It’s a slow time in the NFL these days, but even if it weren’t, Tom Brady and Deflategate would still dominate headlines. Luckily, the end appears in sight for an 18-month saga that, quite frankly, needs to be put to bed.

“The air is slowly leaking out of it, and Brady is going to miss four games,” CBS Sports NFL writer Will Brinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think it’s fascinating to see how much of an effect this is going to have in several different areas. One, how mad is Tom Brady going to be when he comes back from a four-game suspension – because suspensions make him mad. He’ll probably play really well when he returns. And two, how will Jimmy Garoppolo play? If he plays really well, can the Patriots swing him in a trade? They drafted Jacoby Brissett to be the future backup. You assume Garoppolo, who is heading toward free agency, could potentially set himself up to be moved. And three, how does this affect the AFC East race?”

The Patriots open the season at Arizona on Sunday Night Football but play their next three games, including two against divisional rivals, at home. It Miami and Buffalo could upset the Patriots in Foxobro, it would go a long way in preventing New England from winning its 13th AFC East title in 14 years.

“I have a hard time believing they’ll win in Arizona without Brady on Sunday Night in Week 1,” Brinson said. “But three home games against the Texans, Bills and Dolphins – 3-1 is not out of the question, and 2-2, I think you feel pretty good if you’re the Patriots. I think a lot of eyes are going to be on Jimmy G as we head towards the 2016 season.”


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