The AFC East Will Be Tough for Dolphins to Repeat as Champs

Christopher StockContributor IMay 29, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 7:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during a stop in play in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium September 7, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins won the AFC East in 2008 with an 11-5 record.

It won't be quite as easy for the Dolphins.

The New England Patriots welcome back Tom Brady to the equation after missing the majority of the 2008 season with a torn ACL.

He's back now and ready for redemption after guiding the Patriots to an undefeated regular season mark in 2007 before falling to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

New England, which won the AFC East the previous five seasons, still managed to put together an 11-5 season last year under quarterback Matt Cassel's leadership.  Cassel threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns, but was traded to Kansas City in the off-season. 

New England still has star receiver Randy Moss and the dynamic Wes Welker at wideout, as well as adding Joey Galloway to the mix.  Fred Taylor was signed in the off-season and is expected to be a key contributor at running back.

The Buffalo Bills also made a big splash in the off-season as they signed Terrell Owens, who is coming off his ninth 1,000-yard season in the past 10 years. 

The 35-year old Owens could help the Bills in the passing game led by quarterback Trent Edwards.  Buffalo finished 7-9 last season.

The New York Jets went 9-7 in 2008 under the guidance of quarterback Brett Favre, who retired in the off-season. Now the Jets will likely turn towards rookie Mark Sanchez

The Jets should have a very solid defense with the additions of linebacker Bart Scott, cornerback Lito Sheppard, and safety Jim Leonhard.

It will be a tough division for the Dolphins to win again because New England should be New England with Brady returning.  With the Bills and Jets being solid teams, there should not be any easy divisional wins to feast on.