The Patriots reign on the AFC East, and the NFL, appears to be over. The New York Jets have taken the top spot in the East, but their dominance will depend on second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets have added tons of talent to the roster this off-season (Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson), but Sanchez’s ability to overcome the “sophomore slump” will be the most important factor for this team. The Dolphins are another among the “most improved” in the NFL. Adding wide receiver Brandon Marshall makes them a frightening match-up on offense. The defense will again be stout, especially with Jared Odrick and Koa Misi penciled in as key players. The Bills will again finish last in the AFC East. The team made few additions in the off-season, and their holes along the offensive line went un-addressed during the off-season.
NFL football lines will favor the Jets, but do not sleep on the Patriots and Dolphins. Wes Welker looks to be ready to start the season, and the improved offense in Miami will make them a tough play.
What is fairly certain is that the AFC East will be heavily represented in the 2011 playoffs. The Jets look poised to run through the division, with the Patriots and Dolphins both having the look of a playoff contender. While most are counting the Jets as the top dogs in the East, the Patriots have the experience and talent to challenge them at the top. And one last warning, do not sleep on the Dolphins. Chad Henne, Brandon Marshall and co. will be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season.