfortunate injuries, losing franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the year, and now Buffalo’s gone and traded away arguably two of its most talented players away to the Eagles and Rams. That may increase the overall strength of the NFC, but it’s going to make Week 4 an easier contest.
Watkins is a genuine talent who has struggled to stay healthy, playing in just 37 games over three seasons. He’s also put up 153 receptions, 2,459 yards, and 17 touchdowns over that span, and is just 24 years old this year. I don’t know if his career with the Rams will pan out the way Los Angeles is hoping, but for the cost of draft picks, they may have gotten an elite receiver. Buffalo, which does have some intriguing pieces on offense, lost inarguably its most talented receiver.
They did get a talented receiver back, at least, from the Eagles. Jordan Matthews is one of the better big slot receivers in the league, and I think he’ll fare quite well in Buffalo. Unfortunately, the Bills gave up a very good cornerback to do so, after having already lost Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots in free agency.
Ronald Darby, just 23 years old, started 29 games over the last two seasons and showed a ton of promise, if somewhat inconsistent results. The Bills got back a third round pick along with Matthews, though, and you can see that the plan here is to re-tool with draft picks under a new regime. The Eagles got a potentially elite cornerback.
Whether that works or not remains to be seen, but the Bills lost a genuine talent on both sides of the ball. With the Falcons bringing an improved defense and one of the league’s best offenses to bear, that’s likely to prove costly, especially since the Falcons will be at home.