2010 NFL Preview Part 1: AFC East

Team                                             Projected Wins- Losses (Range)

1. New York Jets                                     9-7 – 13-3

Rex Ryan and the Jets will have a very strong, well rounded football team this season. That being said they do have flaws, the most glaring one being Quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is a good, young QB, but it will take a couple years before he is an elite QB that can lead a team to a Super Bowl and win it. Shonn Greene is also a developing player, but he should easily reach 1,000 yards this season. The Jets have a deep selection of Wide Receivers, especially once Santonio Holmes returns from his 4 game suspension. Other than Holmes the Jets have the ever reliable Jericho Cotchery and the talented, but drop prone, Braylon Edwards. New York’s O-Line is a force to be reckoned with, even with the loss of team leader Alan Faneca. Defensively Rex Ryan’s unit is one of, if not, the best in the business, but they lack a strong nucleus of Outside Linebackers with Calvin Pace out up to six weeks. OLB Bryan Thomas is average and Jason Taylor is simply too old to be effective on every down. Past Thomas and Taylor the Jets have no proven OLB’s. Defensive End Shaun Ellis is still a very good 3-4 End, but on the other side the starter is listed as Mike DeVito, who has only 57 tackles and 0.5 sacks in 3 seasons. Vernon Gholston has been a huge disappoint for Jets fans at linebacker so Rex Ryan converted him to DE this offseason. I’m not sure if Gholston is a good fit for a 3-4 End. Gholston might be able to work his way above DeVito and become a starter. Darrelle Revis is easily the best Cornerback in the league but has been holding out making his season uncertain. Even without Revis, the Jets have a very good group of corners with the underrated 3rd year man Dwight Lowery, Rookie Kyle Wilson, and Antonio Cromartie who can sometimes be a ballhawk. The Strong Safety position is set with solid starter Jim Leonhard, but Eric Smith is a downgrade from Kerry Rhodes at Free Safety. Overall Rex Ryan and the Jets have a very good team (and based on Hard Knocks, a very entertaining one), and have a good shot at contending for the Super Bowl.

2. New England Patriots                             8-8 – 11-5

Despite my strong hatred for everything Patriots, it’s ridiculous to count them out yet. Tom Brady is still one of the best QB’s in the league but he will never replicate his magnificent 2007 campaign. At Running Back, Laurence Maroney is talented, but never seems to be healthy, luckily for him all of New England’s other RB’s are aging fast. Randy Moss, although he is in the decline of his career, is still one of the best wideouts in the league, and his counter part Wes Welker is a pure possession receiver. Beyond Moss and Welker, the Pats have some talented, young options, such as Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, and Rookie Taylor Price. Unfortunately for the Patriots, their best Offensive Lineman, two time Pro Bowler Logan Mankins has yet to sign a contract, and either wants to be traded or he will reportedly sit out the whole season. On defense the Patriots have already lost long time starter Ty Warren. The loss of Warren is a huge blow to a already weak defensive line, but Vince Wilfork is good enough to keep the line from falling apart. I don’t particularly like the Patriots Outside linebackers, other than Tully Banta-Cain, they are unproven. Luckily MLB’s Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton are solid. New England has a very young secondary and they will like get beat through the air quite often. The Patriots could sneak into the Wild Card spot this year but with a diminished defense and a diminishing offense Bill Belichick’s evil empire is coming to an end.

3. Miami Dolphins                                  7-9 – 10-6

The Dolphins, like the Jets, have a well rounded team, but unlike the Jets they don’t have very many impact players. Chad Henne played well last season and with another year of knowing the playbook he could be very good, but I think he’s a year away from being a great QB. Ronnie Brown, when healthy, is an impact player, unfortunately for him all that wear and tear might finally catch up and I don’t think Ricky Williams can take another year as a feature back (not to say Williams is bad just old). The addition of star receiver Brandon Marshall could be very interesting, and takes a lot of pressure off not only off their young wideouts, Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline, but also off their aging running attack. I’m not sure if Marshall will duplicate the numbers he had in Denver, but he will still be near the nop of the league in receptions. The Fish have a decent O-Line anchored by  All-Pro Jake Long. Where the Dolphins might run into some problems is on their defense. They do have a solid defensive line, but other than newly acquired LB Karlos Dansby they do not have very effective or productive linebackers. Rookie Koa Misi could be good but former Defensive End Ikaika Alama-Francis is going to take his spot at weak side linebacker. The biggest problem the ‘Phins have is their lack of good cover corners. Last year’s 1st round draft pick Vontae Davis struggled adjusting to the NFL and  was one of the worst corners in the league (based on Yards per Attempt), and fellow 2nd year man Sean Smith flashed some serious talent but was inconsistent. Luckily for both of those players the return of veteran Will Allen should help. My guess is the Dolphins will be a decent team this year and overtake the Patriots next season.

4.Buffalo Bills                                        3-13 – 7-9

I’m going to start this out by saying I’m a Bills fan. I’ve watched every game win or lose since I could understand whats going on. As a Bills fan the best I can hope for this season is the first overall pick and Jake Locker. Unfortunately the Bills are never that bad. As much as I’d like to see them win this year its unrealistic. That being said I don’t think Buffalo will end up getting the number 1 pick. I can’t see them being worse than last year. Yeah we have lots of problems, QB,Offensive Tackle, WR, converting to a new 3-4 defense, and no pass rush. Surprisingly I’m optimistic about this season. We’ve got 3 great RB’s, 1 very good receiver, 2 up and coming, young guards,a beastly middle linebacker, and a stellar secondary with Jairus Byrd, Donte Whitner, Terrence McGee and George Wilson. Then I turn on Madden 11 and realize Brian Moorman has been the best player on the Bills for a couple years now. You know your team is bad if in Madden your punter is the best player. Unfortunately the Bills problems out weigh their strengths. Chan Gailey has his work cut out for him…

Check back later for the rest of the previews

This is also posted on ESPN.com

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