Tim Tebow to New York Jets: Power Ranking the AFC East Teams
The AFC East has always been a competitive division but the 2012 season looks to be a complete cut-throat mystery.
The New England Patriots won the division last year and have done very little to change a winning formula. But that gives other teams a chance to sneak up and take the crown. The New York Jets landed LaRon Landry and turned Tim Tebow into the Manhattan Messiah. Mario Williams took his talents to Buffalo and beefed up an exciting defense.
This season the AFC East will truly be up for grabs and anything is possible. Thankfully, I’m here to help you sift through the information and make a prediction for the division crown.
4. Miami Dolphins
No one wants to be a Miami Dolphin.
The Fins failed to solve their quarterback woes as Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and Alex Smith passed on South Beach. They will now be forced to roll with Matt Moore/David Garrard or reach for an unproven signal caller like Ryan Tannehill in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
To make matters worse, the front office traded star wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for third round picks in 2012 and 2013. They then failed to bring in a playmaker at receiver and Miami is stuck in the AFC East cellar yet again.
The Dolphins will need a spark in free agency or a great draft to pull this franchise out of the last slot.
3. Buffalo Bills
Bills fans, please set down your pitchforks and hear me out. Last season the Jets were a train-wreck. They looked worse then a Hollywood celebrity sans makeup. I get that. But until the last few weeks of the season New York was still fighting for a playoff spot.
Buffalo had already crashed and burned. I do think that the Bills will have a good season but right now the upper hand has to go to Gang Green.
Injuries derailed a solid start for the Bills last season but this is a team that still needs work. Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t be breaking any passing records but he is a capable starter. Throwing to Stevie Johnson is a boon for the Harvard grad. Behind the mask of his shenanigans, Johnson is able to get the job done.
David Nelson and Scott Chandler round out a young receiving corps with potential to succeed. Fred Jackson will be back after his breakout season and C.J. Spiller will be waiting in the wings. Nick Barnett and Super Mario will headline a scary defense.
Buffalo could finally be competitive.
2. New York Jets
Mark Sanchez may not be the greatest quarterback going around but he has proven he can win. It may not be pretty in the Big Apple this year, but when is it pretty?
The New York Jets followed back-to-back AFC Championship Games appearances by limping to an 8-8 record last season. The bright lights faded in New York, but Rex Ryan will turn them back on in 2012.
Sanchez is back with a hefty contract extension along with Tim Tebow. This Tebowmania experiment could work very well for the Jets or backfire in their faces.
But whoever is behind center, they will have viable targets to throw to. Santonio Holmes is back and has put the rift with Sanchez behind him. Plaxico Burress will be a red-zone threat and Dustin Keller will always be a valuable presence.
But the forte for Rex Ryan is defense. He signed LaRon Landry to pair with Eric Smith on defense. Revis Island will still be a scary destination for opposing receivers and Sione Pouha is back.
The New York Jets will still be a mystery but they will be an exciting mystery.
1. New England Patriots
The defending AFC East champions will be back with a vengeance in 2012. They were a Wes Welker catch away from winning the Super Bowl once again.
New England will be working extra hard to get back to the big game. They are bringing back most of the key parts from last year sans Mark Anderson and the trusty running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
But this team has not changed much. Besides from signing Brandon Lloyd the Patriots have been pretty quiet on the free agent market. But, as Bill Belichick has shown time and time again, the biggest names don’t always make the best teams.
The defense will still remain an area of concern but with Tom Brady at the helm, this is still the team to beat in the AFC East.