(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Why they won't win:
New York's offense has no clear leader at quarterback. Rookie Mark Sanchez appears primed to lead the team, but underclassmen quarterbacks fail more often than they succeed in the NFL.
Of all underclassmen quarterbacks drafted since 1990, only Ben Roethlisberger and Trent Dilfer have started and won Super Bowls. For every Roethlisberger, there are three Ryan Leafs.
Sanchez, playing in the NFL's biggest media market, has an enormous amount of pressure on his inexperienced shoulders. If he tries to do too much or can't handle the spotlight, it could be a long season of growing pains for New York.
The Jets must build a ball control offense around Sanchez to hide his flaws. In 2008, they were 14th in time of possession and 19th in turnover edge with an experienced quarterback. The team must improve on those numbers while Sanchez matures in 2009.
As it stands, the Jets don't have enough offensive firepower to compete with New England, Buffalo and Miami in the AFC East. The team never replaced Laveranues Coles, who left in free agency. As a result, New York has a big void at receiver opposite Jerricho Cotchery.
The Jets' premier candidates for number two receiver are Brad Smith and Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 44 catches and 423 yards in 2008. Opposing teams will likely focus on Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller.
If neither Stuckey nor Smith can emerge as a viable option, Sanchez will have a difficult time finding open receivers in 2009.
Chances of winning the AFC East in 2009: 5 out of 10