On the latest episode of the Rico Report, Rico was joined by Clay Troia and Lawrence Owen. A few big topics got hit, most notably the state of the AFC playoff race right now. The AFC is clearly the conference to beat, but plenty of great teams are guaranteed to miss out. The massive influx of talent, not just for the Buffalo Bills, from this free agency period has the league a little off-balance. The NFC is guaranteed to get some subpar teams in the postseason, and it doesn’t seem fair.
AFC East (4:05)
The Buffalo Bills are obviously the cream of the NFL crop; It would take a catastrophe to cost them the AFC East title this season. The New England Patriots are spiralling, unable to sign any desired free agents, the New York Jets are improving, but not enough to exit the basement of the league just yet. There’s only one team Buffalo needs to worry about right now, and they’re still a ways ahead of them. The Miami Dolphins have had a quietly effective offseason, and shouldn’t be counted out of the playoff race, even if they are a long shot for the division.
AFC North (5:49)
Now, the Cincinnati Bengals are the reigning AFC North champs, but are they set to repeat. Cincy has had a good offseason, but the division is a brutal one. The Cleveland Browns are big question marks, pending further news on the situation with DeShaun Watson. The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of talent, but still lack a lot of offensive prowess to get them over the hump. Lastly, the Baltimore Ravens are tough to predict. They’ve got plenty of proven talent in a scheme that works, and shouldn’t be counted out.
AFC South (11:31)
The AFC’s #1 seed from 2021 may not have won a game in the playoffs, but they’re still in prime position to lock up their division. The Tennessee Titans can finally get healthy, Derrick Henry included, and come back strong. But, it’s going to be a battle this season. Matt Ryan has been traded the Colts. Does he make the difference? We say yes, and this division has gone from a one-horse race to two. They’re set to contend as he joins a supporting cast that’s arguably the most talented in his career. Ryan gives them a huge boost, and they can win the division if he’s got any firepower left in his right arm.
AFC West: Group Of Death (15:04)
Perhaps the biggest mystery of the AFC this season, ‘The Group Of Death’ is impossible to predict. Any of the four teams within it could take the whole thing. It would be dishonest to give the lead to anyone but the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s far from a sure thing. The Los Angeles Chargers are already contenders, and have proven to deserve a playoff spot, but are they able to beat out every other team in this division?
Oakland Las Vegas Raiders have made huge moves, not limited to signing Chandler Jones and trading for Davante Adams. They’re set to compete for the division too, though they should still be considered underdogs. Oddly, the Denver Broncos seem to be the odd ones out. That’s only because of how tough the division is.
Russell Wilson joined the new toughest division in the NFL, and though he has plenty of supporting talent, they still deserve this tough last place spot. They’d be contending for the lead in the AFC South, and the NFC’s East and South. The Broncos would be a Wild Card lock anywhere in the NFC right now.
Double Dip At Cornerback? (20:45)
In 2021, the Bills drafted two defensive ends with their first two draft picks. Could they do the same at cornerback this draft? If they have the guy they want available, they could trade up to get them, but we need more than one cornerback right now. This draft class is full of excellent prospects at the position, more so than any draft in recent history. Now is the time to go solve this problem. Fix both the immediate and long-term solutions to a visible issue on a championship contending team.
There are a load of corners available, and there will be talented guys available until round four, at least. If they draft a cornerback anywhere between the first and fourth rounds, consider it a smart investment. Ideally, the Buffalo Bills’ draft targets will fit well in a zone scheme, with some speed which our secondary desperately needs. Man coverage skills are teachable, but if we want to maintain our pedigree as a top-tier secondary we’ll need someone with those skills to contend right away. Tre’Davious White will need time as he works his way back from his ACL tear.
Rico and company hit another edition of Process or Problem. They cover a huge position of importance for the Buffalo Bills: Defensive Backs (49:23).
For all of this and more, check out the latest episode of the Rico Report on the Buffalo Fanatics YouTube Channel.