Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
We start the NFL Preview Series here on BKD TV with the AFC East & can anybody stop the New England Patriots? Only the Miami Dolphins in 2008 & NY Jets in 2002 have dethroned the Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East since 2001. Lets take a look below.
New England Patriots
2013: 12-4, won the AFC East. Lost in the AFC Championship Game.
Head coach: Bill Belichick
Key departures: RB LeGarrette Blount, CB Aqib Talib, LB, Brandon Spikes, LB Dane Fletcher, TE Matthew Mulligan
Key arrivals: CB Darrelle Revis, CB Brandon Browner, rookie DL Dominique Easley, S Patrick Chung, WR Brandon LaFell, DE Will Smith, LB James Anderson
The Pats were back in the AFC Championship Game for the 3rd straight year, the Pats picked up 2 pretty good corners in CB Darrelle Revis & Brandon Browner, the Pats should be back on defense, The Patriots just cut DE Will Smith, DE Tommy Kelly & LB James Anderson yesterday, that’s how deep the Pats are on defense. I like the Pats to once again win the AFC East, but to get back into the Big Game & win, QB Tom Brady must be protected & WR play plus the RB play has to be on its game to win.
2013: 8-8, tied for second in the AFC East; one game out of playoffs
Head coach: Rex Ryan, sixth season with Jets (42-38)
Key departures: CB Antonio Cromartie, WR Santonio Holmes, OT Austin Howard, S Ed Reed, QB Mark Sanchez, TE Kellen Winslow
Key arrivals: rookie TE Jace Amaro, WR Eric Decker, rookie WR Shaq Evans, OT Breno Giacomini, RB Chris Johnson, CB Dimitri Patterson, rookie S Calvin Pryor, rookie WR Jalen Saunders, QB Michael Vick
The Jets to me luckily got to 8-8 last year, clearly the future of the Jets rest in the hands of Geno Smith, Michael Vick is more like Geno’s Cheerleader. I like that Chris Johnson is a Jet now, that should help the Run Game, but can Eric Decker be a top WR, the Jets along with the rest of the AFC East has to play the AFC West & NFC North. The way the Jets Schedule sets up, just don’t see Gang Green returning to the postseason, will that save Sexy Rexy’s job?
2013: 8-8, third in AFC East
Head coach: Joe Philbin
Key departures: DB Chris Clemons, OL Richie Incognito, OL Jonathan Martin, DL Paul Soliai
Key arrivals: OL Brandon Albert, DB Louis Delmas, DB Cortland Finnegan, rookie OL Ja’Wuan James, RB Knowshon Moreno, OL Shelley Smith
The Dolphins were also one game away from the postseason, losing to the Jets the last game of the season. Ryan Tannehill has improved as a QB, but can the WR’s step up to the plate this season. The Dolphins Running attack must be the difference in games for the Phins along with DB Cortland Finnegan on defense. The Dolphins will be in the playoff race, but maybe not enough to get in.
2013: 6-10, fourth place in the AFC East.
Head coach: Doug Marrone, second year.
Key departures: Safety Jairus Byrd, a Pro Bowler, signed a big-money free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints after the Bills declined to franchise him a second time. The Bills also lost defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who became the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and will likely play the season without 2013 leading tackler Kiko Alonso after Alonso suffered a summer knee injury.
Key arrivals: The Bills see Sammy Watkins, a first-round pick who also cost the Bills their 2015 first-rounder as a franchise-changing wide receiver. They paid accordingly to get him and will need to see immediate dividends. The loss of Alonso ups the importance of the additions of veteran linebackers Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers. Veteran Corey Graham provides depth at cornerback, and draft picks Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson will push for playing time on an offensive line that needs to be better.
The Bills to me on defense will be great & offense has the weapons, but EJ Manuel is the key, can he make the next step as a QB in the NFL or will his play could keep the Bills back? The Bills have started off fast in recent years & faded in the 2nd half of the season. I would say the Bills will be in the playoff race, but come up short.
Predicted order of finish
1. New England Patriots
2. Miami Dolphins
3. Buffalo Bills
4. NY Jets
Next is the NFC East tomorrow on the NFL Preview Series.