NFL Divisional Futures- AFC East
The New England Patriots have dominated the AFC East over the past decade with double-digit victories in the last nine seasons. They come into the 2012 season as the odds-on-favorites to once again win the division, but there are three other teams that believe they will each have a say in the matter.
New England Patriots -350
New England is not only the prohibitive favorite to win the AFC East, it is a 3/1 favorite to win the conference and a 13/2 second-favorite next to Green Bay at 6/1 to win Super Bowl XLVII. All the right pieces remain in place for another deep run especially with quarterback Tom Brady running the show, but there still has to be some concern with a defense that finished the regular season ranked 31st in the NFL in total yards allowed and 15th in points allowed. Head coach Bill Belichick addressed some of these concerns by using seven of his eight draft picks on defensive players including defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’A Hightower in the first round.
New York Jets +600
New York’s decision to trade Denver for quarterback Tim Tebow after working-out a long-term contract with current Jet quarterback Mark Sanchez has been one of the most scrutinized moves in recent memory. If this combination works, it could go on to define Rex Ryan’s tenure as head coach, but if it does not, it could end-up costing him his job. The real question for the Jets heading into this season is can their defense regain the form that made it one of the top units in the league since Ryan’s arrival in 2009. Last season, it finished the regular ranked fifth in the league overall, but 22nd in points allowed.
Buffalo Bills +700
The Bills made an early splash in the free-agent market by luring All-Pro linebacker Mario Williams away from Houston. This should hopefully go a long way towards improving a squad that was ranked 26th in the NFL in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed; giving-up an average of 27.1 points a game. Buffalo should continue to improve on offense as well with a healthy Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller splitting carries out of the backfield. If quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can cut down on his interceptions (23 in 2011) and improve his overall completion percentage (62 percent), look for the Bills to easily eclipse their 2012 total win projection of 7.5 games.
Miami Dolphins +1200
Miami has been going in the wrong direction ever since winning the division in 2008 with back-to-back seven-win seasons in 2009 and 2010 and a 6-10 record last season. The main problem for the Dolphins has been an offense that has trouble finding the end zone. Last season they finished ranked 20th in the league in scoring with an average of 20.6 points a game. New head coach Joe Philpin has obviously made this a priority by using four of his first five draft picks on the offensive side of the ball. Miami selected quarterback Ryan Tannehill, from Texas A&M with the eighth overall pick in the draft, but it may be a couple of years before we know if he is finally the answer this team has been looking for at that position for quite awhile now.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.