Saturday, May 15, 2010

AFC East

It's cold, it's wet and it's a tough place to make a living. Must be the AFC East. Nowhere in this division is it colder than in Buffalo (especially when they take a trip across the border into Canada). New Head Coach Chan Gailey has his work cut out for him. No definite QB. No long term solution at LT. No pass rush. No run defense. It's just one big mess up there. I kind of feel sorry for Buffalo fans. After Dick Jauron left, the promise was on the horizon of some major coaching name coming in who was going to put together a dream team and take Buffalo to the promised land. Now it looks like a miracle will be needed just to avoid coming fourth. Bad times in Buffalo. Bad times. Which leaves me in a tricky spot. If Buffalo are going to prop up the division, who comes next? Which team out of the Patriots, Dolphins or Jets will come just 3rd in the division? I think it's the Patriots. Whatever people say about Tom Brady and Randy Moss, the reality is that Wes Welker makes that offense run right now. He plays the slot receiver position better than any other player in the league and with his injury comes big problems for the Patriots when it comes to moving the chains. Tack on a draft that was very good in terms of trading, but perhaps not that great in substance (though you never know with Belichick), and I think the Pats will struggle to find wins this season, especially on the road. They didn't travel well last year, I don't think they will this year. So, Dolphins or Jets? The Dolphins did a great job this off season of collecting some big names. My concern is, how well will those big names transfer onto the field? Is Brandon Marshall the right fit for the Dolphins strong running game? Is Karlos Dansby enough enough to replace Joey Porter and Jason Taylor? It all looks great on paper, but I don't know how well it stands up to the test of time over the season. I still think they have a better season than the Patriots, but it's not enough to push the Jets. Which can only mean that Rex Ryan is sitting pretty with his Jets team in the AFC East. Now given the fact that Ryan is only in his second season as a HC, he's done a pretty darn good job of building a team. He knows his defensive scheme well, knows the players that he needs to execute it and he went out & got them. With the amount of blitzing the Jets do it often leaves their defensive backs in man coverage on the outside, so it was important for them to go and get guys who can regularly handle the demands that will be placed on them. They got Antonio Cromartie in a trade and then drafted Kyle Wilson in the first round when he fell to them. Now the stage is set for a blitz-a-rama this season as Rex Ryan unleashes his entire playbook on the NFL. Couple that with Mark Sanchez in his second year now, Vladimir Ducasse added to the O-line and Shonne Greene taking over the helm at RB, and you have a Jets team that is poised to make a run on the division; on it's way back to the playoffs. Driven by their Head Coach and his strong personality, I think they'll top the lot in the AFC East. So just to clarify: 1. Jets (winners) 2. Dolphins 3. Patriots 4. Bills ----- Tomorrow it's time to pull on a pair of jeans, roll some tobacco up for chewing and get ready to ride on down to the AFC South. Till then, have a great day everyone.

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