AFC East Midseason Report

10 11 2008

Thank to Gridiron Blog

Thank to Gridiron Blog

Now that each team has played 9 games it is time to assess each team’s progress at the midpoint. Each day I will look at the teams in 2 divisions. We will look at their season so far,  predict their end of season record and evaluate their chances at making the playoffs. Since the Jets and Patriots are playing Thursday night, I figure it’d be best if I start with the AFC East.

New England Patriots (6-3).

New England is clearly the best team in the division. Losing Tom Brady in Week 1 was devastating. Luckily the Patriots have the best coach in the NFL. Matt Cassel has had issues with holding onto the ball too long, leading the league in times sacked. They haven’t had the firepower of last year, but with injuries to Brady and Laurence Maroney it would be tough to repeat that magic. They have gone back to winning ugly and this has been effective. They are 2 – 1 against the division with the lone loss coming against Miami, the first time we ever saw the Wildcat offense.

They are not without their incinsistencies though. Belichick looked out of it against Indianapolis and San Diego spanked them on national television. The offense has struggled, letting some terrible teams (KC, St. Louis) remain in game late.

Rest of the Season:  I think they could go 6 – 1. They should beat the Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Raiders, Cardinals (unless the game is flexed) & Seahawks. They should lose to Pittsburgh, finishing the season at 12 – 6.

Playoffs?  I like the Patriots to win the AFC East, thus making the playoffs. They might not get the bye and I don’t think they will make it to the AFC Championship game.

New York Jets (6 – 3)

The Jets are the most enigmatic team this season. This team goes where Brett Favre takes it. He’s been worse more times than not this season. The interceptions are high, particularly in the Red Zone. His 6 TD game against Arizona was a good game, but he followed it up with a terrible game against Oakland. Thomas Jones has been hot as of late and the defense has won the Jets some games. They have also cost them some games or kept blowouts close (Arizona). With the exception of the game against St. Louis, this team tends to play down to its competition. There was a three game stretch in which the opponents had two wins combined (Cincinnati, Oakland, Kansas City) and they went 2 -1 thanks to a last minute effort by the Jets offense. This could could be anywhere from 8 – 1 to 3 -6. They do have one thing in their favor however, they have two road wins against divisional opponents.

Rest of the Season: It’s really hard to predict this team, but if all things hold up like they should, I look for the Jets to go 3 – 3 the rest of the way. Losses to New England, Buffalo & Tennessee combined with wins against San Francisco, Denver, Seattle & Miami will put them at 10 – 6 for the season.

Playoffs?  It’s possible, but it all depends on what they do. If we see the Jets that played against KC & Oakland, they won’t make the playoffs, if we see the Jets that played against St. Louis & Buffalo it’s possible, but they might need a little help in the tiebreakers. They might have too many conference losses.

Miami Dolphins (5-4)

While all of the teams in the AFC East are overrated, Miami is the most overrated. The Wildcat offense is a gimmick offense. It’s insulting that some teams are trying to copy it. The acquisition of Chad Pennington was a good one. He keeps the Dolphins in games with his West Coast style of play. The tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams has been effective in the running game. They too are 2-1 in the division with the only loss to the Jets in Week 1. They have been the beneficiaries of a weak schedule (as with all the teams in this division) and they have capitalized at times. The talent on this team is young and coach Tony Sparano has got them believing in themselves. If any team has overachieved, it has been the Dolphins, but their youth has shown up at inopportune times, like against Seattle.

Rest of the Season: They have to play each of the divisional teams once more. The Bills and the Pats have seen the Wildcat and will be prepared for it. They have to come to New York Week 17 but the game against Buffalo is in Toronto, a stadium with a retractable roof. I look for them to go 3 – 4 the rest of the way. Losses against the Patriots, Jets, 49ers, & Chiefs will hurt them. They should beat the Bills, Rams & Raiders. This is a young team and there is a talent deficiency, especially at wide receiver and in the secondary so we can’t definitively state any true winnable games on the schedule.

Playoffs?  No, but the won’t finish in last place. Unfortunately 8 – 8 doesn’t make the playoffs. A seven game turnaround might win Tony Sparano Coach of the Year.

Buffalo Bills (5 – 4)

Did you know that the Bills started 4 – 0. Granted some of those wins were fluke wins, but they count. This is a team that could be good. Robert Royal has had issues catching the ball. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been 100% and both the offensive & defensive lines have been banged up and dominated in the last three games. This has been a problem. Trent Edwards is a good quarterback, when given time. They Bills have lost 4 of their last 5, including 3 within the division.

Rest of the Season: Wins against Miami, San Francisco & Kansas City, combined with losses against Cleveland, the Jets, New England & Denver will make the 3 – 4 and finish the season at 8 – 8. This could put coach Dick Jauron in the hot seat.

Playoffs? No. 8 – 8 doesn’t make it and because they have the fewest wins against the division, they won’t have any tiebreakers and will likely finish last. It’s too bad, I like this team and their fans.

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2 responses

11 11 2008
Michael DeLuca

This division is pretty simple. The team that wins Thursday night wins the division. I really think it’s that simple.

11 11 2008
Tom Peters

I don’t really think so. I think the Jets are too inconsistent to give them that right. They will find a way to lose an easily winnable game. It always happens to the Jets.

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