AFC East Preview

Tom Brady and the Patriots are still the class of the East.

Buffalo Bills

Doug Marrone is on the hot seat as the Bills are heading towards new ownership next season. E.J. Manuel will be in his second season under center and hoping for a breakout year. C.J. Spiller is hoping for a bounce back season and has Fred Jackson breathing down his neck if he struggles. First round pick Sammy Watkins and Roberts Woods, who came on late in 2013 will be the passing weapons for Manuel. The defensive line will be anchored by Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus and Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers will be tackling machines in the middle of the field. The secondary is anchored by Leodis McKelvin at corner but the safety position is a bit weak. The Bills have a lot of question marks on both sides of the ball and that is the reason they will fight for the bottom of the division.

The Bills need a bounce back year from C.J. Spiller.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins surprised many in 2013 when they finished 8-8. Ryan Tannehill is in his third year at the helm and needs to be more consistent for the Fish to succeed. Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno will split the carries in the Dolphins backfield until one emerges from the pack. Mike Wallace had a disappointing first season in Miami and looks to prove critics wrong, while Brian Hartline may be one of the most underrated receivers in football. Cameron Wake is a pass rushing machine up front and Dannell Ellerbe anchors the line backing corps. Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan make up solid corners but the safety position needs some help. Their defense will keep them in games, but not sure their offense can score with the big boys to get them a wild card.

Cameron Wake is a sack machine on the Dolphins defensive line.

New England Patriots

The Patriots are still the team to beat in the East. Tom Brady just keeps producing with or without the greatest supporting cast. Stevan Ridley will get the bulk of the carries in the backfield, but Shane Vereen and rookie James White will be there if he struggles. The receiving corps will be led by two speed guys in Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman and a deep threat in Kenbrell Thompkins. New England hopes for a healthy Rob Gronkowski, who is an instant game changer when on the field. Vince Wilfork is a tackling machine up front, while Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower will cause havoc navigating the middle of the field. The biggest move of the Pats off season was getting shut down corner Darrelle Revis to upgrade their secondary. The defense is much improved and with Brady the offense always finds it way through the season. The Pats should easily win the division and be a top contender in the AFC.

A healthy Rob Gronkowski makes the Patriots offense very dangerous.

New York Jets

The heat may be on Rex Ryan to win this season. Its looks like Geno Smith will start over Michael Vick but you have to think he has a short leash if he struggles. Smith does have two pro bowlers in Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson blocking for him and his new running back Chris Johnson. Johnson still has some tread left on the tires and should have a good year in New York. Eric Decker was brought in two improved the receiving corps that underachieved last year with Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. Jace Amaro will make an impact at tight end in the red zone this season. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are passing rushing beasts on the defensive line and Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace control the middle of the field at linebacker. Dee Milliner has potential to be a top corner in this league and Calvin Pryor, their first round pick is a ball hawk at safety.

Chris Johnson is heading for a bounce back season in New York.

 

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