Outlooks and predictions for the AFC East in 2011:
Written By: Andy Flint:
New England Patriots: 13-3 (Last Season 14-2):
The Patriots are tough. Even as their main attraction, Tom Brady, climbs the unavoidable ladder of age, the Patriots still seem primed to make a couple more deep playoff runs during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. The Pats seem to make the most of their weapons on offense. Belichick and the Patriots seem to always get the most out of undrafted or unwanted players. Tom Brady, Matt Cassel and Danny Woodhead, to name a few. They stole Albert Haynesworth from the Washington Redskins.
“The Hoody” only parted with a 5th round draft pick to secure the former Pro-Bowler. Watch him have an incredible season. They also secured a go-to wide receiver, in Chad OchoCinco, to replace Randy Moss. Wes Welker is a great talent, but he remains one-dimensional in the passing game and can’t spread the field like Ocho will. That was also a HUGE steal. Rewind back to Randy Moss coming from the Raiders to the Patriots. The Raiders talent scouts said that Moss had lost a step. They were wrong. Count on Chad OchoCinco to bust out and have a great season in the Belichick fueled offense.
New York Jets: 12-4 (Last Season 11-5)
The Jets have been a fun team to watch over the course of 2 or 3 seasons. They have a young QB, a great defense, and a coach who motivates his team, and offends everyone else. Rex Ryan is the coach that every other coach loves to hate. He’s flamboyant, he’s rude, he’s in your face, and he does all of this while demanding the respect of his players, and winning games. The Jets have talent. I see them splitting the regular season with their hated rivals, the Patriots, and giving New England a good run for their money, as to who will ultimately win the division.
I’m just not too confident in Mark Sanchez’s ability to out-play Tom Brady for an entire season. Yes, football is a team sport, but the quarterback position is the most key, and Mark Sanchez just hasn’t shown me enough at this point. The Jets went out and did a great job of re-signing Santonio Holmes, and taking a $3 Million dollar chance on the recently released (from prison) Plaxico Burress. I’m just not convinced that Plaxico is an upgrade over Braylon Edwards. The 34-year-old Burress hasn’t played pro football in 2 years, and should show significant rust. At least the Jets have an incredible defense to rely on. Tough Defense will likely be their bread-n-butter, yet again.
Buffalo Bills: 6-10 (Last Season 4-12)
The Buffalo Bills are still a long ways away from their glory days of the early 1990’s. These Bills have seen tough times, and the road ahead doesn’t get much easier. At least not in the immediate future. The realistic forecast for Bills fans is still a high chance of sub-par play, and a roster that lacks star-power. The Bills also lost their best defensive player, in Paul Posluszny, who led the team in tackles last season, and was 3rd in the entire league with 151 total. With that being said. There are things to cheer for, and a future to look forward to with some optimism.
The Bills drafted C.J. Spiller last season. He’s a work in progress, but should pan out. They also saw the emergence of Stevie Johnson, as a possible go-to wide receiver of the future. They just scooped of LB, Nick Barnett, who the Green Bay Packers recently cut ties with. Barnett has suffered some injuries, but if healthy could be a great substitute for the departure of Posluszny. The Bills front office seems to be dead set on working up with the players they draft, and developing young talent. The have decided to stay away from bidding wars in the free agency market, and will continue to be home-grown. Hopefully it pays off.
Miami Dolphins: 3-13 (Last Season 7-9)
The Dolphins, to me, seem to be the team in the most trouble in the AFC East. Their QB situation is a mess. They’ve brought in Matt Moore, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. I’m assuming Moore will compete with Chad Henne (Please hold the applause) for the starting spot. If I’m Brandon Marshall, I’m totally shaking my head right now. I’m not confident in either player at this point, and I’m truly doubting Miami’s ability to get much going through the air. They’ve also seemingly decided to forgo the option of re-signing Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, and instead, jumped fully on-board with Reggie Bush.
This may not be a bad thing. Reggie Bush has a high ceiling if he can manage to put all of his injuries in the past. I can also see the wildcat offense being interesting with Bush slapped smack in the middle. It also appears as if Brandon Marshall has a personality disorder. Hopefully it isn’t anything too serious. I believe B-Marsh can be one of the best WR’s in the game, given the right situation. I wish Marshall the best. As if all of this news wasn’t bad enough for South Beach. Miami’s schedule isn’t kind either. At least they play the Bills twice.