AFC East: Running Backs
Next we move from the receiving-first positions to the running backs.
4) Miami Dolphins
The Miami run game was pathetic last year, as the majority of games, they were held under 100 yards and some (Cleveland Browns game) where they were held to under 20 yards rushing. To fix this issue, they signed Knowshon Moreno, who came to camp out of shape and might need knee surgery. Leading the charge for the Fins is Lamar Miller, otherwise known as LM.03K. Backing him up is Mike Gillislee, who probably should be starting but won’t, and Daniel Thomas, who is a serviceable third down pick. The running game will struggle again but thankfully the passing game will be more than enough to carry the load. The Fins know this, which is why they are drafting Duke Johnson in the 1st round next year.
3) New York Jets
The Jets and their ground-and-pound offense yet again finished in the top 10 in rushing last year. That was with the likes of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, neither of which scare opposing defenses. To improve the ground-and-pound, they signed Chris Johnson, who is a guy who either breaks out for an 80 yard TD run or gets stuffed for a 2 yard loss, with the 2 yard losses becoming more and more common. Overall, the Jets have a bunch of guys who by themselves don’t scare opponents, but as a whole will lead to a big gain every and now and then that will put defenses on their heels. But since the Jets run the No Passing Offense, they will run it 90% of the time, which will lead to good overall numbers, though the YPC will be awful.
2) New England Patriots
The Patriots lost their best back in LeGarrette Blount and are again scrambling for a replacement. Stevan Ridley looks to be a guy who can be that featured back, but he always ends up in coach Bill Belichick’s doghouse. Shane Vereen looks to be another candidate, especially after week 1 last year, but he got hurt and is more of a receiving back. They drafted James White in the 4th round last year, and he is a good hybrid back but he might not be the featured guy his first year. While Ridley/Vereen duo isn’t the most deadly combination, and the Patriots lack a true #1 back, for some reason they will again finish in the top 10 in rushing and rushing TDs because BB has some secret formula he gives his guys.
1) Buffalo Bills
The Bills were the #2 rushing team, last year led by the dynamic duo for Fred “Ex” Jackson and C.J. Spiller. This year, they added a third guy to the fold in Bryce Brown, who is a good mix of power and speed. Spiller gives the Bills a legitimate homerun threat who can take it to the house at any given second and late in the year showed he finally learned how to be a between the tackles runner (though he still can’t pass block). FredEx is a guy who will never quit and even though he is getting up there in age, he is a big part of the Bills offense, especially in the red zone and on third down. Now with Bryce Brown in as the #3 back, the Bills don’t fear a dropoff from their starters to the backup and can finally put Spiller and Fred on the field together, which is just a nightmare for opposing defenses. The Bills have a deadly three-headed attack at Running Back and will yet again finish in the top 5 in rushing.