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Four analysts, four questions: AFC East
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Four analysts, four questions: AFC East
September 8th, 2010 | Author: admin
Now it’s time for the AFC East in our series of division-centric season preview Q and As.
The AFC East shapes up as a three-team race for supremacy, and those three teams are fairly easy to identify: Buffalo, Buffalo and Buffalo.
This kind of analysis is why we get paid the big bucks!
Who‘s your breakout player for 2010?
Khaled Elsayed: If a back like Thomas Jones (who ranked 45th overall in our rushing rankings) can pick up 1,402 yards, then what can the infinitely more explosive Shonn Greene do? Greene looked a much more productive option during the stretch so with a whole season behind him it’s only really injury and sharing the load that will prevent him putting up some monster numbers.
Neil Hornsby: The most obvious guy in this division would be Miami pass-rusher Cameron Wake, who just seems to get pressure at will. He will need to get used to playing the run but even if he’s simply adequate there and gets to stay on the field more as a result, he could end up with 60+ pressures (sacks, hits and hurries).
Ben Stockwell: With Nick Kaczur’s season ending injury and Logan Mankins’ contract dispute, Dan Connolly has the chance to turn his spot duty form into solid full-time play. Connolly was good blocking for run and pass and was penalty-free on 420 snaps to boot.
Sam Monson: With Brandon Marshall replacing the snaps of Greg Camarillo (so-so) and Ted Ginn (terrible), I think that Chad Henne‘s natural progression is going to be enhanced even more. He was excellent in the second half and shows no signs of slowing down with an excellent pass blocking line in front of him.
The over-under lines for season win totals in the division are: New York Jets, 9.5, New England, 9.5, Miami, 8.5 and Buffalo, 5. On which team would you put your theoretical $100?
Neil: In a move that will upset Bills fans everywhere I’m going under on Buffalo. I just can’t see them living with the other teams in this division.
Khaled: I’d take the Dolphins over 8.5. They had a ridiculously hard schedule last year, lost some close games and upgraded their team during the offseason. I think I may just go and drop some dollars on that.
Ben: Jets, over 9.5. Super Bowl hopes rest upon Mark Sanchez, but the running game and run defense should ensure double-digit wins unless Sanchez collapses in his second season.
Sam: Miami at 8.5? Take the over. Miami is my dark horse for the Super Bowl. Their offense is talented and balanced, the D is young, but has some skills. They’re good for nine wins or better.
What do you see as the positional strength of the division?
Neil: We ranked the offensive lines of Jets, Dolphins and Patriots as No. 1, No. 2 & No. 3 respectively. Obviously the Bills at No. 30 spoil it a bit, but still it is quite remarkable.
Khaled: I really like the wide receivers in this division, especially with the addition of Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins. Buffalo (as is the case with many spots) lets the division down, but look at all the other teams. The Jets have three genuine No. 1 receivers, the Pats have Wes Welker and Randy Moss, while the Dolphins have a set of receiver so good they can trade away the sure-handed Greg Camarillo. All units are utterly stacked. OK, except Buffalo.
Sam: I second Neil’s notion: O-lines. Buffalo’s offensive line in this division is like John, Paul, George and nobody.
Ben: Offensive line. Yes, the Bills are an unfortunate exception but the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins make up for it.
Who is going to make the playoffs from the division, and do they have a shot to win it all?
Khaled: This may be the toughest of all divisions to predict. The Jets have so much star power, but the questions at quarterback really stop you buying into them 100 percent. It’s not so much that Sanchez can’t win games, but I wonder if he may cost the Jets some games. You just feel the Pats’ offense is going to be special again this year, but special enough to compensate for that defense? So I’m going with Miami. They look the most complete team at the right spots though they may just be missing a playmaker on defense that helps them step up. I’ll flip a coin and say the Pats make it into the playoffs as runner-up, with the Jets’ quarterback issues costing them dearly. I don’t see a Super Bowl winner in this division unless Sanchez becomes a player I’m not sure he’s ready to be yet.
Neil: The Jets will go through as divisional champions, with the Dolphins joining them as a wild-card team. New York, with Santonio Holmes back from suspension and Mark Sanchez getting another year of experience to the good, certainly will have a good shot at winning it all from here.
Sam: Miami and the Jets will both be there.
Ben: Jets and Patriots. If playoff Sanchez shows up, the Jets are a legit contender. The Patriots will continue to win games on offense but unless players step up that defense will let them down again come playoff time.
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