Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pats Will Win the AFC East

The East will be one of the best divisions in the AFC this football season. The defending Super Bowl Champs could be even better than they were last season and the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins will be 10 plus win teams as well. Here is a team by team break down of the AFC East.

BUFFALO BILLS projected finish 11-5 (2nd)

Key Question Who will play QB?
Shane Matthews or Kelly Holcomb? Holcomb signed a four year deal during the off-season and may have a better upside than Matthews. Obviously the QB position is crucial to a team's success (ask the Dolphins) so the coaching staff has a major decision to make. The Bills are solid other wise on offense. The running back feud between Travis Henry and Willis McGahee needs to come to an end, and it could with a trade. Lee Evans and Eric Moulds will be good targets for who ever plays QB.

On the defensive side of the ball the Bills are very solid. The defensive line is anchored by Sam Adams and London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes lead a strong linebacker corps. In the secondary Nate Clements is a good corner and Lawyer Milloy is still one of the best safeties in the game.

KEY LOSSES: QB Drew Bledsoe
KEY Signings: QB Kelly Holcomb

MIAMI DOLPHINS projected finish 10-6 (3rd)

Key QuestionsWho will play QB? What happens with Ricky Williams?

New coach, new attitude still no Quarterback. The Dolphins signed Gus Frerotte who will compete with AJ Feeley for the starting QB spot. Feeley has the experience as a Dolphin, but Frerotte is the new guy and those seem to be the most popular QB's in Miami.

Behind the QB Ronnie Brown should be an improvement at the running back spot. Ricky Williams is supposed to be back and that should make things interesting. With an improved running game the passing game should develop this season. Chris Chambers is an explosive receiver and Marty Booker is a good possession receiver. A healthy David Boston will increase the passing threat as well. If the offensive line can hold up the Dolphins should be able to score this season and take pressure off the defense.

On the Defensive line Kevin Carter and Vonnie Holliday will take pressure off of Jason Taylor and allow him to get to the QB more often. Keith Traylor is a good addition to the line as well.

The linebackers will be solid as usual led by Zach Thomas and Junior Seau look for rookie Channing Crowder to make an impact there as well.

In the secondary Mario Edwards will try to fill the shoes of Pat Surtain opposite of Sam Madison and Tebucky Jones will be solid at safty.

KEY LOSSES: S Arturo Freeman, LB Marlon Greenwood, S Sammy Knight, FB Rob Konrand, CB Pat Surtain, S Shawn Wooden.

KEY SIGNINGS: DE Kevin Carter, CB Mario Edwards, QB Gus Frerotte, DE Vonnie Holliday, S Tebucky Jones, DT Keith Traylor.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS projected finish 13-3 (1st)
Key QuestionHow will the Departure of Charlie Weis affect the offense?

New England could be the best team in football and they are young. I don't think the departure of Weis will change anything. Tom Brady is quickly becoming one of the best QB's to play the gane and Corey Dillon has found a place where he is happy. They did a great job at keeping players and will start the season with just about everyone who played in the Super Bowl still on their roster. When you add WR David Terrell to the receiving corps and Chad Brown at linebacker the 2005 Patriots will be just as strong as they were last season if not stronger.

KEY LOSSES: CB Ty Law, LB Roman Phifer
KEY SIGNINGS: LB Chad Brown, WR/KR Tim Dwight, KR Chad Morton, WR David Terrell.

NEW YORK JETS projected finish 8-8 (4th)

Key QuestionDoes Curtis Martin need to carry this team?

I don't think he has to carry them but he does have to be a major contributor. With the departure of LaMont Jordan the Jets are not as deep as they were last season at the running back position. A healthy Chad Pennington will be a welcome sight, but who is he going to throw the ball to? Tight end Anthony Becht which leaves Laveranues Coles and Wayne Chrebet as the best receivers on the worst receiving corps in the east.

The real question for the 2005 Jets are on defense. They picked up linebacker Kenyatta Wright but they lost Sam Cowart and DT Jason Ferguson. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end John Abraham have all-pro potential but they are the only ones on this defensive unit.

KEY LOSSES: TE Anthony Becht, LB Sam Cowart, DT Jason Fergusen, RB Lamont Jordan, WR Santana Moss, S Reggie Tongue.

KEY SIGNINGS: RB Derrick Blaylock, LB Kenyatta Wright.

AFC East Predictions
New England 13-3
Buffalo 11-5
Miami 10-6
NY Jets 8-8