Well, we've arrived at the end.
Almost. Some more predictions for the entire league will be coming tomorrow and Friday. Just bear with me.
The AFC East should be interesting this year. New England should still be great, the Jets have vastly improved, Buffalo has some issues, but also some talent as well, and Miami has Bill Parcells, but that's about it.
Let's start with those Dolphins.
I wanted to give this team a few more wins than the one that got last year, but I just couldn't find the wins on the schedule. A combination of the purge under Bill Parcells, a bevy of issues already there, and a tough schedule will doom this team.
However, some "ifs" could be answered in a way that gives this team a little more success. If Chad Pennington returns to a semblance of his good Jets form, if Ted Ginn can become the go-to guy and electric playmaker they drafted him to be, and if Parcells can implement his master plan quickly and effectively, then this team could win four or more games, but I wouldn't count on it.
Buffalo is intriguing but, like Miami, will be done in by a tough schedule. Marshawn Lynch looks like a guy that can be the face of the franchise in the backfield, and defenders Donte Whitner and Angelo Crowell lead an improving defense.
Once tackle Jason Peters gets his contract settled, he should return to his All-Pro form. An already played preseason game in Toronto, followed by another Toronto game against Miami in Week 14, should provide the team with some new fanfare (and maybe even a new home in the future, though it seems unlikely). Still, this team has a ways to go.
Like many teams this year, they need to figure out the QB situation. Both Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman are vying for the spot, though Edwards seems like he'll be the guy. He played OK his rookie year and could improve significantly, but the last second-round QB that really panned out, that I can remember, is Drew Brees, and he almost ran out of time in Southern California before he finally hit it big.
Look for them to finish a game or two below .500.
The Jets might be the team to watch in the NFL this year. I'm not going to go into the Brett Favre side because it has been evaluated ad nauseam, but let's look at the rest of this team.
Thomas Jones had a decent year last year rushing, if you put aside the low TD total, which was quite an accomplishment, if you consider the nine-man fronts opposing defenses put up against Chad Pennington's arm (Look out, Miami fans).
He should improve this year, with Favre opening the field up more. Receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles had solid years last year, and both, especially Cotchery, should improve their numbers this year.
The thing that should put this team over the hump, however, is the upgrades on defense. They finally have a pure 3-4 nose tackle in Kris Jenkins and pass-rushing LBs in Calvin Pace and Vernon Gholston, absolute needs in a 3-4 scheme (however, Gholston has not looked good in camp, if you can believe the reports. The Jets better hope this changes if they want to reach their maximum potential).
Darrelle Revis emerged as a solid corner as a rookie last year, and safety Kerry Rhodes continues his fantastic play. Look for large improvements with the Jets.
On to those Patriots.
A child could tell you that they will be good again, and that they return almost all of their impact guys and have brought in a few more, with the likes of rookie LB Jerod Mayo and new safety John Lynch. But there's no way they go 16-0, right?
It's just going to be too hard for them to do again. First off, let me say that they probably are still the best team in the league and should be the odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl XLIII, but let's look at some history surrounding Tom Brady.
When Peyton Manning threw his 49 TDs a few years back, we all knew he was a great player and wouldn't be surprised if it happened again, just like we know with Brady now.
But we also know Peyton threw 28 TDs the next year. Defenses marked him and made sure he didn't throw so many touchdowns because they didn't want to be embarrassed again. I look for the same thing to happen.
This also means that Moss and Welker's production will be down, and Laurence Maroney will obviously not be able to pick up that much slack, so look for the point total to come down to the mid-to-high 20s, maybe possibly the low 30s.
With that, the defense is good, but has some holes, especially in the secondary. That's where they will lose games, and I believe they will lose a few, but still not a lot.
With that, how will things finish?
New England 13-3
NY Jets 10-6
That finishes the divisions. Please feel free to comment. I enjoy hearing what you guys have to say, good or bad, and love responding and discussing things. Here are the rest of the divisions.