NFL Divisional Preview: AFC East

It’s time to highlight the AFC East. This division has been owned and dominated for years by the New England Patriots. The Patriots have won five in a row, and 10 out of the last 11. The only time New England did not end up as divisional champions was in 2008 when the Miami Dolphins went 11-5. The Patriots have been in the AFC Championship the last three seasons. No other team from this division has went on to win the wildcard since 2010 when the Jets reached the second straight season. Both in 2009 and 2010, the Jets lost in the AFC Championship. The question remains, will any of the teams outside of New England take the step and reach the postseason?

The Patriots are again led by the legend, Tom Brady behind center. Brady finished with 4,343 yards a season ago. Brady may be getting one of his top weapons back in Rob Gronkowski, at the tight end position. The Patriots will send Danny Amendola and Julian Edleman as their top receiving core. At the running back position, they will march out both Stevan Ridley and James White. Defensively, New England will look for a huge season from Jerod Mayo, their middle linebacker. Miami hopes to see big dividends from their center Mike Pouncey. Pouncey will be looking to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. The Dolphins look to be one of the better defensive teams in the division.

For the Jets, Rex Ryan sends Geno Smith ahead of veteran Michael Vick. Both quarterbacks have the ability to win games with their legs. Smith will use Eric Decker, new receiver along with Jeremy Kerley. The question mark offensively for the Jets is how the production of running back Chris Johnson will be. Johnson teams with Chris Ivory. Last, the Buffalo Bills appear to be a team that could be good in the future. Right now, the Bills will struggle. E.J. Manuel was given a top weapon in receiver Sammy Watkins, but can Buffalo protect him is the question. Defensively, the Bills must make adjustments from a season ago, where they were dreadful all season long.

The AFC East teams all open up on September 7th. The Patriots and Dolphins start the season in Miami, while the Jets hold Oakland and the Bills are at Chicago. Some other big non divisional games for the division include New England with Chicago on October 26th and the Patriots at Colts November 16th. The Jets host the Broncos on October 12th and the Steelers on November 9th. Miami has tough games in back to back weeks with Green Bay and at Chicago, along with a trip to Denver on November 23rd. Finally, Buffalo will feature back to back December games at Denver on the 7th and with Green Bay on the 14th.

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