Indianapolis Colts almost pulled off a perfect season last year until their head coach decided to bench (rest) most starting players. They were 14-0 and leading the Jets at halftime of game 15. Starters were benched after halftime and watched in frustration as subs lost (team finished 14-2). Indy was out played in Super Bowl XLIV and seeks revenge in 2010. Plenty of off season moves by many AFC teams addressing various needs. Colts and Chargers appear to remain top 2 winning teams. Houston, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens & Chiefs on the rise. AFC play will be tough as any season in recent memory.
AFC East will be a dogfight. Brady will try resurrecting New England to dynasty status. The Jets were busy solidifying their roster after a tremendous '09 performance. Did they add talent or locker room headaches? Miami's players and front office brass believe they're the team to beat in the East? They may be right. Buffalo, well, every division needs a cellar dweller.
1) New York Jets Here's an intriguing team. Head Coach Ryan's Jets defense established themselves as one of NFL's top units and most feared. The do just about everything right. Fast, smart and very hard hitting. Jets defense was reason #1 this group qualified for post-season play. Defense was responsible for setting up rookie Sanchez' offense with great field position most of the year. Key off season moves or did NY over spend on older players and trouble makers? LaDainian Tomlinson will try proving he's fit to become #1 back but will probably split time with Greene. WR's must catch the ball as they suffered through too many drops. The pressure is on Sanchez. The bar is high. After a successful '09 New Yorkers are expecting nothing less than a division title and playoff success. So is coach Ryan. Sophomore jinx or stardom? Jets should win no less than 11 (barring injuries). If defense dominates, perhaps 13.
2) Miami Dolphins Dolfans started to believe in their team midway through the year. Miami began slow (0-3) and collapsed at the end (0-3). In between, they were playing inspired football (7-3). Chad Henne finally has receivers. Running game is one of NFL's best. I'm not a fan of Dolphins draft results but this is a talented front office so maybe they know what they're doing. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Miami wins the East. Henne is the key. Is he ready to "lead"? If so, Miami's future is bright. All the pieces are in place for success.
3) New England Patriots New England won the East in '09 but it wasn't pretty. Offense was out of sync often disrupting drives. Running game was non-existent, passing game stats looked solid but actual game play didn't translate into wins. 8-0 at home, 2-6 on the road. No major additions heading into '10. Offensive line needs to open up lanes for less than gifted backs. Randy Moss needs to keep his head in games. Patriots can go either way but appear to be nothing more than a .500 team.
4) Buffalo Bills Buffalo looked pretty solid in 5 of their 6 wins. However, they looked grossly outplayed in 8 of 10 losses. Bills will be lucky to beat any division rivals this year (0-6) which spells doom and gloom. This team isn't maturing. 30th ranked offense should get a jolt with the arrival of draftee C.J. Spiller (Clemson). Nothing else to report. Last place finish is all but guaranteed.