National Football League
The AFC East is home to one of the NFL’s best teams—the New England Patriots. The division, which is one of the least competitive, also includes the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. One positive note regarding the AFC East—all four teams have improved, including the already superior Pats. Here’s what the division looks like as the 2008-2009 season approaches.
The New England Patriots field superior squads on both sides of the ball. The Brady-Moss connected is unrivaled. The Pats’ offensive line is comprised of tough, smart, fast players. The running game looks healthier than it did in 2007. Because they are so deep, it’s tough for most teams to match-up with them. Coach Bill Belichick is one of the best in the NFL. He’s never happy with finishing first, so finishing second in the Super Bowl (a.k.a. losing) will probably drive him to be Captain Ahab-like as he hunts for the team’s next championship.
Although it’s easy to pick the top team in the AFC East, the second-place club is not as easy to determine. The New York Jets have worked hard in the off-season to improve their weak defense and have done a fine job doing so. For the offense, it’s essential that Chad Pennington stay healthy. He’s smart and seasoned but has been prone to injury lately. An improved run defense will help the Jets stay in the game.
In the past five years, the Buffalo Bills have averaged 6.8 wins per season. That’s not enough to make it to the playoffs. In fact, the team hasn’t been to the post-season in eight seasons. In the AFC East, the Bills benefited the most from the 2008 NFL Draft. The team also made some fine moves in the free-agent market. DT John McCargo, the team’s 2006 first round pick, looks ready to have a breakout season.
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