NFL Preseason AFC East Edition: Reasons for Optimism for Each Team
The 2012 NFL season will be starting soon, and every team will be back to 0-0.
The AFC East is looking like it will be a strong division again, as it usually is. Each of the four teams will be hoping to win the division and make the playoffs. Each fanbase will be rooting for its team to do better than last year.
Here are key reasons each team's fans can feel optimistic about the coming season.
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This season, their front four will include Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. If all four of those players can stay healthy, the Bills will be a nightmare for every quarterback they face.
One could reasonably argue that the Bills defense this year is the strongest one on paper they have had so far this century. Buffalo fans will be hoping to see their team in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
Their best hope is for the Bills defense to play to its potential and shut down opposing offenses.
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Miami Dolphins fans should feel good about their team's commitment to developing rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Spending another year with journeyman quarterback Matt Moore would have been a waste.
The Dolphins are unlikely to make any sort of playoff run this season. However, by committing to a rebuilding year, they can lay the foundation for a better future.
They have done this by drafting a young quarterback in the first round and surrounding him with other young offensive players, choosing to start fresh without veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
In the short term, Dolphins fans can look forward to playing spoiler like they did in Week 17 last season.
Both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are likely to be on the wild-card bubble. If the Dolphins can pull out victories against either of those two teams (or against the New England Patriots), they will impact the AFC playoff picture.
Miami fans have had the misfortune of watching 17 different starting quarterbacks since the departure of Dan Marino. They should be happy with any result this season if it means developing Tannehill into their quarterback of the future.
New England Patriots
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In fact, he claims that he wants to play into his 40s.
For the fourth year in a row, New England fans should look forward to having one of the most efficient passing attacks in the NFL. With wide receivers Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Deion Branch, along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Brady has no shortage of targets.
In addition to keeping their offense together, the Patriots can look forward to having the easiest schedule in the NFL.
Given this situation, it is a real possibility that the Patriots will put together a 12- or 13-win season.
New York Jets
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The biggest reason for optimism for the New York Jets this year is their secondary.
They return the best cornerback pairing in the NFL of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. They also have a slot corner in Kyle Wilson, who is having a great offseason.
In addition to their cornerbacks, the Jets have added two veteran safeties in LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Landry, in particular, is turning heads with his impressive preseason. He may turn out to be one of the big steals of the offseason.
Barring injury, the Jets should again be one of the scariest teams for opposing quarterbacks.