Monday, July 21, 2008
Walker-Sports AFC East Preview
As we all eagerly wait on the upcoming football season, let’s continue our look around the NFL, today we will switch conferences and take a look at the AFC East. There’s a lot going on in this division, but it’s pretty straight forward to guess what the outcome of this conference will be.
New England Patriots: 17-1 pretty damn good unless that one lost came in the biggest game of the year. Everyone knows the story of the Patriots, and you can believe they will use the disappointment at the end of the story as fuel to climb back to the top of the mountain in 08. The Patriots will go to battle with the usual cast of characters. Their offense will have the same quick pace and explosive scoring ability as it did last season. I doubt they will break scoring records like last season, but they will not struggle to get into the endzone. Look for the Pats to change it up the attack plan just a bit this season. They will move Moss around and get him into the slot and let Welker play the outside. While this will cut into Welker’s numbers it will open up more opportunities for Moss. It will be hard for a defense to get a corner and a safety on him when he comes out of the slot where a nickel back or a linebacker would typically be the first line of defense.
On the defensive side the Pats lost some talent in the secondary with the departure of Ashanti Samuel. However, they were very active in free agency and have found very good replacements and in typical Patriots fashion it will cost the franchise a lot less cash. The biggest pickup in the off season has to be drafting Jerod Mayo at linebacker. Mayo will make an instant impact which the Patriots need since their ageing linebacking core was actually the wink link on their defense last season.
The Patriots will be ale to tear through this weak division and once again take home the title. Division Title that is.
New York Jets: The Jets barely fall into this second spot, and it does not mean they will have a successful all around season. The Jets have questions at QB and they have a bunch of new faces on the offensive line. They are some very talented faces and a solid mix of veterans and young guys. The upside is if the line can gel together, the Jets can potentially make a stable offense, and that could be enough.
Two seasons ago the Jets began to put together a solid defense and while they backtracked a little last season, they will look to rebound in 08. Their defense is good enough to keep them in a lot of games this season, especially when you look around the rest of the division.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills could easily be a huge surprise in 2008, especially if Trent Edwards can completely grasp the system and the league. Last year Edwards burst onto the scene and he showed lot of promise and there is no doubt he will build and grow this season. If he can progress, the Bills have the weapons on offense to make some noise. Marshawn Lynch was a stud in the back field and he will only improve now that he has a better understanding of the blocking schemes and the tempo of the game. Lee Evans is a deep threat receiver who had a down year last season due to erratic play at the QB position. If Edwards can settle down and deliver the ball then Evans could feast from the improved play and have a breakout year.
Miami Dolphins: They went out and drafted the cheapest number one draft pick available. But Jake Long should be able to anchor the line for a long time to come. Too bad no one has a clue who will be under center. What the Dolphins do have going for them is Ronnie Brown. He is a tough runner who can get solid yardage on every carry. If Miami can keep him healthy during the season he will help to jump start what was a terrible (say it like Charles Barkley) offense last season.
The one thing Miami has going for them entering next season is the Big Tuna. That’s right Bill Parcells has taken over and he is already making his presence felt. Parcells put Jason Taylor on notice and he has the Dolphins on notice from front office to towel boy. If nothing else, Parcells running the show will insure that everyone puts their best foot forward. He will make the Dolphins raise their level of play unfortunately that level just wont be good enough.