Sunday, August 28, 2011

AFC East: 2011 Outlook

The AFC East has recently been a two-horse race between the Jets and Patriots, and I don't see any reason why 2011 will be different. This division will play against the AFC West and the NFC East in 2011.

1 - New England (13-3)
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft... The New England Patriots have been as consistent as they come for the past decade. I think the Jets have the personnel and coaching to overtake them someday, but I don't think that day will come this season. Adding Chad Ochocinco should prove to be a huge addition to the Offense, giving them another weapon on the outside to open things up even more for their impressive duo of Tight Ends. Once again, the Pats will be in the Super Bowl conversation.
2 - New York Jets (10-6)
I like a lot of things about the Jets - their coach, their defense, their running game... However, I'm not a big fan of Mark Sanchez. I just can't see him getting to the big game. He deserves all the credit in the world for 2 AFC Championship appearances in his first 2 seasons as starter, but I just don't think he's anywhere near the QB that other Super Bowl contenders have (NE, GB, IND, SD, PHI, NO, HOU, ATL, etc). The Defense is among the league's elite, and the Offense is good enough. The Jets will contend for a Wild Card.
3 - Miami (8-8)
Listening to Mike & Mike last week, their expectations for the Dolphins were incredibly low. I like the Dolphins quite a bit more than Golic and Greenberg; I think they have an extremely underrated Defense and an Offense that could surprise some people. While I'm not a believer in Reggie Bush as an every-down back, I do believe rookie Daniel Thomas can do enough to give them a reliable tandem on the ground. Cameron Wake continues ascent, remains among NFL's sack leaders in 2011.
4 - Buffalo (5-11)
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a solid year in 2010, and I think he continues his strong play this season. I like what Stevie Johnson gives their Offense (except for the ill-advised tweets blaming a higher power for dropping a TD pass to beat the Steelers... but... anyhow...) I'm anxious to see what happens at RB between C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, and I also am anxious to see how their Linebackers perform. Adding Kirk Morrison and Nick Barnett to a LB corps that already had veterans Andra Davis and Shawne Merriman... could be something to watch.

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