The New England Patriots endured a rough offseason. However, the four-time defending AFC East champions should be considered a lock to start the season 2-0, after each of their first two opponents suffered devastating injuries at the quarterback position this weekend.
The Buffalo Bills plan to start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel in their regular-season opener against the Patriots. If Tuel ends up getting the nod, he will become the first undrafted, rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to start the first game of the regular season.
Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel was expected to be the starter, but an injury and subsequent procedure on his left knee makes his status doubtful for first few games of the season. Meanwhile, veteran QB Kevin Kolb is out indefinitely with concussion symptoms that could potentially derail the remainder of his NFL career.
The Bills also lost Stephen Gilmore for six to eight weeks after the second-year cornerback underwent surgery on his fractured wrist. Gilmore, the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft, was one of the Bills’ best defensive players a season ago.
After playing in Buffalo in Week 1, the Patriots host the New York Jets. It will be a quick transition for both teams, with the game being played on Thursday Sept. 12 under the lights in Gillette Stadium. The Jets, however, don’t appear ready for the early season matchup, especially after what transpired in their preseason contest on Saturday night.
Rookie Geno Smith threw three interceptions in a discouraging outing against the New York Giants. To make matters worse, the Jets may be without Mark Sanchez for an extended period of time, after he suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter against the Giants. Head coach Rex Ryan made a boneheaded move by inserting Sanchez into the fourth quarter of a meaningless exhibition contest.
Tom Brady versus Tuel and then Smith appears to be consecutive mismatches in heavy favor of the Patriots. With the uncertainties surrounding the Bills and Jets quarterback situations, the Patriots are in great position to start the 2013 season with two easy wins under their belt.