Is the AFC East officially wide open?
Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered an Achilles tear on just his fourth play with the New York Jets on Monday night. The shocking injury all but destroyed the Jets' Super Bowl hopes and greatly decreased their odds of winning their first division title since 2002.
While the Rodgers news is unfortunate for the NFL, it's a gift for the New England Patriots. The Jets' QB downgrade from Rodgers to Zach Wilson could help the Pats add two much-needed victories to their grueling schedule. And with the Buffalo Bills seemingly trending down after Monday's loss to the Jets, New England sneaking to the top of the AFC East standings isn't out of the realm of possibility.
Our Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry reacted to the Rodgers news and discussed what it means for the AFC East in a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
🔊 Patriots Talk: Taking stock of radical changes in AFC East | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
"This changes everything," Perry said of the Rodgers injury. "I don't know how they win consistently with Zach Wilson. As good as their defense is, they're not a playoff team anymore if Aaron Rodgers is not playing, and that really shifts the entire landscape in this division."
The Jets have one of the league's best defenses, so they should still be competitive despite the loss of Rodgers. Just not competitive enough to compete for a playoff spot, according to Curran.
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"They're not a playoff team. They're not. Especially with Zach Wilson at quarterback," Curran said. "He just doesn't see things well.
"By the end of the year, maybe coming in with less pressure and having Aaron Rodgers shepherd him through the offseason and into this season -- I do think there's less pressure on him in some ways than there would've been previously. Maybe he turns into a competent enough quarterback and he's not upside down touchdowns to interceptions."
The Patriots' Week 2 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who just earned an impressive 36-34 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, becomes even more crucial given the current state of the AFC East. New England will visit Wilson and the Jets in Week 3.
Also discussed in the episode:
- Why you should be optimistic about the Patriots moving forward.
- Which team has the scarier offense, Miami or Philly?
- Grading Mac Jones' Week 1 performance.