Could this be the end to Rex Ryan in New York? Is Tom Brady on the decline? E.J. Manuel has the most dangerous receiver in the division but will it be enough? Will Ryan Tannehill ever be elite? Judging by preseason he doesn’t appear to be set for a record breaking season, but the Dolphins are in a crucial year and certainly not rebuilding. Mike Wallace has yet to become dangerous in this division and the defensive draft picks have still not taken a step towards dominance. Tom Brady remains consistently great year in year out but has fell short of a Super Bowl since 2007. But defensive star power has been added to an already top 10 defense and the Patriots are imagining Super bowl or failed season. Rex Ryan has not reached the AFC championship since 2010, and everyone knows the one year extension he signed does not guarantee his job next season. The fate of Rex and the Jets may rely upon who plays more at Quarterback between Vick and Geno Smith.
New England Patriots (14-2)
Add Revis plus Browner to a team that was already upper echelon and it equals a Super Bowl ticket. These guys cannot guarantee you a championship alone, but they can get you a ticket to the game. I am positive Tom Brady would love an opportunity to prove himself against an opponent not name Eli Manning. Last year, outside of Julian Edleman, Brady’s weapons were either rookie’s or first year players in the Belichick offense. If that is not enough to convince you Brady is due for a 13 win season then maybe a healthy Gronk [Gronkowski] will. This is the finest roster Owner Robert Kraft has had in years, and we know that when Tom Brady is given talent, especially on both sides of the football yields success in New England.
Buffalo Bills (10-6)
I have seen enough from E.J. Manuel to know that he is capable of winning games in this league. We could not give him a fair analysis in his rookie season due to lingering injuries but expect improvements in his sophomore campaign. Bills General Manager has worked extremely hard with stockpiling this roster with talented, tall, skilled, and fast weapons who can stretch the field. Then to add Watkins to an already deep core of receivers gives Manuel no excuses for large passing numbers. The loss of Byrd at Safety will hurt early on against the Bears and the Dolphins, but the front seven have looked particularly solid in preseason and if Keith Rivers and Nigel Bradham can step up to feel the shoes that Kiko Alonso left than the Bills will be competing most likely with Pittsburgh, Houston, and San Diego for the last wild card spot.
New York Jets (7-9)
When news broke that Michael Vick was coming to New York, I made a case for the Jets to immediately challenge Brady and Peyton in the AFC. I made the case under the pretense that Vick would be promptly made the starter on a team that acquired Eric Decker and Chris Johnson and it would only be right to let a veteran lead other veterans on team which is on the brink of being a contender. But instead we had a summer fiasco of Vick given the ‘veteran scrub positive mentor’ role in the Jets locker room, and Geno being handed a team in a crucial year that everyone’s job is riding on. While Quinton Coples, and Muhammad Wilkerson continue to provide blueprints on how to play defensive line, the secondary is inexperienced. Dee Milliner and Calvin Pryor’s youth could stop this team short a few wins needed to reach the playoffs
Miami Dolphins (5-11)
Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill attempt to make strides in their 3rd season together. Mike Wallace has not panned out as expected and the newly acquired Knowshon Moreno appears to be second on the depth chart behind Lamar Miller. All can’t be blamed on the Head Coach, amidst an Incognito/Martin scandal that provided a dark cloud over the season. The Dolphins did not dominate their opponent in any one area of football, they managed to be just “average” across the board. There is no indication that this season will be any different from the previous 3 or 4 seasons in Miami, and no playoffs this year will all but secure Philbin’s coaching vacancy in South Beach.
Spiller is a well known target in every coaches meeting prior to competing against the Bills. But in Spiller’s first 4 seasons he has only surpassed 1,000 yards rushing once. I fully expect for Spiller to be the feature to the Bills offense. Fantasy owners need to understand that CJ is set to have a breakout campaign that will leave him among the top 5 rushers in the NFL. He has an uncanny ability to make people miss in open space, and he is vital in the passing attack for E.J. manuel. Get used to hearing E.J. to C.J.!
Calvin’s on field persona is very similar to another hard hitting safety D.J. Swearinger. He likes to play midfield, closer to the line of scrimmage so that he can be active in both run defense and deliver big hits in the intermediate passing attack. Pryor’s eagerness and lack of discipline to the pass is the only thing that separates him from Defensive rookie of the year. If he can remain healthy enough to contribute early, we know that Rex will integrate him into a starter earlier than later in the season. But with two inexperienced corners already, Calvin will be highly depended upon by Rex to lead this defensive back unit.
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