NFL Preview – A Quick Look At The AFC East
Welcome to the first annual IntentionalFoul.com NFL Preview. In this little segment, I do what the title infers — that is, preview each conference in the NFL. Just because, I am starting with the AFC East and working my through to the NFC West.
These previews will feature the teams in the order I expect them to finish in along with a brief outlook and a spotlight on the franchise’s hottest cheerleader. You know, the important stuff.
With that, let us begin the build up to the NFL, starting with the team that got really, really close to perfection last season:
New England Patriots
It’s going to be really hard for the Patriots to improve upon last season’s regular season perfection and it’s unreasonable to think they can duplicate this feat. However, the Patriots offense — as long as Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss are healthy — is as potent as any in the league. During last season’s eye-popping run, the Patriots scored a total of 75 touchdowns to their opponents 34.
If Kool-Aid man Laurence Maroney can provide a consistent running game that improves over last year’s 835 yards to take some of the pressure off of Brady, the offense will continue to smoke unprepared foes.
The defensive side of the ball, however, still remains suspect. There is talent with Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison and company, but they are one year older. For a defense that started to show its age late last season, there are areas of concern. Are the linebackers too old? Can they recover from the loss of Asante Samuel?
All things considered, the Patriots have a pretty easy schedule and because of that, they will be in a position to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLIII. Expect the Pats to finish 13-3 and to win the AFC East.
Hottest Patriots Cheerleader
Lots of choices here, but for my money, it’s the rookie Asia that really stands out.
Although, Bill Belichick’s cougar comes in a close second.
New York Jets
The upcoming New York Jets season has been reduced to two words and two words only — Brett and Favre. Once these words came to Big Apple, the entire outlook of the New York Jets franchise changed, and rightfully so. It’s not often a legend comes to town, one that can still play. However, the question is, is Favre enough for the J-E-T-S to topple the Patriots in the AFC East?
In a word, no.
There’s not enough talent on the offensive or defensive sides of the ball for New York — Favre or not — to wrest the crown away from Tom Brady. Sure, the Jets have some weapons on offense, but they aren’t the names that jump out at you like Tomlinson or Owens. From the looks of it, Favre will be throwing the ball to Jerricho Cotchery a lot and considering the last two seasons Cotchery has had (2000 yards, eight touchdowns), that makes sense.
After that, it’s Thomas Jones and Laveranues Coles — both effective players to be sure — but that’s not quite the same as teams like New England and Dallas.
The addition of Favre should improve the Jets win total, but simply improving over four wins isn’t exactly the goal. The front office is ready to parade Favre around town and would like to see what the post season looks like, but I’m not sure if this is the team to do it. Look for the Jets to finish 9-7, barely missing the playoffs.
The question for the Jets after this season is finished is can they bring Favre back for another year?
Hottest Jets Cheerleader
Apparently, there was a lot of turnover in the Jets organization and the ladies of the Flight Crew weren’t immune to it. There are about 15 rookies on this year’s squad; rookies who don’t have a bio page yet. Because of that, our selection was limited to the Flight Crew veterans and with that, I’d have to say Laura V. is the winner.
As a rule, it’s hard to win in the NFL. This task gets that much harder when you don’t have consistent play at the quarterback position. Just ask the Buffalo Bills, a team with decent offensive talent who struggles to score touchdowns. If they expect to turn things around in
After taking over for J.P. Losman last season, Edwards posted semi-decent stats, but they certainly weren’t head-turning. Edwards does have some weapons at his disposal, including the effervescent Marshawn Lynch. If Lynch can continue to grow into a dependable back, Edwards’ job becomes a little easier.
As long as the defense continues to perform at a lower-half of the league pace, the Bills won’t be able to crawl completely out of the hole the franchise has been in since the K-Gun crew retired. They’ve been addressing these issue through the draft but there’s still work to be done. Considering the roster deficiencies, it’s hard to see the Bill doing anything beyond a .500 mark and even that might be pushing it.
Expect the Bills to finish 7-9; although, looking at their schedule, 5-11 looks like a distinct possibility.
Hottest Bills Cheerleader
Say hello to Jamie of the Buffalo Jills. Let’s be honest here, a little gratuitous cleavage never, ever hurts your chances in these things.
This might be a case where the cheerleaders are more talented than the team they cheer for.
When your franchise finishes 1-15, it’s awfully apparent it needs to be rebuilt from the ground-up. Enter Bill Parcells. Fresh off of his retirement from the Dallas Cowboys, Parcells took over the football operations job with the goal of remaining involved with the NFL, but this time, he’s much, much closer to his home in South Florida.
As soon as last season ended, Parcells immediately got to work by removing Cam Cameron and replacing him with Tony Sparano as the head coach. The Dolphins draft also had the Parcells touch all over it has they drafted left tackle Jake Long with the first overall pick. Long will be expected to anchor the Dolphins line for the foreseeable future. Of course, it would be nice if the Dolphins had a quarterback to protect.
Apparently, Parcells was thinking the same thing when he brought Chad Pennington in after Favre landed in New York. Pennington has since been named the starter and he does have some tools to distribute the ball to — players like Ted Ginn, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams give the Dolphins some semblance of an offense. Unfortunately, it usually takes longer than one year to bounce back from a one-win season, so don’t expect much out of the Dolphins.
If the Dolphins finish the season at 5-11, it has to be considered a successful step in the right direction. While the final result may look bad, it’s five times the wins the Dolphins had last season. Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.
Next up, the AFC South.