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AFC East Preview

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

With the NFL regular season just around the corner, now is a good time to have a look over each division and the possible championship contenders as well as those just looking to pick up a few wins that would constitute a successful season. Beginning in the AFC East, it appears there will be a two-way battle for the division title between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. The Patriots last year were third in the league in offense and with Brady, Moss, Welker, Maroney, Taylor and co, they are still going to be able to put up plenty of points. Therefore, their relatively young defense won’t be under to much pressure in a lot of games and they can just try and contain the opposition and get the high powered offense on the field for as long as possible. The Jets were the top ranked team in total defense last season and head coach Rex Ryan will hope to keep that defensive momentum that took his team all the way to the AFC championship game a year ago. One major worry for Jets fans is the continued hold out of pro bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis who is an essential part of that feared defense.

Revis still holding out

With no real progress being made between the two parties, Jets fans will be desperate that the contract dispute will be resolved as soon as possible and that Revis will be back on the field keeping the league’s top receivers under control. If Revis isn’t available for some or all of the season, the defense will undoubtedly suffer and put more pressure on the offense and second year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Last year Sanchez threw 12 touchdowns with 20 interceptions and if more pressure was to be put upon his shoulders there is a chance he will try to force to many throws into dangerous areas resulting in an increased number of turnovers and adding an ageing LaDainian Tomlinson to the roster isn’t going to improve the offense a whole lot.
Picking a winner from these two sides is tricky and both teams may well end with similar records with a one or two game difference, but I see the Patriots taking the top spot this season as their offense will consistently win them nine or ten games and with the Revis uncertainty, the Jets defense may suffer early on in the season, putting the pressure on Sanchez and his offense. However, no matter which of these teams takes the top spot, the other will definietly be challenging for one of the two wildcard spots from the AFC.

Moving onto the other two teams contesting the division, we have the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins will feel they have an outside chance of a winning season with a schedule that sees them with some attractive home ties against Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago, however I think they will be realistically looking at a final record of around 8-8 or 7-9. Last season they were 26th in the league in offensive yards per game, however they do have a strong defense that will help put them in winning positions. The Dolphins will be hoping that Chad Henne, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Bradon Marshall and the rest of the offense can siginificantly improve and give them an outside chance of challenging for a wildcard spot.

The Buffalo Bills are the overwhelming favourites to prop up the division. Even with the addition of first round draft selection CJ Spiller at running back that will improve a good ground attack, they will struggle to win many games. Whether it’s Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick or even Brian Brohm or rookie Levi Brown at quaterback, throwing to Lee Evans and Roscoe Parish, the Bills will struggle to do much through the air. They will also struggle on the defensive side of the ball where last year they conceded 348 yards per game which was good enough to be the fourth worst defense. No doubt the addition of Spiller will give them a bigger points threat, but I can’t see much hope for more than 4 or 5 wins at best this season for the Bills.

Predicition:

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills

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