New England Patriots (predicted 12-4)
No Welker, no Hernandez, no Brandon Lloyd, and no Danny Woodhead, and lots of question marks surrounding Gronk. Will Danny Amendola say healthy so he can be a big part of this offense, which has been a big question for him in the last few years. This offense is one of the biggest questions of the league this year.
The defense was second in the league in sacks with 37. They are trying to find that individual pass rusher that would spark the d-line and there draft pick last year, Chandler Jones, is looking to be that guy .
When it comes down to it though Bill Belichick is on the sidelines giving plays to Tom Brady in the huddle. I do think that with all these receivers out that there is a good chance that Belichek moves to a run oriented offense. he has done this before back in the early 2000s, this Patriots team was completely defensive. He saw the rising quarterback in Brady and moved over to the high flying offense that we have seen in the last few years. Maybe we see that switch back over. Maybe instead of focusing on the offense to put up points we could see them become a run heavy team and see them focus in the defense. I see them doing this, what made them one of the best offense in the league was their combination of Gronk and Hernandez in the middle, that made their passing game virtually unstoppable. And with those two pieces gone, who is going to take their spots? So without that piece, even with Brady, they have to move to run or at least 50/50.
Miami Dolphins (predicted 9-7)
The Miami Dolphins have seemed to go all in to make it tough on the Pats this year. They went out and spent a lot of money getting some new names on both sides of the ball. They went out early and brought in the best available in the free agency pool and got wide receiver Mike Wallace and Super Bowl winner linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. They didn’t stop there, on offense the got wide receiver Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller. On defense linebacker Phillip Wheeler and cornerback Brent Grimes.
This season isn’t all good news though. They had to release linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby and they lost a good tight end in Anthony Fasano. Miami also has to find a way to release star left tackle Jake Long who they lost to free agency, as well as their best cover safety Sean Smith and the great running back Reggie Bush.
The sophomore quarterback Ryan Tannehill looks to improve from a decent rookie year. The Dolphins are starting to rebuild their team and will have the opportunity to threaten New England.
Buffalo Bills (predicted 5-11)
The Bills have always had their work cut out for them in the AFC East. They don’t have their usual late season game against the Patriots. With Ryan Fitzpatrick now in Tennessee, first year coach Doug Marrone is stuck with the task of finding a new quarterback and Kevin Kolb isn’t the answer. He took a good step forward by drafting EJ Manuel out of Florida State. The rookie will be asked to take over and run the offense right away and I’m not convinced he is ready for it.
With questions at the quarterback, the defense will have to step it up and carry the team. Mario Williams needs to become the player he once was. As well as rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso will have to step up and take a key spot in the defense.
The New York J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS (predicted 3-13)
Mark Sanchez’s back-to-back AFC championship appearances seem to be long gone. Instead of those deep playoff trips, he will most likely be remembered for tripping into his lineman’s butt. This Jets team is entering the season as probably the least talented teams in the league.
If I was in the Jets front office I would look to give rookie quarterback Geno Smith a chance to prove himself as a quarterback they can build a team around. Coming out of a successful college career at West Virginia, Geno will probably get at least 3 starts toward the end of the season. After trading away Darrelle Revis, rookie Dee Milliner will have to fill the big hole at the cornerback position. This Jets team has a lot of rebuilding to do and their is no way that they can pull off a run to the playoffs