AFC East Preview:
- New England Patriots (12-4)
- New York Jets (8-8)
- Buffalo Bills (6-10)
- Miami Dolphins (6-10)
SAMMY THE SAVIOR.
2013 Record: 6-10
2014 Draft: The Bills traded their 2015 first-round pick to move up and draft Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson) with their first pick. They selected Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, Alabama) and Preston Brown (ILB, Louisville) with their next two picks.
Off-season Acquisitions: The Bills acquired Mike Williams (WR) from Tampa Bay. Williams production dropped off last season, but he says he’s back and healthy now, after battling a hamstring injury and the whole getting stabbed in the leg by his brother thing. The Bills were also looking to improve their abysmal specials teams by bringing in Anthony Dixon (RB) and Corey Graham (CB). The Bills hired former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz as their defensive coordinator and signed Brandon Spikes (ILB) to shore up their run defense.
Off-season Losses: The Bills lost backup QB Kevin Kolb, WR Stevie Johnson, and Safety Jairus Byrd this off-season. Linebacker Kiko Alonso tore his ACL this summer and will miss the entire 2014 season.
2014 Prediction: The Bills have been busy this off-season, and they gave up a lot to draft Sammy Watkins. Watkins has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the league, but Manuel has to stay healthy. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson could benefit from Watkins presence in the offense though, and in turn open up the passing game. But looking at this team generates more questions than answers for me at this point. I just don’t see the Bills as a threat. I’ve got them going 6-10 again.
2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Draft: The Dolphins used two of their first three picks on offensive tackles Jawuan James (Tennessee) and Billy Turner (North Dakota State). Sandwiched in between the lineman they selected Jarvis Landry (WR, LSU).
Off-season Acquisitions: The Dolphins brought in everyone’s favorite running back with tear ducts like waterfalls, Knowshon Moreno. They also signed offensive linemen Branden Albert, Jason Fox, and Daryn Colledge. They hope to strengthen their secondary with Cortland Finnegan (CB), R.J. Stanford (CB), and Louis Delmas (S).
Off-season Losses: The Dolphins parted ways with Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito which probably comes as a shock to everyone. They also lost Dimitri Patterson (CB) and Chris Clemons (S).
2014 Prediction: The Dolphins made a lot of moves this off-season, but, you know, they’re still the Dolphins. They finished the 2013 season ranked 27 in total offense. Moreno should improve their run game, but Denver’s offensive lines have always had a knack for making running backs look better than they actually are. And maybe I’m just not a huge Tannehill fan, but I don’t see this team taking much of a step forward this year. I have them going 6-10.
New England Patriots
This fucking guy.
2013 Record: 12-4
2014 Draft: The Patriots drafted Dominique Easley (DT, Florida), Jimmy Garoppolo (Q, Eastern Illinois), and Bryan Stork (OC, Florida State) with their first three picks.
Off-season Acquisitions: The Patriots brought in a pair of veteran cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. They also signed Will Smith (DE) and James Anderson (OLB). And while not a new acquisition, the Patriots re-signing Julian Edelman, Brady’s most reliable receiver last year, was huge.
Off-season Losses: Perhaps the biggest loss for the Patriots this off-season was the departure of Aqib Talib, who is now a Denver Bronco. (Gag.) They also lost LeGarette Blount (RB) from a rather underwhelming running back corps, as well as Brandon Spikes (ILB).
2014 Prediction: Brady struggled last year and still took his damn team to a 12-4 record and their 47th straight playoff berth. (Okay. I MIGHT be exaggerating. But that’s how it feels.) The Patriots are in a weak division and they are always good so I don’t even know why I bother getting annoyed every year that they are always good. I have them winning this division (easily) and going 12-4.
New York Jets
2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Draft: The Jets drafted Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville), Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech), and Dex McDougle (CB, Maryland). The Jets also drafted Clemson QB Taj Boyd in the sixth round.
Off-season Acquisitions: The Jets are big proponents of the theory that you can never have too many quarterbacks. Although after dealing with Mark Sanchez for the last several years, can you really blame them? The Jets signed Michael Vick (QB) to back up Geno Smith. If Vick’s veteran presence can help to both mold and challenge Smith, then this will be a successful signing. They brought in some offensive weapons to assist these guys, by signing Chris Johnson (RB), Eric Decker (WR), and Jacoby Ford (WR/KR).
Off-season Losses: The Mark Sanchez era is over. Sad face. Well, for me, but I imagine the exact opposite for Jets fans. A couple other notable losses for the Jets were Santonio Holmes (WR) and Antonio Cromartie (CB).
2014 Prediction: I have teeter-tottered back and forth here. On one hand, I think Michael Vick could do good things for Geno Smith. I’m an Eric Decker fan (ON THE FIELD ONLY). Chris Johnson could have a decent season. I think this team could surprise some people, but I don’t think they have enough talent to really make a splash. I have them going 8-8 again and finishing in second place in this division.