The dark cloud that has been cast over the AFC East by the Patriots in 2001 with the infamous Tuck Rule (Tom Brady's first NFL rule creation) is starting to break. Two years ago the Patriots were on the verge of becoming the first team to go 19-0, while the Dolphins won only one game. The very next year the the Dolphins seemed to accomplish the unfathomable, winning a tiebreaker with the Patriots and garner a playoff berth with both teams finishing 11-5.
Jets fans remember all too well Chad Pennington throwing for 200 yards in the regular season finale to crush the last threads of hope the Jets had for making the playoffs in 2008. Last season's Dolphins MVP may not be anyone on the field but rather their Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells; who specializes in the "quick fix."
The acquisition of Chad Pennington righted their ship, as well as bringing in galvanic head coach Tony Sparano. Pennington was the perfect guy to turn around the franchise, being looked at as the benchmark of consistency.
However, his limits in throwing the football makes it seem he can only bring the Dolphins as far as the first couple rounds of the playoffs.
You would have to be living without electricity to not have heard of Terrell Owens going to Buffalo. The Bills had people talking last year after starting off 4-0, only to fold once conference play started. The 6.5 million dollar question is whether T.O. can bring the Bills to a competitive level in-conference.
Owens' greatest asset to the Bills will be opening up Lee Evans for a stellar year. However, if history has shown us anything, just when Lee Evans will start putting up good numbers and Trent Edwards starts to feel comfortable, Owens will start complaining about how he does not get enough balls thrown his way and lead the Bills to their demise in the second half of the year.
As long as Brady is healthy and Belichick is calling the shots, the Patriots have to be counted as the favorites. Although they lost legendary GM Scott Pioli and three year offensive coordinator Josh Mcdaniels, Brady is still throwing passes to Randy Moss.
With Giselle living in NYC, can we get her to take some tips from Jessica for the Jets game? Count on the Jets who almost always give the Patriots a good game (beating them on the road two of the last three years) to continue to challenge the Pats.
One thing that will be missing this year is the icy handshake at the end of games between Belichick and Mangini, who has moved on to the Cleveland Browns.
The AFC East is going to be survival of the fittest. Each team is poised to make a run, although they all have noticeable weaknesses (i.e. a seasoned quarterback in the Jets case).
If Sanchez can be the savior this season fans are hoping/praying for, then they will be in the thick of things come December. The Bills need a few things to go their way and a certain receiver to stay happy. As of now Miami and New England are leading the way but New York and Buffalo will challenge.
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