(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
FIRST PLACE: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-3)
Make no mistake about it, with Tom Brady back this team is easily the favorites to win the East. The running game doesn't have a star per say but a four or even five headed monster will keep opponents guessing. The receivers look even stronger with the addition of veteran Joey Galloway, and you know that production will come from Moss and Welker. The defense lost some veteran leaders but it shouldn't affect the team too much. Jerad Mayo is a star in the making. Some are skeptical of the Patriots secondary, although it may give up the big play on occasion it should be serviceable enough to make this defensive unit one of the best.
SECOND PLACE: NEW YORK JETS (7-9)
New coach Rex Ryan gives this team a new image of a tough team that will beat you up on defense. Along with Ryan, adding players like Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Lito Sheppard make this a formidable defense that should keep them in most games. On the other side of the ball the Jets hope they have their franchise quarterback in Mark Sanchez. He should be a great QB in the future but will go through some growing pains especially since his receiving threats aren't exactly the best around. The O-Line should help a running game of Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Greene take pressure of Sanchez.
THIRD PLACE: BUFFALO BILLS (6-10)
Bills made one of the biggest and most surprising offseason moves in acquiring Terrell Owens. Although I believe that this will help the offense tremendously I do not believe it to be enough to put this team over the top. Owens addition immediately makes Trent Edwards and Lee Evans better but does nothing for what could be the worst offensive line in football. On the defensive side of the ball the Bills have some pieces in the right place with Schobel back healthy and Posluszny, Whitner, and McGee as three of the more underrated players in the NFL, overall this Defense may lack depth which could hurt them down the stretch.
FOURTH PLACE: MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-11)
I'll get a lot of flack for picking the Dolphins to have such a bad record but it's not necessarily because I think they have a bad team. They have a brutal schedule this year and last year all the pieces seemed to fall into the right spot for them something that usually doesn't happen two years in a row. Pennington had a great year but also usually struggles to go two strong years. Don't be surprised if Chad Henne is in place by season's end. The defense is strong led by a resurgent Joey Porter, the secondary is young but talented and should make some nice plays. Overall the Dolphins just have too much working against them and may face a long rough year.