2013 NFL Preview: AFC East

Patriots set to Run Away with AFC East

9/1/13 in NFL   |   jakeryanbrown   |   28 respect

The NFL season finally gets underway this week so it's that time of the year to go through each division and give out my predictions.  The AFC East is hands down the easiest division to pick a winner as the New England Patriots can take the division title before they even play.  Here's a look at how the standings should play out. 

1. New England Patriots (11-5) 

Aug 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsThere just is not enough competition in the AFC East for the New England Patriots to be concerned about.  Tom Brady is back behind center and despite the loss of Aaron Hernandez and the absence of big tight end Rob Gronkowski for a couple of weeks, this team has enough talent on offense to be just fine.  I mean c'mon it's Tom Brady, the guy makes sub-par receivers Pro Bowlers.  Brady will be throwing the ball all over the field to Danny Amendola and a plethora of other young receivers such as Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and Julian Edelman.  Not to mention, this team has five running backs that can make plays that they kept around to provide them a ton of depth in the backfield.  Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley should receive a bulk of the carries, but Leon Washington, Brandon Bolden, and LeGarrette Blount should see carries and receptions as well.  This team's offense will carry them as they usually do, but a somewhat suspect defense could stop them from an AFC title.  Expect the Patriots to run away with the AFC East though with an 11-5 record. 

2. Miami Dolphins (8-8)

The Miami Dolphins definitely got a whole lot better this offseason, but they aren't there yet.  
They gave Aug 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the first quarter of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sun Life Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports their young quarterback Ryan Tannehill some guys to throw to in Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson.  The loss of their tight end Dustin Keller for the season really puts a damper on any effectiveness down the middle of the field.  Their lack of a rushing attack will also be a reason for their lack of success after the loss of Reggie Bush.  Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas should split the carries and shouldn't give any defensive coordinators a reason to lose any sleep.  The Dolphins will be an improved squad in 2013, but not playoff caliber.  Look for Joe Philbin's squad to finish 8-8, good for second place in a weak AFC East. 

3. New York Jets (6-10)

Aug 29, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) warms up before a pre-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsThe New York Jets stole plenty of headlines this offseason for their inept offense and quarterback controversy.  While they finally made the decision to go with rookie QB Geno Smith, they still don't have anyone for the West Virginia product to throw to.  After Santonio Holmes, the Jets don't have much firepower in Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, and injury prone Kellen Winslow Jr.  They'll be running a lot with Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, and Mike Goodson, once Goodson returns in week five, but that's not a crew to write home about.  The Jets defense will get them wins this season as this team begins to rebuild and see what they got in the rookie QB.  Expect a ton of drama and plenty of backpage headline from Gang Green this season, but don't expect any better than third place and a 6-10 finish. 

4. Buffalo Bills (5-11) 

It's definitely saying something when the Buffalo Bills may be in a worse situation than the Jets at quarterback.  Their rookie QB E.J. Manuel has not been able to stay healthy.  
Their other option Kevin Aug 16, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA;  Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) throws a pass before a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY SportsKolb will miss the entire season after suffering a concussion.  Their opening day starter behind center will be undrafted rookie out of Washington State Jeff Tuel.  Who? Yeah, that's all you need to know.  EJ Manuel is expected to be back sooner than later, but the young stud won't be able to carry this team on his back.  The Bills will be handing the ball to C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson a ton this year, but their inept quarterback play and below average defense will keep the Buffalo Bills at the bottom of the AFC East with a 5-11 season. 
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