Ah, the AFC East, this year with 100 percent less murderers (allegedly). Home of the Patriots and their dynasty ways, the up and coming Dolphins, the potentially surprising Bills and… the Jets. Where Brady reigns supreme, Tannehill’s wife is still smoking hot and Fragile Fred Jackson might just save my fantasy team again (but probably not).
New England Patriots
Coach: Bill Bellichek
What’s there to really say about the Patriots? They’re probably going to be awesome (again). Bellichek is going to be shady. Gisele will yell at the other players’ wives about their husbands. And every Patriot-hater is going to talk about how the team isn’t that good while they dominate their way through another NFL season.
The offense is going to be studly as always. Tom Brady is going to throw for a bunch of yards (again). No one is going to rush for that many yards (again, no matter how much people love Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen) and maybe Rob Gronkowski will go back to sleeping with porn stars and scoring touchdowns instead of breaking his legs.
The defense will be pretty decent with the likes of Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Chandler Jones. A relatively cake schedule should make the Patriots’ season all the more fun to watch for their fans and just as miserable for everyone else. The Pats will continue to have solid but not spectacular special teams as always.
Notable Losses: G Logan Mankins, CB Aqib Talib, RB LeGarrette Blount, S Adrian Wilson
Notable Additions: CB Darrelle Revis, DE Will Smith, CB Brandon Browner
Notable Draft Picks: DT Dominique Easley, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, RB James White
2013 Record: 12-4, AFC East Champions
AFC East Record: 4-2
Best Case Scenario: 14-2, AFC Champion
Never doubt the New England Patriots. Bellichek is likely part robot and feasts on AFC East opponents. The toughest matchups the Patriots face are the Denver Broncos at home, Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis and the Green Bay Packers at Green Bay. They don’t face any of these opponents until Week Nine, so there’s a likely chance they start the season 8-0. Other tough but easily winnable matchups include the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers. This team could easily win 14 games.
Worst Case Scenario: 11-5, AFC Wild Card
There’s no way this team doesn’t win at least 11 games, let alone miss the playoffs. China is more likely to embrace democracy. Trust me I checked the Vegas lines.
Coach: Joe Philbin
The Dolphins finished out 2013 fairly strong considering they were embroiled in some locker room controversy surrounding a 300-pound baby and another 300-pound possible racist. But now the locker room is free of bullies and babies and Coach Joe Philbin is looking to take the team to the next level.
Of course that’s easier said than done. The offense is still in shambles in a lot of places. Tannehill looks like he might be decent, but this is the year to prove that. Dude’s gotta quit throwing to the other team. The offensive line has completely been retooled after Jonathon “Big Baby” Martin and Richie “Yeah I Said Racist Stuff, But I’m Not Racist” Incognito. And maybe we can get excited about Knowshon Moreno, but probably not. If Mike Wallace breaks out at receiver and Brian Hartline continues to play well, this team might stand a chance.
Defensively, the Dolphins have to take their middle-of-the-road defense and challenge the Pats. Olivier Vernon, Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick will continue to dominate. Losing veteran NT Paul Soliai sucks, but oh, well. Brent Grimes is a baller.
Oh, and they can’t lose to the Bills twice in a season. Come on, guys.
2013 Record: 8-8, 3rd in AFC East
AFC East Record: 2-4
Notable Losses: G Richie Incognito, NT Paul Soliai, S Chris Clemons
Notable Additions: RB Knowshon Moreno, OT Branden Albert, CB Courtland Finnegan
Notable Draft Picks: OT JaWuan James, WR Jarvis Landry, G Billy Turner
Best Case Scenario: 11-5, AFC East Champion
The believer in me wants to think this team is going to perform well. All the pieces appear to be there. Tannehill keeps improving. Maybe they’ll have a decent run game. The defense is getting better. All the makings of a good, but not yet great squad.
Worst Case Scenario: 6-10
Then again, they play in the Patriots’ division and have some tough games this year, including two against the Pats, Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos and Ravens. Definitely not the easiest road for a team that could still have a lot of question marks.
Coach: Doug Marrone
What’s that? The Bills hired a coach from a mid-level FBS team with a .500 record? Typical Bills. Just trying to muck up a good thing. There are also the persistent rumors of moving to Toronto now that Ralph Wilson passed away. A Canadian football team? Yeah, like that will work.
Despite missing five weeks last season, EJ Manuel faired alright for a rookie. Not great, but decent enough considering it is the Bills we’re talking about here. I’ll never lose confidence in Fred Jackson at runningback again. Sure, CJ Spiller is there, but he’s nothing more than a change-of-pace back.
Too bad Manuel might not have anyone to throw to. Stevie Johnson is gone. Sammy Watkins is a rookie and while he’s been making some noise in the preseason, let’s see how he fares during an NFL game. They’ve also got Mike Williams (the crazy one) and Robert Woods. So… yay?
Maybe Marcell Dareus will quit smoking weed and racing cars to actually try and play football. I want to believe in Jerry Hughes, but again, the Bills. Good thing Kyle and Mario Williams are studs. Signing Keith Rivers and Brandon Spikes will help, but Kiko Alonso shredding his knee is a setback.
2013 Record: 6-10, 4th in AFC East
AFC East Record: 3-3
Notable Losses: WR Stevie Johnson, S Jairus Byrd
Notable Additions: WR Mike Williams, LB Keith Rivers, LB Brandon Spikes
Notable Draft Picks: WR Sammy Watkins, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, G Cyril Richardson
Best Case Scenario: 10-6, AFC Wild Card
Maybe, JUST MAYBE, this team will come together. Sometimes, the dominos just fall in the right places. Perhaps they can pull off something. There’s a lot of potential talent there but…
Worst Case Scenario: 3-13
It is the Bills. The only thing that ever stops them from being the most laughable team in the AFC East is the Jets.
New York Jets
Coach: Rex Ryan
Ah, another season, another year of watching the catastrophe that is the Jets. While I do think Rex Ryan is a good coach (few others could coach the garbage he has to win at all), this team is seriously devoid of any talent. How they managed a second place finish in the division last year is astounding.
Geno Smith might have passed for 3,000 yards in his rookie season, but he was way more Mark Sanchez than Joe Namath, coughing the ball up 21 times. There’s always an old Mike Vick to take over. Having Eric Decker might help, but after that it’s… Jeremy Kerley? Stephen Hill? Chris Johnson had that one good season at running back that one time. Maybe Chris Ivory or Bilal Powell will rush for something? The offensive line is good, but they don’t score touchdowns.
At least they’ve got a solid defensive line. Muhammed Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Kenrick Ellis should dominate. The linebackers aren’t bad, but there aren’t any stars there. Maybe Calvin Pryor can save the secondary, but Kyle Wilson sucks pretty hard. Jacoby Ford should be exciting on special teams. Good thing since the Jets won’t be able to score anywhere else.
2013 Record: 8-8, 2nd in AFC East
AFC East Record: 3-3
Notable Losses: QB Mark Sanchez (LOL), WR Santonio Holmes, CB Antonio Cromarte
Notable Additions: QB Mike Vick, RB Chris Johnson, WR Eric Decker
Notable Draft Picks: S Calvin Pryor, TE Jace Amaro, QB Tajh Boyd
Best Case Scenario: 8-8
Tough break Jets fans. There’s always next year.
Worst Case Scenario: 1-15
Like I said, this team sucks incredibly hard. Skinny Rex Ryan can’t save them. At least they should provide some laughs. Expect a pretty sweet highlight reel of the Jets failing hard.