AFC East Week 1


Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; The AFC East championship years for the New England Patriots are etched into the side of a grill before the AFC divisional round playoff game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We all know the Miami Dolphins are playing this week.  What happens with the other three teams in the division also will play big into how the Dolphins fair this season.

New England Patriots – The Patriots will open the season in Buffalo against the Bills.  Offensively the team is still managed by Tom Brady but only Danny Amendola is a featured WR.  The Pats will have to make due with rookie Kenbrell Thomkins on the outside.  Making matters worse for the Patriots, TE Rob Gronkowski is still out following his shoulder surgery.  Last years tandem of Gronk and Aaron Hernandez is no more.  Hernandez was indicted on murder chargers this week.  He plead not-guilty.

The strength of the Patriots may reside with their running game where Stevan Ridley will carry the bulk of the workload.  The Patriots have a strong offensive line and the team may be forced to move from their two TE passing attack.

Defensively the Patriots are returning weak at CB and safety but strong at LB and Dline.  How will it play out?  The Bills have a rookie QB starting and an offensive line that had some changes.

Prediction:  Patriots 34 – Bills 22.

Buffalo Bills – The prediction is out of the way but what can the Bills bring to this game?  Defense.  The Bills are supposed to have a stout defensive unit even without Jarius Byrd who may or may not play today.  Byrd wants a trade out of Buffalo and if he is not in the lineup today it will be a harsh blow to the teams deep secondary unit.  For Buffalo stopping Tom Brady even with his weaker WR’s will be a key to them winning.  The Bills should be able to keep the NE rushing attack in check but it still could be a long day for the Bills defensively as the offense may not give them much help.

Offensively the Bills have flashy runner C.J. Spiller toting the rock but E.J. Manuel makes his NFL debut as a rookie.  Manuel was the teams surprise first round pick this past April and while he is very athletic and strong armed, there is obvious questions surrounding his ability to immediately play at this level.  While I predict the Patriots to score 34, some of those points are going to come at the hands of the Bills offense.

New York Jets – The Jets are mess.  Offensively the will employ Geno Smith at QB.  They are weak at WR, weak at TE, weak at RB, and their only real strength on offense comes VIA a strong supporting offensive line but even they are not complete.  The Jets may fins their weakest line position to be RT where Austin Howard will line up.

Defensively the team lost Darrelle Revis to their opening day opponent Tampa Bay.  In his place the Jets are going to rely on Antonio Cromartie and rookie Dee Milliner.  The Jets lost some of their starters last season from the LB position and while David Harris and Calvin Pace are strong their remaining two LB’s have a lot to prove.

Prediction – Tampa Bay 23 – New York Jets 17