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Do the Pats Have Any Competition in the AFC East?

hairSurely the New England Patriots are not going to be as good as they’ve been in the past. They have no more Aaron Hernandez and all the drama that situation brought. They have no more Wes Welker, which is a huge loss. They are trying to replace him with Danny Amendola. While Amendola is good, he’s no Welker. Then there is Rob Gronkowski and his injury problems. One would think it is time for someone else to step up and take over the top spot in the division.

The problem is, the rest of this division stinks. The Buffalo Bills have a choice at quarterback between a guy run off by the Arizona Cardinals (Kevin Kolb) and a rookie (E. J. Manuel). The New York Jets can’t get anyone to beat out a guy who is still being laughed at over a play he made on Thanksgiving. The Miami Dolphins are just plain unlucky having already lost tight end Dustin Keller for he season.

There just isn’t anyone in the AFC East that should throw a scare into the Pats. With Tom Brady throwing to a bunch of little known receivers, the Patriots still have way more than anyone else in the division. So while we think the Pats may not look like their dominant selves, they still have more than enough to win the AFC East.

So who does this leave for a possible AFC Wild Card? Everybody else.

Buffalo could be that team if E. J. Manuel follows in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson and has a great rookie season. How likely is this to happen? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. Manuel is deadly accurate, even on his long distance throws. Manuel can also run with the football as well. He could make the Bills competitive IF, (and this is a big if) they can stop people on defense. Last year their defense was pretty awful.

The Dolphins could possibly be a team that might make a Wild Card run. They were close to doing it a year ago when they lost a tough game against the Indianapolis Colts a little more than halfway through the season. The Colts won that game and it seemed to springboard them to the playoffs, while Miami nosedived afterwards.

The Fins have a good young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and are in year two of coach Joe Philbin. the former offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. But Miami’s schedule to start the year is just brutal. They could likely be out of it by mid-season. If the Dolphins start 4-4, watch out for them.

The Jets? They are just awful. They were hoping they had a hot rookie quarterback in Geno Smith. But if Rex Ryan is to be believed, Smith is nowhere near ready to take over. Last week Ryan went public after one of the practices and called Smith’s performance “brutal”. This is a guy who watched Mark Sanchez all last season, so he knows brutal quarterback play when he sees it.

Predicted order of finish:

1. New England- 10-6

2. Miami- 8-8

3- Buffalo- 6-10

4- New York- 4-12



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