Patriots reign in AFC East; rest of the division a crapshoot

Its mid-July and the patience of the average NFL fan is running thin. We need football back! Training camps start around the league in the next few weeks and as usual I will take a look into my favorite division in the NFL, the AFC East.

The AFC East is one of the easiest divisions to predict year in and year out as there is always the gold standard set by BB and Tom Terrific.

With a fairly easy schedule facing the NFC West this year, expect more of the same for the ever so consistent New England Patriots. Barring any major injuries it should not shock anyone if this team gets to the 11-12 win mark yet again. Adding nice defensive pieces in the draft while providing help on the outside receiver positions with Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney, it is possible the Pats offense will be even more effective this season. Most likely hungry after a super bowl lost, the smart and easy money would be on not only another division crown for the Pats but most likely a 1 or 2 seed in the AFC.

The Patriots simply have too much firepower and while the loss of veteran Matt Light on the offensive line might lead to less time and more pressure on the wonder boy Brady, I am sure he is up to the task.  

New England Patriots early season prediction: 12-4

As for the rest of the AFC East well it is somewhat of a crapshoot. Teams can swing either way in this division however it would be a bold prediction at this point to select more than 1 team from the AFC to make the playoffs.

The Buffalo Bills made as big of a splash as anyone this offseason signing Mario Williams, and adding other key defensive pieces in free agency and the draft to help get pressure on the QB. While the Bills defense should be much improved my gut still tells me that this is not a top 10 defense. While the Bills might have one of the top defensive lines in all of football, I still believe there is a missing ingredient. There is also the factor that I have trouble trusting Dave Wannstedt.

The Bills offense also has some nice pieces but I think Ryan Fitzpatrick will fall short of hitting the next level he needs to achieve before becoming a top 15 QB in this league. While there is no doubt the Bills are getting closer to competing, I don’t quite think they are there yet.

Buffalo Bills early season prediction: 7-9

The Jets decided to bring the circus to town this offseason adding Tim Tebow. Other than that the Jets stayed fairly quiet. The bottom line with the Jets is I simply don’t trust Mark Sanchez and quite frankly I don’t understand how adding a conservative and average offensive mind in Tony Sparano really helps his maturation.

I expect a very similar Jets team to last season, with more off the field issues. I think the Jets might find themselves at a crossroad at the end of this season should they miss the playoffs for the 2nd straight year.

New York Jets early season prediction: 7-9

The Dolphins are an intriguing team because they are never good enough to compete and never bad enough to fully rebuild. When David Garrard is the favorite to land you’re starting QB job I think you know the direction of your football team. I believe this year might be a transition year for the Dolphins where they will be competitive but just a notch below of where they need and want to be.

The defense is playoff ready, should the offense make a leap this year but with one of the least impressive receiving corps in the league and uncertainty at QB it is hard to envision. I expect to see Ryan Tannehill at some point this season. This year might be a tune up year for the Dolphins where they can mature Ryan Tannehill into the future of this franchise.

Miami Dolphins early season prediction : 6-10

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.