Here are my explanations for my AFC East Predictions. I will repost the standings for the division and then give a little team by team breakdown to explain my reasoning for the specific record.
New England Patriots...13-3
New York Jets................7-9
New England Patriots
As usual, the New England Patriots will have no problem winning the AFC East. Tom Brady has more weapons to play with this year than last year. His two headed tight end monster of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are a scary combo. Running back Steven Ridley is poised to improve on a good 2011 campaign. Brandon Lloyd joins Wes Welker to form a great one two punch at receiver. This offense will be able to take over games. There are still questions on the defensive side, but the offense along with schemes from head coach Bill Belichick should be enough to cancel out most problems.
So, which Buffalo Bills will show up this season? Will it be the one that started 2011 6-2 or will it be the one that ended the same season 1-7? I think it will be somewhere in between. It sounds like a cop out, but that is how I see it. Part of Buffalo's problems stemmed from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's wild inconsistency. I don't see that getting much better. The other problem was on the defense side of the football. The Bills addressed that, in part, by signing defensive end Mario Williams to a six year contract potentially worth $100 million. Another plus for the Bills is their backfield combo. I think Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller are two solid running backs. With a reasonable schedule in their favor, I like the Bills to finish second in the division.
New York Jets
I think the New York Jets are in trouble this season. They have huge offensive problems. I know the preseason is not necessarily an indicator of things to come, but the Jets couldn't score a touchdown until late in the final preseason game. As if that is not bad enough, quarterback Mark Sanchez has the additional pressure of Tim Tebow waiting in the wings. It won't take many performances like the ones in the preseason for New York to start clamoring for a switch to Tebow. Adding to the Jets woes is running back Shonn Greene. He will either have a bounce back year or decline further with early money on the latter. The Jets tried to address some issues at receiver by drafting Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerly, but I am not sure either will be ready to contribute as the Jets need them to this year. Defensively, the Jets seem to be declining outside of Darrelle Revis. I think .500 is the best the Jets are looking at this year.
I think the Miami Dolphins are in for a long year. I am not sold on new head coach Joe Philbin. I think his treatment of Chad Johnson and David Garrard set a poor tone in regards to unity in the locker room. That is not to approve of Johnson’s actions, but to speak of the culture in the locker room of sticking by a player until the full story comes out. In seeing parts of HBO's Hard Knocks, Philbin came off as a guy looking to be a star rather than a coach looking to improve a team and win games. The Dolphins are also starting rookie Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. In general that is usually not a key to success. Add in the fact that I am not sold on Tannehill as an NFL quarterback and the Dolphins will be seller dwellers in the AFC East.