AFC EAST PREVIEW
How will the teams finish in the regular season?
1. New England Patriots – Brady now has his extension. Moss is playing for his. Welker is back. Edelman is Welker’esque. They have great young tight ends. Their running back-by-committee seems to work. They’ll have their offensive line fully together once they show the money, which won’t be long. Their defense is young but Bill always finds a way to make things work. The Patriots have been to the promise land before and they are probably secretly enjoying the spotlight being on the Jets and not them. It’s easy to assume that the Jets just won’t mesh completely and while they will probably make the playoffs, the Patriots will win the division. The playoffs will be a different story, but the Patriots love proving people wrong. That offense is going to be exciting and will be able to cover up some of the problems they’ll have on defense. (11-5)
2. New [Jersey] York Jets – It seems like everybody in the NFL plays for the Jets. They have what on paper looks to be the best team in the league. But can they really get everything to work out as nicely as it looks on the sheet we just mentioned. Sure, they have three really good wide receivers. Sure, they have some good running backs. Sure, they have a young QB who was starting as a rookie only a year ago. They have some good cornerbacks too. Especially the one who lives on an island. But with Calvin Pace gone half the year, the pass rush won’t be as scary. With all the pressure the team has on them, will they be able to live up to the hype? The Jets are going to have a good season. But we shouldn’t be quick to book their tickets to Dallas. The AFC playoffs will be good and they just need to make sure that they have two cohesive, strong units on each side of the ball before the regular season ends. If they are able to get everything to come together by then, look out NFL. (10-6)
3. Miami Dolphins – Brandon Marshall is a great WR. But who will throw it to him? Word is out that the Dolphins brass isn’t too happy with Henne. Pennington? He’s an average quarterback. Ronnie Brown likes to stay injured and Ricky Williams is good but cannot carry the load by himself. They have good, young talent but the two teams above them are much better. The offensive line isn’t secure yet and their defense is still missing some people and/or people are still fighting for positions. The Dolphins offense will be fun to watch if things are clicking but it’s wishful thinking if they and their fans believe the ‘fins are going to the playoffs. (7-9)
4. Buffalo Bills – Bad team. The only bright spot on that entire team is C.J. Spiller. Lee Evans will barely get the ball because the QB situation there is pitiful. The defense will disappoint. They’ll win a couple games or so. (2-14)
Who To Watch For?
New England Patriots – Randy Moss. He wants a new contract. With someone. He’ll be on a mission.
New York Jets – Darelle Revis. Everybody wants to see him. He is the best cornerback in the league. Let’s see if he stays there this year.
Miami Dolphins – Ronnie Brown. Easy pick is Marshall. More important, though, is their running game. Has Brown fully recovered from his injury. Is he back to his old form?
Buffalo Bills – C.J. Spiller. Not like there was anybody else to choose from.
Don’t Be Surprised If He Plays Poorly…
New England Patriots – Laurence Maloney. Each year he is expected to live up to expectations. Each year he disappoints. Each year he is injured.
New York Jets – Mark Sanchez. He’s only in his second year. He still has a huge learning curve ahead of him. Don’t be surprised if he struggles.
Miami Dolphins – Brandon Marshall. He likes to drop the ball. Add that to the fact that he may never get it because the QB situation is murky. Plus he got paid. He’s good now.
Buffalo Bills – Trent Edwards. Well, has he made you say “wow” yet? He has been inconsistent for years, and they still give him another chance each year.
Storyline Of The Year
The hatred between the New England Patriots and the New Jersey Jets will resurface in a big way this year. Both have “Super” expectations that they hope end on a Sunday evening in Dallas.