Well gang, it’s time to say more meaningless things on the internet. Here’s my AFC East picks this year.
The two hardest things to find in the NFL are good coaching and quarterback play. As you know, the patriots have this part down and beyond their inexperience at receiver and some questions surrounding the play of their defensive backs, there are few visible weaknesses. This team stops the run, creates turnovers, keeps the opposition out of the end zone, can run the ball effectively, and has some guy named Brady who’s only been a top 5 passer for a decade or so now. Oh, and they start the season with a soft schedule so the best tight end in the game shouldn’t have to rush his recovery from back surgery. The division title won’t be as easily obtained this year, and a first round bye may be out of reach, but barring a Brady injury, this team is still winning the division.
If you haven’t heard yet, a lot of people think everything is dependent on Tannehill this year. I’m telling you that even if Tannehill does not improve this year, the defense is still good enough to keep them in all but 3-4 games. That being said, the arrow is pointing up on Tannehill and a statistical regression in his second season as a pro would be a shock to many, even outside the bounds of South Florida. The Dolphins offensive line is the biggest question mark for the team but features 2 former pro bowlers in Clabo and Incognito, and a budding star in Pouncey. The line may end up being good assuming Martin and Jerry play like NFL starters. Ultimately Miami drops back to back games to Pittsburgh and New England to cost them a shot at the division and the playoffs. Ireland keeps his job.
ESPN has been making a lot of money selling the Jets as a circus the past year and a half and unfortunately they may look right for most of the season. With a tough first half of the schedule, the Jets fledgling West Coast offense will sputter and be stomped out by teams like New England, Cincinatti, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Heading into the bye week at 2-7, Rex may already be gone, and I’m betting on the Jets winning 4 of their last 7 under an interim Head Coach, giving Idzik some interesting decisions for next year. The Jets have some nice pieces to build around, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but the tough early schedule will just be too much for the inexperienced offense to overcome. This season is all about finding out if Geno Smith can play or if Idzik needs to make a play for a big time prospect next draft.
Buffalo is the toughest team to read this year because of all the uncertainty surrounding the team. Some experts even view them as a sleeper, however, with all the new pieces and a tough opening eight that features 1 home game against a team that finished with a losing record last year, an 0-8 start is a real possibility. Their best bets to stop this opening skid are the annual Bills Browns game on a Thursday night in Cleveland and a week 3 match up with the Jets in Jersey. There are certainly things to be excited about with this buffalo team; Spiller is an electric talent, the youth at receiver and quarterback is intriguing, and the defensive line boasts several top 10 position players in Kyle and Mario Williams. Keep your chin up Buffalo fans, a poor 2013 doesn’t mean you aren’t moving in the right direction.