Five bold predictions for this week

Editor's note: Adam's bold predictions appear each week on ESPNBoston.com. You can listen to Adam Jones and Drew Brooks on ESPN Boston Radio every weekday live from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 2 to 4. (Listen HERE)

1. Patriots win the AFC East

After Sunday's 37-16 win in New York, the Patriots now have the inside track to win the division. As of today, they stand a game ahead of the nose-diving Bills and own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Jets. Couple that with the fact that the Patriots only have one game left against a team with a winning record -- the aforementioned Bills -- and it should be smooth sailing from here on out for New England. Given the schedule, it would be a disappointment if they don't lock up a first-round bye. What a difference a week makes, huh?

2. Sveum will be next Red Sox manager

By all accounts, Milwaukee hitting coach -- and former Red Sox third base coach -- Dale Sveum is the favorite to become the next manager in Boston. If that's the case, color me unimpressed. However, take a look around the league and you'll see that underwhelming hires are par for the course. Mike Matheney in St. Louis? Robin Ventura in Chicago? Sveum may not have their type of name recognition, but at least he does have some big league managerial experience (albeit just 12 games).

3. Bard will succeed Papelbon as Red Sox closer

I think new general manager Ben Cherington made this abundantly clear at his introductory press conference, when he stated that the Red Sox have internal options at closer should Jonathan Papelbon elect to sign elsewhere. He did and now the Red Sox are expected to turn to the 26-year-old Bard. My feeling on the transition? I think Bard is an elite setup man (as evidenced by his lifetime 2.88 ERA), but I question whether he's cut out to be a closer. Over three big league seasons he has five saves and 15 blown saves. Just sayin'...

4. There will be fireworks Nov. 23 in Buffalo

The Sabres will be out for revenge after Milan Lucic took a run at Ryan Miller over the weekend, reportedly leaving the Buffalo goaltender with a concussion. Many are questioning whether the Sabres have the type of roster that can throw down with the Bruins -- which I guess is a fair question -- but what message would it send if they don't? The guess here is Buffalo will go after Lucic just like the Bruins went after Matt Cooke in 2010.

5. Bruins scoring barrage comes to an end Tuesday

After a maddeningly inconsistent start to the season, the Bruins have caught fire and are winners of five straight. Even better, they've scored at least five goals in each of those victories. However, all good things must come to an end. I think the B's will extend their winning streak Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, but will fail to reach the five-goal plateau for the first time in six games.