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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - Will Brady suspension affect AFC playoff race?

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Good morning Broncos Country!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Tom Brady has been suspended 4 games for being a lying cheater (or is it cheating liar?) what can we expect from next season? If you listen to the parallels the roof-jumpers (ie Pats fans) are bringing up, expect no less than a perfect season capped off by a Super Bowl victory. It has been pointed out by Brady faithful that the last time the team was found out to be a group of rotten cheaters, they proceeded to dominate the NFL en route to a perfect regular season record.

Assuming that Brady maintains at least two of his four game suspension on appeal buying "justice," here are my thoughts.

Here's how the Patriots open the season:

Pittsburgh  @Buffalo   Jacksonville   @Dallas

Even with Brady in the lineup I would likely pencil in losses against Pittsburgh and Dallas. Now that you put Rex Ryan with all those fantastic defensive pieces in Buffalo on the slate week 2, I fully expect the Patriots to start the season off 1-3 heading into the Colts game week 6.

If you look at their remaining schedule, here's how I think things pan out:

@Indy (L): Luck and the Colts finally breakthrough against Brady and the Pats.

NYJ (W): In a close game, the Jets give one away on the road

Miami (W): Miami should be able to compete with anyone at this point, but the nod still goes to NE at home

Washington (W): Washington is a team in transition without a firm identity

@ NYG (W): Pats secondary has no answer for Cruz and Beckham Jr.

Buffalo (W): In a close, smash mouthed game, Pats find a way to win with another cheating scandal that will break in the offseason.

@Denver (L): Brady and co. have always struggled a mile high. They walk into this hornets nest on a short week.

Philly (L): They combine to run a bagillion plays en route to a last second Tebow-winning two point conversion.

@Houston (W): Clowney and Watt put the hurt on Brady but can't overcome the scoreboard with their offense.

Tennessee (W): Yes, Tennessee is this bad.

@NYJ (L): Jets split the season series and give GangGreen an early Festivus present.

@Miami (L): No longer is NE the bullies of the East. They manage only to split the season series with each of their divisional foes.

Final Record: 8-8

Am I being serious? Absolutely. I think the East has made enough strides to be able to split the season series with the Pats. I also think the Patriots have come a bit back down as far as skill level due to their losses in the secondary and Vince Wilfork. I am confident that Belichick will have his team well coached, but talent is talent and the Patriots have lost a lot of it from the beginning of the season.

If you don't buy into my .500 prognostication, I think this is probably the safest bet: 10-6 as a #3 or 4 seed in the AFC. I do not think New England will compete for a first round bye this season. I think it is entirely possible they play themselves into a 3rd or 4th seed in the AFC. Realistically, I see the Broncos, Ravens, Steelers, and Colts playing for the top two spots in the AFC.

1) Denver 12-4

2) Indy    12-4

3) Baltimore 11-5

4) New England 10-6

5) San Diego 10-6

6) Pittsburgh 10-6

Horse Tracks

Former Bronco Lionel Washington paved road for Green Wave corners to reach NFL - The Denver Post
Lorenzo Doss, Taurean Nixon ride the Green Wave to Denver thanks to Washington

Kiszla: Odds are Tom Brady's ego might aid Broncos - The Denver Post
Through his stupidity and smugness, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady unwittingly did a solid for his old friend Peyton Manning.

Antonio Smith gets settled in with Broncos
Being in Denver and back with coaches who got the best out of him in Houston is a near-perfect situation. There's just one thing Smith doesn't like.

James Casey has got fullback covered
His work in the backfield will be crucial to how he fits on the Broncos, and his experience should serve him well.

Broncos add four players to roster
The Broncos claimed TE Marcel Jensen and WR Solomon Patton off waivers and signed two college free agents.

Heuerman to be 'in the meetings, part of the team'
Injured rookie TE Jeff Heuerman will still be very much involved with the team, said Head Coach Gary Kubiak on Tuesday, speaking at the Salute the Stars awards luncheon hosted by the John Lynch Foundation.

Solomon Patton an intriguing waiver claim for Broncos
The speedy Patton is likely to get a long look on kickoff and punt returns, and has some untapped upside.

Kubiak, Elway, Lynch, trade memories at Salute the Stars Luncheon
Gary Kubiak and John Elway joined John Lynch to swap football stories, discuss leadership and honor middle- and high-school academic and athletic achievers at the Salute to Stars Luncheon Tuesday at Sports Authority Field.

Denver Broncos' John Elway, John Lynch react to ruling on Patriots - Denver Broncos Blog - ESPN
John Elway, John Lynch react to ruling on Patriots

Michael Irvin wants to be a resource to Randy Gregory | ProFootballTalk
Cowboys second-round draft pick Randy Gregory is a talented football player with some off-field problems. Michael Irvin knows just where he's coming from.

2015 NFL Draft grades: Bears, Texans, Falcons earn high marks - NFL.com
In the wake of the 2015 NFL Draft, just seven of the league's 32 teams got an "A" grade from Bucky Brooks. Among them: The Chicago Bears, who upgraded their offense by adding the electric Kevin White.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers claim D.J. Swearinger - NFL.com
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed safety D.J. Swearinger off waivers on Tuesday, the team announced. Will Swearinger help Tampa Bay's secondary?

Dante Fowler Jr. inks max deal four days after ACL tear - NFL.com
The Jaguars signed Dante Fowler to a four-year, $23.5 million deal that includes a $15.3 million signing bonus Tuesday. The No. 3 overall pick gets a fully guaranteed deal after suffering a season-ending ACL injury.