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Friday, October 22, 2010
NFL Trimester Report: AFC East "Contender or Pretender"
I like to jokingly refer to this as the "Hollywood" division, thanks to HBO's popular "Hard Knocks" series that featured Rex Ryan and the Jets (sounds like a 70's cover band, but that's just me. Moving along...) Throw in Tom Brady and his Justin Beiber haircut, Brandon Marshall and his inability to get in the end zone and the NFL floor mat that is currently the Buffalo Bills and voila, you have the 2010 AFC East. So without any further delay let's get into it, shall we?
New York Jets (5-1)
Going into the season many people were on the fence about the Jets Super Bowl potential, and rightfully so. They brought in a slew of new veteran faces and QB Mark Sanchez was coming off a sub par rookie season, though he did flash signs in the playoffs. But so far, the Jets have validated head coach Rex Ryan's confidence. Sanchez has limited turnovers and gotten the offense in the end zone, RB Ladanian Tomlinson looks rejuvenated, and the defense has looked almost as good as advertised (with or without Darrelle Revis and his shaky hamstring). The Jets are 3-0 on the road, and their only loss so far was by 1 point to Baltimore in the opener. Looks like Rex knew was he was talking about. And Antonio Cromartie still has a LOT of kids. Contender
New England (4-1)
This '10 version of the Patriots is a far cry from the '07 version that was lighting up the scoreboard like a game of Madden, but they are still competitive. Yes, they traded Randy Moss to the Vikings for a 3rd round pick and a box of pop tarts, but he only had 9 receptions and a few touchdowns at the time. Still, there is no substitute for that kind of talent. They replaced him by trading the pop tarts to the Seahawks and reuniting Brady with Deion Branch who in one game already has as many receptions as Moss had with the Pats. While the move was a but of a downgrade talent-wise, you can bet that the Pats will get max value out of Branch. They feature a running back by committee format that has actually been productive. Rookie hybrid TE/WR Aaron Hernandez has been surprisingly effective and Wes Welker is back and healthy. The Patriots biggest issue is they have no pass rush and they give up almost 275 passing yards a game, and even let the Bills hang 30 on them. That ain't gonna cut it. Pretender
So far, the Dolphins look like the definition of an "average" team. Chad Henne is your average NFL starting quarterback. Not really good or bad, just average. Big off season acquisition Brandon Marshall only has one touchdown reception so far and how are the rest of the receivers? Average. Their running game with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams? Average. Defensively they rank in the middle of the pack. What's that spell boys and girls? Gold star for you if you guessed average. Know what average gets you at the end of the season? 8-8 if you're lucky. Pretender
The season for the Bills resembles something like a car accident, just not the kind you have any interest in watching. They are not very good at all and there really isn't anything for fans to look forward to. Maybe the development of rookie speedster RB C.J. Spiller with bring a glimmer of hope now that Marshawn Lynch has been shipped off to be be Pete Carroll's headache in Seattle. But that is doubtful. Remember when the Bills went to four straight (and lost all four) Super Bowls? Yeah, neither do the fans. Move along people, there isn't much to see here. Pretender