Sunday, August 17, 2014

AFC East Preview

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I will sum up the AFC East in one sentence. The New England Patriots and 3 other teams that might threaten for the six seed, but probably won't get it. As long as Tom Brady puts on the Patriots uniform the division title will remain in Foxboro, Massachusetts. That being said, there are a few noteworthy aspects about this division. Let's go team by team and evaluate their outlook for this season. We begin with the division champs.

New England Patriots:
Danny Amendola injured. Aaron Hernandez saga. Rob Gronkowski injured. That's who went down for the Patriots last year on offense. What was left for Tom Brody? Kembrell Thompkins, Julian Eddleman, Zach Sudfeld, and a stable full of average running backs. The result, another (13-3) season for the Pats. Offensively, they lost LeGarrete Blunt, that's just about it... And Gronk is back so Tom Brady will have another great season and probably be responsible for rectifying Brandon LaFell's career.

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On defense, they essentially stacked the secondary by adding a healthy Darelle Revis and super bowl champion Brandon Browner. You know these two are just stoked to be in a division where they get to go up against Geno Smith, EJ Manuel, and Ryan Tanehill twice. 

Prediction: Their schedule has tough games on it but there is no stretch of games that seem particularly treacherous. At worst, the Pats will win 11 games. At best, I honestly believe they could win 14 games because there isn't a game on that schedule they can't win. I think they go13-3, I love this Pats' team.

Miami Dolphins: This team is so damn mediocre. They are not worthy of the title "the Dolphins". Dolphins are a wonderful part of marine life. This team should be renamed the Miami Tilapia. Tilapia is a pretty bland tasting fish. But, if you put some seasoning on there it is a pretty serviceable fish that I will partake in as part of a balanced meal. Ryan Tanehill is the tilapia of quarterbacks. Lamar Miller is the tilapia or running backs, so is new addition Knowshon Moreno. Joe Philbin is the.... you get the point. This team is so mediocre, there isn't anything to really talk about.

Prediction: Worst case scenario, 7 wins. Best case scenario, 9 wins. What I am Really trying to say is that they will finish a boring 8-8.

New York Jets: Rex Ryan is coaching for his job which means he needs to pick the quarterback who he thinks can stave off his firing which has felt inevitable for the last year. Geno Smith and Michael
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Vick haven't made the decision an easy one displaying some very uninspired play so far this preseason. Even though the Jets are (2-0) Smith has thrown for 0 touchdowns and tossed a pretty awful interception against the Cincinnati Bengals this past weekend. Michael Vick threw for a touchdown in the Jets outing against the Bengals, going 5/9 for 70 yards. While Vick has played somewhat better (against backups) the Jets will go with Smith. If Rex wants to keep his job, he should go with Vick, he's a proven winner and has the ability to extend plays because nobody in this receiving core besides Decker is great at getting open.

In all honesty, it doesn't matter because the Jets' only consistently useful skill player is Eric Decker. But hey they got a declining Chris Johnson, so that should be fun! The Defense still looks very good, but the offense will be so bad that it really doesn't matter.

Prediction: Worst case scenario, 4-12. Best case, 8-8, but only if Vick plays and Rex Ryan gets fired! I know Geno went 8-8 last year, but it was a fluke. I think they finish right at 6-10, and on a positive note Rex Ryan gets fired!

Buffalo Bills: The Bills could actually contend for a playoff spot, the only problem is I don't know who will be playing for them by week 5. EJ Manuel played pretty solid last season, but battled injuries going (4-6) as a starter. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are a fantastic combo, it showed last season. The duo combined for 2,400 yards of total offense last season and combined for 12 total trips to the end zone accounting for just below 40% of the teams total touchdowns. The Bills drafted Sammy Watkins out of Clemson (who left their last preseason game with an injury) and Manuel will benefit from having him around as an explosive deep threat Finally, like I've said a thousand times, a QB who is getting his feet back under needs to have a solid security blanket, and Scott Chandler is exactly that. He lead this Bills in receptions and yards last season and is poised to once again provide stability for the Bills while establishing the middle of the field.
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Defensively, the Bills got a new coordinator in ex-Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. Linebacker Kiko Alonso is out for the season and that's the biggest problem the Bills face heading into this season. They finished 2nd in sacks and interceptions last year, but finished 28th in rushing yards allowed per game... That is no bueno! Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams will have to hold the line up front as this Bills ailing linebacking core lead by Brandon Spikes, is known for their ability to defend against the pass.

Prediction: With the whole ownership thing still up in the air, Doug Marrone's squad might have to deal with some uncertainty. That being said, the 6 seed in the AFC is wide open and it would not surprise me one bit if they got it. That being said, I could see this team going completely the other way with a key injury or two because depth is an issue at most positions. Worst case scenario I say is 6-10. Best case scenario, 9-7 and they grab a playoff spot. I believe they will finish at 8-8 and barely miss the postseason.

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