AFC East Preview

Posted: September 7, 2011 by Kodi in NFL

Is there anything that the Buffalo Bills can look forward to in 2011?

Are the Miami Dolphins about to turn it around?

Is Tom Brady really that pretty?

Did anybody else see that Sanchez photo from GQ Magazine?

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo hasn’t made the Playoffs since 1999 and have had a winning record just once since then, 9-7 in 2004, but won just 4 games last season and the franchise seems to be in a tailspin that they can’t pull out of. The Bills were dead in the water the second the 2010 season began and Buffalo started 0-8. When they would end a losing streak they always seemed to win two games in a row, too bad that only happened twice and the Bills were 4-12 finishing with the 3rd worst record in the NFL. Chan Gailey was given the opportunity to attempt and turn this ship around but after a terrible season like 2010 the fans are going to look for improvement in 2011 but they may not get it. The Bills just do not have the players to be competitive in their own division let alone the NFL.

The Bills offense is led by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who was chosen over Trent Edwards but the QB from Harvard has won just 12 games since entering the NFL in 2005. Fitzpatrick is a “fantasy” sleeper at QB but just because he posts decent numbers for people’s make-believe teams doesn’t mean that he is the guy to turn around a franchise. The Bills offense ranked 28th in points scored and 25th in total yards and although some like the QB situation in Buffalo they ranked 24th in passing offense last year. They lost WR Lee Evans and will rely heavily on one-hit wonder WR Stevie Johnson, who until last year had started just one game in his previous 2 seasons. Until posting over 1000 yards Johnson had just 112 career receiving yards and now he will be the Bills only legitimate threat in the passing game. The Bills will rely on RB Fred Jackson in the running game, which ranked 18th last season, as former Clemson RB C.J. Spiller had a very disappointing Rookie season rushing for just 283 yards.

For as bad as the offensive situation in Buffalo is it doesn’t get much better on the defensive side of the ball as they ranked 28th in points allowed and 24th in total yards. They lost their leading tackler, LB Paul Posluszny, but replaced him with LBs Kirk Morrison and Nick Barnett hoping that they can improve the league’s worst rush defense. Buffalo did rank 3rd in pass defense but teams didn’t have to pass on them and when they did they scored because the Bills allowed 28 passing TDs the 6th most allowed by any team. The Bills need to fill giant holes and hopefully the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 Draft, Alabama DT Marcell Dareus will do just that. The Bills followed the selection of Dareus with defensive players in the next three rounds, CB Aaron Williams from Texas, ILB Kelvin Sheppard from LSU and S Da”Norris Searcy from UNC in the 4th round. Although the Bills spent their first 4 Draft picks on defensive players and brought in some decent talent through free-agency they’re still nowhere close to being competitive.

The town of Buffalo, NY doesn’t have much to look forward to in the world of sports in the first place and they have been dealing with an ailing Bills team for some time. Too bad for them it’s not going to get any easier this season and the Bills will be getting their asses handed to them week in and week out. It will be interesting to see how the new players do and what HC Chan Gailey does in an attempt to improve the franchise but from an outsiders perspective the optimism looks bleak and Buffalo should embrace for the long haul of rebuilding. The Bills will be one of the worst teams in the NFL and I have them going 3-13 and could be in the running for Stanford QB Andrew Luck if they are able to suck enough to be rewarded the 1st overall Draft pick in 2012.

Key Arrivals: LB Kirk Morrison, WR Ruvell Martin, WR Buster Davis, ILB Nick Barnett, WR Brad Smith, QB Tyler Thigpen.

Key Re-Signings: CB Drayton Florence, TE Scott Chandler.

Key Departures: C Geoff Hangartner, WR Buster Davis, TE Shawn Nelson, DT John McCargo, OLB Aaron Maybin, WR Lee Evans, TE Jonathan Stupar, S Donte Whitner, ILB Paul Posluszny.


Miami Dolphins

After recording an 11-5 record in his Head Coaching debut Tony Sparano has had back to back seasons with a 7-9 record. Unlike most teams that struggle to win the Dolphins are lacking offense not defense and Sparano’s 2010 Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning was replaced by Brian Daboll for the 2011 season. Miami knows that they need to improve on offense and made some big moves by getting rid of RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in hopes that transitioning to some younger players may improve their chances.

The Dolphins were pathetic on offense ranking 30th in points scored and 21st in total yards but with the mixture of old RBs and a young QB Miami couldn’t have expected a break-out year. The Dolphins selected University of Florida G/C Mike Pouncey who is the brother of the Steelers Super Bowl and Pro-Bowl selection Maurkice Pouncey. The Dolphins should have one hell of an offensive line after spending three of their last 8 first round selections on the O-Line. This bodes well for recently acquired RB Reggie Bush who was never really given an opportunity to be a complete back during his time in New Orleans. The rush attack ranked 21st in total yards and 29th in rushing TDs as they had just 8 as a team in 2010 but with Bush and the addition of Daniel Thomas through the Draft the ‘Phins hope to drastically improve. The passing game ranked 16th under Chad Henne and hopefully the 25 year old QB can continue to improve his numbers with more experience. Remember that as crazy as he may be the Dolphins still have WR Brandon Marshall and he has had 4 straight seasons of 1000+ receiving yards and 26 TDs during that timeframe. The Dolphins have some great players in good spots but it is all going to depend on the QB and hopefully Henne can prove he’s worth it but they did sign QB Matt Moore just in case.

Miami had a solid defense that was effective against the pass and the run but very rarely took the ball away recording just 19 TOs better than just 3 other teams. They ranked 14th in points allowed but were 6th in total yards and they were led by LB Cameron Wake and CB Vontae Davis. Wake had 14 Sacks for a team that had 38 total and no other player recorded more than 5 but He also led the team with 3 Forced Fumbles and helping the team rank 7th in rush defense. The pass defense was also helped by Wake’s play although it wouldn’t have been the same without Davis who led the team with 12 passes defended. The Dolphins were the 8th best pass defense in the league but they had just 11 total INTs which was only better than 4 other teams and TOs win games. The biggest moves the Dolphins did this off-season on defense was signing former Chargers ILB Kevin Burnett and bringing back DE/OLB Jason Taylor. Taylor just can’t seem to stay away from Miami for more than a season and he is currently the NFL’s active Sacks leader with 132.5 and Miami is hoping the 36 year old still has something in the tank.

The Dolphins are a team that could surprise people, they have some solid players that are somewhat unknown to the average NFL fan. Their offense needs to improve immensely and they have brought in some players that could very well accomplish those goals, but I can’t reiterate how much pressure is on QB Chad Henne’s shoulders right now. I think that the Dolphins could steal a game away from the Jets or Patriots but still think they are a couple players away from making the push to battle for a division title. I think that the Dolphins and HC Tony Sparano are going to have their 3rd straight season at 7-9 and the Dolphins will be behind New England and New York.

Key Arrivals: S Gerald Alexander, RB Larry Johnson, ILB Marvin Mitchell, OT Ray Willis, QB Kevin O’Connell, OT Marc Colombo, DE/OLB Jason Taylor, DT Ronald Fields, ILB Kevin Burnett, QB Matt Moore, RB Reggie Bush, LB Jason Trusnik.

Key Re-Signings: OL Nate Garner, DT Tony McDaniel.

Key Departures: S Gerald Alexander, CB Will Allen, RB Larry Johnson, OT Ray Willis, FB Lousaka Polite, TE Joey Haynos, RB Patrick Cobbs, RB Ricky Williams, OG Pat McQuistan, RB Ronnie Brown, LB Channing Crowder, QB Tyler Thigpen.


New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have been the most consistent team in the NFL during the 00’s and it’s all has to do with their Head Coach and General Manager Bill Belichick. Belichick took the HC job in 2000 and was 5-11 during his first year, since then the Patriots have won 3 Super Bowls and haven’t won less than 9 games posting the best record 14-2 in 2010. The Patriots do have a phenomenal regular season record, even going 16-0, but even in their near perfect season they lost in the SB to the Giants. Belichick and the Patriots were 9-0 through their first 3 Playoffs together but since then they are 5-5 including that huge disappointment against Peyton’s baby bro. New England has become a systematic machine and it doesn’t really matter what pieces Belichick has he always seems to make it work and the Patriots look forward to snapping their Playoff losing streak.

The New England Patriots were the highest scoring offense in the NFL scoring 518 points in the 2010 season. They ranked 8th overall in total yards but did not rely too heavily on one side of the ball. Tom Brady led the Pats to the 11th best passing offense in the league but the teams 37 passing TDs were the most in the league, 36 by Brady and 1 by Brian Hoyer during cleanup duty. Brady lost WR Randy Moss after the 4th week of the season but relied on his two Rookie TE’s who had 1100+ receiving yards and 16 TDs combined. They did acquire Deion Branch from Seattle in the middle of the year to help replace Moss and an ailing WR Wes Welker. The Patriots went out and got Chad Ochocinco this offseason hoping he can help make their passing attack even better. The Patriots found a  couple of great RBs in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead who helped New England rank in the top 10 in rushing yards and scored the 2nd most rushing TDs. The “Law Firm” started in just 11 games but finished the year with more than 1000 yards rushing and 13 TDs, while Woodhead acted as the change of pace back that tallied over 500 rushing yards and another 5 TDs.

New England’s defense is not the Patriot platoon of the past and they seem to have a bend but don’t break mentality. They ranked 25th in yards allowed but ranked 8th in points allowed and that has a lot to do with them destroying teams and having their opponents throw the ball regularly in an attempt to get back in the game. They ranked 11th in rush defense but ranked 30th in pass defense but they are a better defense than the numbers indicate. Although they allowed a lot of yards through the passing game they had the 2nd most takeaways in the league with the most INTs 25 and 7th most Fumbles Recovered with 13. The Patriots and Belichick surprised some when they decided to roll the dice on DT Albert Haynesworth and gave up a 5th round pick in 2013 to acquire the disgruntled Redskin. They hope that Haynesworth will play more like he did in Tennessee rather than the way he did in Washington but know that he will help improve their rush defense. They didn’t bring in too many players from free-agency but will look to get a lot out of Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling their 2nd round pick from the 2010 Draft. New England did surprise a lot of people when they decided to cut SS Brandon Merriweather who seemed to have played his way into Belichick’s dog house and never getting out,

New England is a phenomenal team and play in a top heavy division, but last season they lost 3 games, twice in the regular season and once in the Playoffs. The New York Jets were the team to give the Patriots their first and last loss in the 2010 season knocking them down a peg in week 2 and kicking them out of the tournament during the Wild Card round. The Patriots did kick the Jets asses 45-3 when they did Win their game at home against New York. New England is looking to bounce back and they will be one of the most productive teams in the NFL in 2011 but they must prove that they are able to win again when it counts. Tom Brady has the offense to be extremely versatile and dangerous but the Patriots need their defense to not force the Brady Bunch to score so much. I have the Patriots winning the AFC East with a 12-4 record but there is no clear choice between New England and the New York Jets.

Key Arrivals: OG Brian Waters, TE Garrett Mills, LB Ricky Brown, S James Ihedigbo, MLB Niko Koutouvides, DE Andre Carter, DE Shaun Ellis, DE Mark Anderson, OG Chris Morris, DL Steve Williams, DT Albert Haynesworth, WR Chad Ochocinco.

Key Re-Signings: DE Gerard Warren, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LT Matt Light, LB Tracy White, S Brandon McGowan, RB Kevin Faulk,, OG Logan Mankins.

Key Departures: SS Brandon Meriweather, WR Brandon Tate, RB Sammy Morris, LB Niko Koutouvides, TE Garrett Mills, SS James Sanders, OG Chris Morris, S Brandon McGowan, S Jarrad Page, K Shayne Graham, DL Ty Warren, LB Ryan Coulson, TE Alge Crumpler, OT Nick Kaczur, CB Tony Carter, DT Marcus Stroud, OLB Tully Banta-Cain.

New York Jets

Seriously WTF?

The New York Jets are a completely different team under Head Coach Rex Ryan and the J-E-T-S had their best regular season since the 1998 Bill Parcells team, finishing 11-5. The Jets made it to the AFC for the second straight season but as much as they have knocked on the front door they still haven’t kicked it down. New York does not want to be the AFC version of the Philadelphia Eagles of the 00’s and knows that getting close only counts in horse-shoes and hand grenades. New York was one of the best team in the NFL after week 12 with a 9-2 record and were competing with the Patriots for the best record in the league and AFC but the Jets stumbled into the finish line losing 3 of their last 5 games.

New York is a run heavy offense that had the 2nd most rush attempts in the NFL and the 4th most rushing yards and a LaDainian Tomlinson played a huge part in that. Tomlinson came in and took the starting job from Shonn Greene and rushed for over 900 yards and 6 TDs on 219 carries, but the veteran fell off a cliff during the second part of the season. LT had more than 15 rush attempts just once after week9 and scored just a single TD and their lack of a running game could be why they finished 2-3 to complete the 2010 regular season. The Jets need to have QB Mark Sanchez perform in the regular season like he does in the Playoffs. Sanchez averages less than 200 yards, 1 TD and over 1 INT and completes about 54 percent of his regular season passes but during the Playoffs he completes over 60 percent of his passes and averages 200 yards and 1.5 TDs and 0.5 INTs a game. New York signed WR Plaxico Burress straight out of prison and plan to play him alongside WR Santonio Holmes and ex-Ravens WR Derrick Mason.

The Jets have been known for their defensive prowess and lived up to the expectations put upon them by their coaching staff and the media. New York ranked 6th in points allowed and 3rd in yards allowed and could completely shut down an opponent’s offense holding their opponents to 14 points or less 7 times. Darrelle Revis missed 3 games early in the year but he and the Jets ranked 6th in pass defense but gave up 24 passing TDs which ranked 19th. New York ranked 3rd in rush defense and allowed just 11 rushing TDs while forcing 18 Fumbles Lost the 2nd most in the league. The Jets improved their defense even more when they Drafted Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson and Hampton NT Kenrick Ellis in the first and second rounds respectively. Ellis however is a Jamaican born player who faces a felony assault charge in Virginia that faces up to 20 years in prison, although he has received a continuance and will be able to play in 2011, but may possibly be put in prison and deported upon his release if he is convicted.

I know that the New York Jets are good enough to win the AFC East but I feel that New England is a more complete team but that doesn’t mean they won’t make the Playoffs. The Jets want to incorporate a passing game into their offensive game-plan but is Mark Sanchez a good enough QB to make the throws necessary to be able to rely on his arm. I think that the Jets should stick with what has worked in the pass a solid defense and a run first pass when you have to offense, except have RB Shonn Greene be your workhorse and sprinkle in LT. I think the Jets are going to win some big games but they have a difficult division and play some tough games away from home but will still finish the season 11-5 just behind the Patriots.

Key Arrivals: QB Kevin O’Connell, WR Derrick Mason, WR Plaxico Burress, CB Donald Strickland, P Chris Bryan.

Key Re-Signings: S Brodney Pool, CB Antonio Cromartie, S Eric Smith, K Nick Folk, OT Wayne Hunter, WR Santonio Holmes, C Robert Turner.

Key Departures: OLB Aaron Maybin, S James Ihedigbo, DE Shaun Ellis, WR Braylon Edwards, CB Drew Coleman, WR Brad Smith, QB Kellen Clemens, P Steve Weatherford.

 

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. greenizgreat says:

    I am so excited!! Sounds like I am going to be a happy girl again this year!! Well done Kodi!! I’ll spread the word .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s