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As I did with the NFC East, let's dismiss the non-contenders immediately. The Dolphins have countless question marks (more than just at quarterback), and I won't be surprised if they end up regretting the Ryan Tannehill pick, not because he isn't talented and a potential star, but because there's a good chance they can land Matt Barkley at the very top of the 2013 draft.
Looking past South Florida, the Bills are a contender, or at least they will be in the first half of the season, much like they were a year ago. Since they have a solid running game and some talent at receiver, they can score points.
But that defense still has to be a concern. Sure, Mario Williams is a star, and they have what might turn out to be a great young cornerback tandem (Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams), but neither strength will necessarily improve a terrible run defense.
While defense isn't the Bills' strong suit, their division counterpart in New Jersey does boast an excellent defense. The Jets had setbacks at times in 2011, but I really liked the Quinton Coples pick as a way to improve the pass rush. In Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, they have a pair of incredible corners too. If they get even decent, relatively turnover-free play from Mark Sanchez, they will be better than .500.
The Bills host the Jets in Week 17, and although both will probably have a shot at a playoff berth when they square off, the winner of that game will ultimately claim second place in the AFC East: The Pats will win a fourth consecutive division title and ninth in 10 years.
Losing BenJarvus Green-Ellis hurts a bit, but the addition of Brandon Lloyd makes Tom Brady even more dangerous. As well, through the past two drafts, Bill Belichick has stockpiled so much defensive talent (Ras-I Dowling, Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Tavon Wilson, Alfonzo Dennard) that they are incredibly deep.
Couple those picks with the signing of Steve Gregory, Will Allen and Bobby Carpenter, and the Patriots should once again be a favorite for a Super Bowl berth.
Winner: New England Patriots