AFCE Standings Division Record Record Range
1. Patriots 12-4 5-1 10-13 wins
2. Jets 9-7 4-2 7-10 wins
3. Dolphins 8-8 2-4 6-10 wins
4. Bills 6-10 1-5 4-8 wins
I have been the biggest “non-Bills fan” believer for months, but I have had a very hard time believing the last 4 weeks. The Bills have a lot of talent, but what is lacking?
Offensively, I don’t see any progress in EJ Manuel, none that I can feel confident about; 5 pre-season games and I just don’t see it.. The OL is just slightly a lesser mess than in Miami, and in this league you cannot win with a mediocre OL. The WRs are probably the best combo in the division, as are the RBs, but no QB, no OL usually equals trouble.
Defensively the Bills may be going trough one of the worst drop offs around, why? Kiko is gone; he was their heart and soul last year. Gone is the “blitz happy mentality” that got so many sacks a year ago. In its place a DC that really wants to be a HC, and unless he has huge talent around him, he has never done well. Stop the run at the expense of pass rush, and the Bills will suffer a lot.
The schedule is no help with trips to Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Oakland (WC trip never easy). Bills may only beat the Dolphins or split with the Jets. Sorry Buffalo fans, I just don’t buy it, not this year. Bills fans make fun of Geno, but Geno is light years ahead of EJ, it is beginning to look like Geno was a #1 and EJ a #2, ESPN must have convinced Bills brass of the reverse (thank you Kiper). If this situation ends up being a good one, I will be the first to admit I was wrong; QB is not what he was labeled to be.
The Dolphins are coming off a bitter sweet 2013-4 campaign; one that started out as a dream season and ended in the firing of Ireland, and the OC. There was so much to be thankful for 2013, yet so much that remains unsolved. The team was built to win now, Ireland knew that his legacy and job was based on 2103, he failed, the team failed.
QB Ryan Tannehill progressed very nicely in year 2, and should continue to do so this season. He was given plenty of targets and weapons to succeed, however the main target has been a dud (Mike Wallace), and the one they expected to step up last year is now gone (Egnew).
TE Clay is an emerging star; Hartline remains the most dependable WR, but the running game is missing in Miami. This is a franchise that relied on running the last time they saw a winning season, and that has been forgotten. In comes Knowshon Moreno; other than the fact that his name fits better in Miami than Denver, there is nothing there. His resume was simply INC in Denver until Manning came along.
Defensively Miami is good, and by NFL standards very good, especially at CB. Grimes is a stud and a find, maybe the best thing Ireland ever did in Miami, even if Grimes actually dropped onto his lap, after an injury plagued season. The DL is not deep, but barring any injuries it should be able to be the third best in the division. Cameron Wake continues to baffle everyone that had doubts; he is a true pass rusher.
I guess you must be wondering, why no improvement over last year?
Two reasons: first and foremost, the OL. In the NFL you don’t simply get 5 new starters and expect to win, its very rare. Their guards are less than serviceable; I hope for Tanney’s sake that he remains healthy, because this is a mess. Second reason is the schedule, trips outside the division to Detroit, Chicago and Denver will get them 3 losses, and as much as the Raiders stink, a West Coast trip is never easy. Games in Buffalo, NY and two against the Pats just don’t help.
I fully expect the Dolphins to fire HC Philbin at the end of the season.
A year ago this franchise was considered a laughing stock, and all pre-season predictions, all of them were wrong. Jets landed Geno by mistake, no question; everyone felt he would go before the Jets in the second, and when they found him there, how could you not pick him? Especially when Mark Sanchez was all but done in the tough NY market.
Geno was good to get started and then sucked all the way until the last 4 games; that is when a switch turned on. Is this really hard to believe? I mean rookie Qbs are not supposed to be great all season in year one. Smith bulked up in the off-season, and managed to become a gym rat; arrived at camp with the attitude that any team wants out of their year 2 QB.
The addition of Eric Decker and his sure hands will be huge to an anemic offense. A good running attack has been improved with Chris Johnson and his elusive style of running. Together with ivory (A hard-nosed runner), the two should keep a lot DCs up at night. Johnson’s ability to catch screen passes, adds a dimension the Jets never had before. At TE, Jace Amaro was drafted to complement Cumberland. Jace was a pass catching machine in college.
Defensively, GM Idzik decided to not spend any money on reliable CBs, and that is a huge weakness going into the season. The Jets hope that current players step up and do the job, if not, this is their Achilles’ Heal. Fully expect the front 7 to step up to stardom; the unit will have to be even better in order to camouflage the ineptness at CBs. Babin was added just before camp as a pass rush specialist, he should thrive in this system. Calvin Pryor was drafted to fill a huge void at FS, and I predict the kid wins the Jets their second DROY award in a row.
The schedule appears hard and it is, however home games against the Broncos, Bears , Steelers and Detroit help, and Jets will win three of those. Hard road games include trips to Green Bay and San Diego.
This story has become very old, yes, the Patriots will once again win the division. The team is still much better equipped to win than the other three, especially when the QB is one of the best ever.
Defensively the Pats have made the biggest improvements in the division. An average secondary just became good to very good; depending on how much Browner really contributes. Revis is a huge addition, and his presence alone is worth a game or two. Safeties are average with only McCourty being a decent player. Linebackers can be real good, if as expected Collins improves. The Dl is full of question marks, and the return to form of Vince is a must.
Offensively the Patriots are no longer the quick strike, high scoring machine we got used to. Amendola would be a good weapon if he would play, but his record shows that injuries are part of his makeup. Gronkowski needs to prove the world that for the first time in 3 years he is healthy and ready to contribute. Edelman is the most reliable WR on the roster, but his abilities are those of a third option, not a #1. The running game will suffer with Mankins getting traded. Tom Brady will continue to make smart decisions as he has last two years, even if he’s numbers continue to drop.
The defense picks up two games and the offense gives them back, giving us the same record as a year ago.
The schedule is similar to the Jets, and it should have little effect on their season. I see one division loss and 3 others to Denver, Green Bay and the Bengals.
Predicting the AFCE is always extremely hard to do, except for the Patriots. The Pats are usually consistent and the other three teams are not. The Bills almost always have more talent than their record shows. The Jets usually win more games than you expect and the Dolphins finds a way to mediocrity, even with a loaded roster.
Good luck to all, if I am wrong, feel free to remind me.
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