Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 NFL AFC East Preview

As we approach the month of August, NFL training camps will begin to open in preparation for the coming season. We will preview all eight divisions and help you get up to speed with all the information needed before they kickoff in September. Today, we will preview the AFC East, and wonder if it is too early to pencil in the New England Patriots for this season’s Super Bowl. Or is the real race in this division for second place between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins?

In order of finish:

1. New England Patriots
The Patriots are coming off an 11-win, non-playoff season, in which they lost their top talent evaluator Scott Poli to Kansas City, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to Denver and they’re still considered the favorite to win the division. Why? Well, Bill Belichick is still at the helm. The Patriots offense should return to Super Bowl form, with Tom Brady returning to the starting lineup after sitting out all last season with a knee injury. Their biggest opponent for the upcoming season could be age, as 20 players on the current roster are 28 years old or older.

2. Miami Dolphins
Bill Parcells revived football back in South Beach, and the Dolphins won a division title last season. His philosophy for successful was simple, they needed to find a quarterback with a low-turnover ratio. Chad Pennington, exiled from New York, managed the game right by making few mistakes and executing enough big plays to lead the Dolphins to an 11-win season. This year’s reclamation project is the return of Jason Taylor to Miami after an injury-plagued year with the Washington Redskins last season. The Big Tuna is hoping for resurgence in Taylor’s career, as he averaged 10 sacks a season in his 11 year career.

3. New York Jets
Life was good for the Jets last November; they secured road wins over the Patriots and Tennessee Titans in back-to-back weeks, as they were heading towards a post-season berth. Then, their luck abruptly ended in December. After a disappointing conclusion to their season, head coach Eric Mangini was fired and QB Brett Favre retired. The Jets front office quickly went back to work to establish a new identity for their franchise. They hired Rex Ryan as head coach and traded up in the NFL Draft to secure the rights to QB Mark Sanchez from USC. Ryan made no friends within the division, especially after his comments on the Patriots ‘mystique. The Jets will field a strong, athletic 3-4 defense, anchored by the free agent acquisitions of LB Bart Scott and CB Lito Sheppard. Their success will depend heavily on the play from the quarterback position, as the big question remains is Sanchez ready for the big time after starting only 16 collegiate games.

4. Buffalo Bills
Please enjoy the new soap opera series entitled “As the Buffalo Bill Turns,” as we see if Terrell Owens can be happy in the snowy community of Buffalo, N.Y.? This will be the biggest story in the NFL this season, as a talented team could turn into a disarray group by season’s end. The powder keg of TO could be set off if QB Trent Edwards continues will his poor decision-making on the field that plagued him all last season.

Written By Thomas Conroy