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Old 09-06-2011, 02:49 PM    (permalink
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Default Bucfan's Division by Division Preview: AFC EAST

I'm going to break down each division this week and make a prediction in standings and break down each team of every division:

I'll Start with the AFC EAST:

New England Patriots:

- What can you say about the New England Patriots? I think they've improved greatly from an already great team. Albert Haynesworth, talent wise, is still a top performer. Under Bellichik, I think he gets it together. They put together another solid, if not great draft class as well. I like the picks of Ridely and Vereen and how they've performed. Solder is being well-coached and learning and Dowling I think is a steal the Pats got.

- Another plus is they have on of the top 2, maybe top QB in the league in Tom Brady and Bellichik is still coaching this team, so I'm pretty sure they're in good hands. The WR corps are again solid route runners. Price is a guy to watch and Welker and Endleman are solid in the slots and run crisp routes. Chad may have lost a step, but I still think he could be that deep threat. Throw in 2 very good TEs as well and this offense is lethal.

- On defense, Mayo is finding himself in a newer role as more of a pass rusher and it's a role I think makes the pat's defense a scary one. They've always had young talent, and now since they've gotten some years under there belt, look for them to be a solid if not very good, maybe top 10-12 unit.

New York Jets:
- Like the Patriots, the Jets are a very well-coached bunch under Rex Ryan, although I hate hearing his cockieness. The Jets will once again be in contention to make a deep run in the playoffs. Getting a target that is tough for even Mark Sanchez to miss was a good move, once Burress gets more acclimated to the game and shakes off the 2 year rust. Holmes is once again a threat. However, they built a majority of this team through trades and free agency. Time could be clicking on there chances. I didn 't like there draft at all. I feel like they've given up a lot of future picks in order to move up in the draft or for a veteran.

- On offense, once again, the running game will be there strength. THe o-line is top 5 in the game, in my opinion, with the best center and top 5 LT anchoring the line in Mangold and Brick. Green is a physical punisher and LT proved he can be productive in a 2-back role. Sanchez looked good in the pre-season and he has added two veterans to the cast in Burress and Mason. The biggest hurdle is Sanchez taking the next step. Can he do that?

- Defensively, this unit is still strong as they are well coached. I still think they blew the opportunity to get a pass rusher this off-season. However, they usually do a solid job in replacing guys in the front 7. Wilkerson, there first round pick, to me was a questionable one. I think Cameron Heywerd would be a better fit at 3-4 DE, but thats just me. Not sure how Kendrick Ellis fits, there 3rd orund pick. They're secondary is there biggest strength. Wilson has gotten high reviews as he's set to be the 3rd CB along with Revis and Cromartie. Leonard is a very good safety back there as well.

Buffalo Bills:
- Loved the Marcell Dareus pick. He's a perfect fit for there 3-4 defense, as he played in that system at Alabama. I like some of there moves they've made this off-season. Brad Smith is a solid 3rd WR, but he's not going to do much in the kick return game now that the rule is changed. They had a solid draft, however, I would have liked to see them take Mallett in the 3rd round. He's a potential franchise QB, something they don't have.
- On offense, they are going to try and get CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson the ball as much as possible. Spiller was a 1st round, top 10 selection in 2010, so he needs to step up on offense in terms of production. At WR, Stevie Johnson was a nice find and was very productive for Buffalo, but is he really a number 1 type of guy? They don't offer much around him and I like Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he's an average starter in this league, if that. I just don't see him as a guy that puts the Bills in the playoffs. Left Tackle/offensive line is still a weak point for this team as they keep failing to address, that will hurt them as well.

- On defense, the addition of Dareus will anchor this line. Barnett is a good stop-gap until they find a consistant MLB to start. Can Shawn Merriman return back to his old self (I mean, during the lockout, they weren't testing for steriods, so possibly). He looked solid in pre-season, but 2 sacks came against a Chicago o-line. I like the secondary and addition of Aaron Williams, who I think is a very underrated prospect that they've drafted. Jaryious Byrd, if he returns to his rookie year form, could help form a very good secondary.

Miami Dolphins:

- First off, I don't like the move of trading for Reggie Bush and then paying him 5 million a year. He's nothing more than your regualr 3rd down running back. Don't like what they've done in Miami after Bill Parcells left in his player personell role, meaning drafting players. Daniel Thomas was a decent pick, but I didn't see the point in moving up for a running back. Mallett would have been a better option, especially since they struggled with Henne. The drafting of Pouncey was a solid pick. Yes, drafting a guard in the 1st round, top 20 pick, is a risky 1, but I think he'll be a pro bowler. Not a huge fan of what they did after that.

- On offense, there strength should be the running game, as they have a solid 0-line, anchored by Jake Long. The rest of the 0-line will come together. Chad Henne is not the answer at QB for this team and it's going to show. Brandon Marshall will be keyed on tremendously by opposing defenses, but it's whether or not Henne can get him the ball. I think Reggie Bush was a bad move. I'm not sure he's going to make a huge impact for this team, however I could be wrong.

- Defensively, I think they'll be alright. Wake returns as one of the better pass rushers in the league, posting 14 sacks last season. Vontae Davis is a rising player at CB, but the rest of the secondary must step up. They drafted Sean Smith and Davis in the same year hoping to form a nice tandem. Smith needs to be more consistant.

Overall predicted finsh:
1. New England 13-3
2. New York Jets 11-5
3. Buffalo Bills 7-9
4. Miami Dolphins 4-12

New England takes the division again. They're still a 13-14 win team. I see the Jets as the Wild Card again for the 3rd straight year. Buffalo will improve, but they're still players away that makes them a play-off contender. Miami takes a step back. I'm just not seeing a good year for them and possibly puts them in position to take a franchise QB next year.
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