2009 Standings at Season’s End
The AFC East is usually dominated by the Patriots, but 2009 saw both the Dolphins and the Jets give reigning champs a run for their money. With the transactions made by the Jets and Dolphins this offseason, it looks like both teams are taking their chance at a division title very seriously. The AFC East is now home to potentially the best team in the NFL, but it might not be who you think.
New England Patriots
Another year and another AFC East division title for the Patriots. But everything was far from ho-hum as their bi-polar performance on offense and early exit from the playoffs will attest. The Patriots saw more departures than pickups this offseason, but Belichick and Kraft have always been able to make the best of what talent they have to work with. Brady has seen a full year of recovery from his devastating knee injury, but that also means he is a year older. Randy Moss isn’t getting any younger and now it’s Wes Welker’s turn to come back from knee surgery. Their defense is still among the oldest in the league and desperately needs the draft picks from 2009 to step up big for them.
New England Patriots 2010 Prediction
Despite the age catching up with the roster, this is a team built with a legacy of winning and Coach Bellichick is still smart enough to scheme for his player’s strengths (experience) rather than their weaknesses. Brady comes back at full strength and leads the league in passing and touchdowns again, while Moss has another breakout year. The defense regains its old form and the Patriots roll to a league best 13-3 record.
New York Jets
The Jets, who were as good a team as any in 2009, got some serious upgrades at a variety of positions during the offseason. WR Santonio Holmes will look to maintain his Pro Bowl numbers, but it might be difficult with a QB (Sanchez) who looked both brilliant and downright foolish throughout 2009. Throw in another top tier receiver in Kellen Winslow and this team could be the pride of the AFC, but as we all know, receivers are meaningless without a quarterback who can get them the ball. The Jets 2010 season will ride on the shoulders of Mark Sanchez.
New York Jets 2010 Prediction
We all know that the Jets D will come to play, but if Revis is to be a part of that top ranked defense still remains to be determined. The offense has all of the potential needed to win a division title, but none of the experience in my opinion. They will improve their W-L from 2009 and finish at 10-6, but they will once again be looking up at the Patriots.
Led by Chad Henne, Ronnie Brown and a resurgent Ricky Williams, the Miami Dolphins surprised a lot of folks in 2009, although they weren’t quite good enough to earn a playoff berth. The WR corps got a big upgrade in 2010 with the addition of Brandon Marshall, but much like the Jets’ Sanchez, Henne was wildly inconsistent at times, leading many to wonder if a top tier receiver is really necessary in an offense that will run the ball 60% of the time or more. The Dolphins have quite a few tools at their disposal, but despite all that talent, they are barely third best in their division. I think that the Miami Dolphins could win a couple other divisions in the NFL, the AFC or NFC West perhaps, but this is just an unfortunate case of being in the wrong place (AFC East) at the wrong time (2010).
Miami Dolphins 2010 Prediction
The Dolphins will do enough in 2010 to give their fans a reason to hope for next season, but they will fall short of the playoffs yet again. They will get their record to .500, but again, they play too many games against the Patriots and Jets to have a legitimate shot at doing any better.
This team has some exciting pieces for the first time in a long time. CJ Spiller is an exciting back who will take much of the burden off of Marshawn Lynch, but this team is still incomplete in a lot of areas, primarily Offensive Passing and Rush Defense. They let the league run all over them in 2009, and basically were able to throw the ball down the field and halfway back (157 YPG) which put them near the bottom of the league. Another year of experience should be good for Trent Edwards, but as long as his only threat is Lee Evans, the offense will continue to sputter.
Buffalo Bills 2010 Prediction
The Bills might be the best, last place team in the NFL. CJ Spiller will be exciting to watch, but it is a lot to ask for a rookie RB to turn an entire offense around. The Bills will wind up doing a little bit worse than last year (5-11), but only because the rest of their division had a better offseason.
2010 AFC East Predicted Final Standings
- New England Patriots (13-3)
- New York Jets (10-6)
- Miami Dolphins (8-8)
- Buffalo Bills (5-11)