Saturday, September 4, 2010

NFL Previews: AFC East

Today we're starting our first ever NFL division-by-division preview here at The Bay Area Sports Journal! We'll be breaking down each division in the NFL, giving a small preview of each team, including key players, and predicting how each division will play out. We'll start in the AFC East and finish with the NFC West. So here we Go

1st Place, New England Patriots

Offensive Players:
QB Tom Brady
RB Laurence Maroney
RT Sebastian Vollmer
WR Randy Moss
WR Wes Welker
WR Julian Edelman
TE Aaron Hernandez

Defensive Players:
DT Vince Wilfork
LB Tully Banta-Cain
LB Jerod Mayo
SS Brandon Meriweather
CB Leigh Bodden

The Patriots have a nice mix of youth and effective veterans, and one of the best football minds out there to put the pieces together. I'm expecting big things out of Tom Brady in his second full year recovered from that ACL tear. With his same reliable vets in Welker and Moss, along with some rising youngsters like Edelman, Golden Tate and Aaron Hernandez, I think a 40 TD/4,500 yard season could be on tap for Brady. Their running game has enough guys who know how to run the ball that they should be fine, even if they don't have a clear-cut #1 workhorse. The question with the Pats lies on defense though. They have mostly a veteran heavy bunch with a decent secondary, but they're hoping to improve up front. They added run-stuffing Gerard Warren to the D-line in effort to due just that. The Pats definitely have some holes, and aren't the Patriots of 4-5 years back, but they aren't in an extremely tough division and should be the team to beat.

2ND PLACE, New York Jets*

Offensive Players:
QB Mark Sanchez
RB Shonn Greene
WR Braylon Edwards
WR Santonio Holmes
TE Dustin Keller
LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson

Defensive Players
DE Shaun Ellis
LB Davis Harris
LB Calvin Pace
CB Darrell Reevis (holdout)
CB Kyle Wilson (R)
LB Jason Taylor
CB Antonio Cromartie

Everybody likes the Jets for the AFC champs this year, but I'm not sold just yet. They could really be something if Mark Sanchez can take that huge step forward, but I think they're still a year away from being legit powerhouses. They have a mean defense, even if holdout Darrel Revis doesn't come back (but I think he will) and one of the best young running backs in the league. The only question mark with them is their passing game. Santonio Holmes was signed in effort to boolster the WR depth chart and should help out. I'm expecting a big second year out of tight end Dustin Keller as well. They have a solid O-line and a good coach. They really have all the makings, they're just waiting for Sanchez to develop.

3rd Place, Miami Dolphins

Offensive Players:
QB Chad Henne
RB Ronnie Brown
RB Ricky Williams
WR Brandon Marshall
WR Davone Bess
TE Anthony Fasano

Defensive Players:
DE Jared Odrick (R)
LB Channing Crowder
LB Karlos Dansby
CB Vontae Davis
SS Yeremiah Bell

Like the Jets, the Phins are an up and coming team who are really a year or 2 away from being really good. They have a bring young QB with a big arm in Chad Henne, and now have a premiere, true #1 wideout for him to throw to in Brandon Marshall. They have an effective two-headed monster at tailback with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams sharing the rock. I also like how Tony Sporano has put together their defense, which I think is one of the more underrated D's in the NFL. Still though, they have a lot of gelling to do on the O-line, and they have really a whole new look compared to where they were at this time a year ago. The only constant is their running game. They're probably a .500 team right now, but like the Jets, could really be something in a year or 2.

4th Place, Buffalo Bills


QB Trent Edwards
RB Fred Jackson
RB CJ Spiller
RB Marshawn Lynch
LT Demetrius Bell
WR Lee Evans

NT Kyle Williams
LB Paul Pozlusky
LB Aaron Maybin (R)
CB Terrence McGee
FS Jarius Byrd

The Bills still have a ways to go before being relevant again. They're coming off of a 2 win season and I don't think Buffalo fans should be expecting much of an improvement. Trent Edwards is a solid back-up QB, but I think he's proven each year that he's over matched as a starter week in and week out. On top of it all, he'll also be throwing to a paper thin receiving group. The one area where the Bills are solid however, is at running back. They have 3 serviceable backs, and all three have the ability to be very good when they're on (and in shape in regards to Lynch).

* indicates AFC Wildcard Team
(R) indicates Rookies

No comments: