Yes, football fans, you can all let out a collective sigh of relief. Football season is around the corner.
And in celebration of that very fact, I think it’s time we take a look at some of the divisional competition. For the last ten straight years, a last place team has risen to win the division and make the playoffs. Will this season make 11? Will the Ravens be able to defend their AFC reign, and more importantly, their championship status? Each edition in this series at Locker Room Update will feature a division. Let’s start by looking at the AFC EAST.
The Patriots may have Tom Brady throwing himself the football this year. Following the trade of Wes Welker, losing Gronkowski repeatedly to injuries, and Hernandez’ arrest, the Patriots don’t necessarily look primed to remain AFC favorites.
Still, take a glimpse around the rest of the division.
The Jets are in the midst of an complete franchise overhaul, as the quarterback competition continues to draw the most attention. It will likely be at least another year before they can become a potential playoff threat. Don’t count them out for the Wild Card next year though.
The Bills have their own questions at quarterback, but will likely end up putting the pigskin in the hands of first-round pick, E.J. Manuel. Therein, the problem lies for Buffalo. Some fans are confident the young signal-caller can amount to a solid starting quarterback, but I have my doubts. He played in a weak conference, and the stats don’t exactly bewilder the average passerby. Especially when he had such a formidable defensive to keep him in all his close games.
The Dolphins are an interesting case, and could be an exciting team to watch this year. I’m going to rule out the division for them, but a Wild Card isn’t out of immediate reach in a separated AFC. The team has brought in Mike Wallace and has found a new name for its defense in Dion Jordan.
I’m certainly still going with the New England Patriots for the division title, but it might be a bit closer than it was last year.
New England Patriots: 11-5
Miami Dolphins: 9-7
New York Jets: 5-11
Buffalo Bills: 3-13