Wednesday 23 August 2017 / 02:16 PM

AFC East Preview

Quarterback is the most important position not just in football but possibly all of sports. The game is in the quarterback’s hands for the majority of the game, figuratively and literally. He decides games, win or lose. 

With that being said, the AFC East’s quarterback situations to start the season is lousy at best. If you take New England’s Tom Brady out of the equation, one of the best quarterbacks to ever live, the quarterbacks remaining are an absolute joke.

Just like every season, quarterback play will be the determining factor on whether or not teams make the postseason.

 

2012 AFC East Standings

 

  1. New England Patriots (12-4)
  2. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
  3. New York Jets (6-10)
  4. Buffalo Bills (6-10)

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Buffalo’s state is worse than any other team in the division. Kevin Kolb is out with a serious concussion. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is injured and possibly out for Week 1. That leaves Jeff Tuel. He was signed as an undrafted quarterback from Washington State.

What a great way to start the season.

Not to mention, this is a team with a new head coach – Doug Marrone – and while I like Marrone, he has a long-term fit in Buffalo, he isn’t righting this ship in one season. It’s going to take some time.

Buffalo has several holes as a team. One hole is quarterback. EJ Manuel was the teams first round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. While I think he was an overrated selection at No. 16, he has the capabilities of turning into a franchise quarterback.

His size is ideal – 6’5” 237 pounds, he has a strong arm and he didn’t have too many turnovers in college – 28 in his four-year career.

Another issue for Buffalo is stopping the run. Buffalo finished 31st overall in rushing yards allowed per game last season.

What did they do to address the situation? Not much. And to make things worse, cornerback and former first round pick Stephon Gilmore will miss the first six-to-eight weeks of the season with a fractured wrist.

This is going to be a long season for Buffalo.

Prediction: 5-11

 

Miami Dolphins

 

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is heading into his second year in the league. His rookie season was average – he threw 13 interceptions while recording 12 touchdowns.

But with time comes improvement, and improvement is what the Dolphins are looking for this season. The expectations for Tannehill aren’t high – they just want to see him take a step forward.

As for other parts of the Dolphins, their running back Reggie Bush now plays his ball in Detroit. Bush helped Tannehill because of his ability to catch passes in the flat. He caught 35 balls in 2012 and 43 in 2011.

Miami will now rely on Lamar Miller, a talented but young running back from the University of Miami. Miller only attempted 51 carries last season, but he is a dynamic back with his explosive speed.

Again, this year is simply about taking steps and Miller is another guy the Dolphins organization wants to take a closer look at.

But when your idea is to just “see where you are”, you aren’t going to do well.

Prediction: 4-12

 

New York Jets

 

The Jets are an absolute disaster. No one knows who the starting quarterback will be. Luckily for New York, it won’t matter because this is a bottom-dwelling team this season, no matter who they decide to suit up behind center.

Sanchez finished with 18 interceptions to only 13 touchdowns while passing for 2,883 yards in 15 games last season. Sanchez looked to have secured the starting spot, however he’s unlikely to play in the first round after suffering deep shoulder bruising in their third preseason match against cross-town rivals the Giants.

Their other option looked to be Geno Smith. An unproven rookie quarterback New York selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. In the most important preseason game, Smith recorded four turnovers to just one touchdown.

Sanchez’s injury and Smiths shaky performances have forced the Jets to sign 2007 first-round pick Brady Quinn (quarterback).

Yet no announcement has been made on who will start.

Well, maybe the Jets could play well defensively…but they will have to do it without Darrelle Revis, the best cornerback in the league who now plays for Tampa Bay.

It’s going to be a long season for New York, and don’t be surprised if Rex Ryan is fired come season’s end.

He lost this team, and boy did he lose them in a hurry.

Prediction: 4-12

 

New England Patriots

 

New England wins the AFC East by default. End of story.

Fortunately, that’s why they play the games. Tom Brady and the Patriots, despite losing Aaron Hernandez for legal reasons, Rob Gronkowski constant injury concerns, and the departure of Wes Welker in free agency, are the front winners to win the division once again.

Brady’s short passing ability is off the charts. Defenses can’t stop the scheme, and he continues to burn oppositions year after year because he reads defenses before the snap arguably better than any quarterback in football.

Also, his preparation is what got him to the point he’s at. As a 6th round NFL Draft pick, Brady had to find ways to win football games. The best way to do that – be a smarter football player.

The best statistic to mirror intelligence from a football player is interceptions. Brady has only recorded 123 interceptions in his 13 NFL seasons. He has never had more than 14 interceptions in one season.

Brady will find ways to spread the ball around to guys like Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins – two new options on the perimeter.

With a weak schedule that features 10 teams that were under .500 in 2012, New England will win the AFC East virtually by default.

Prediction: 9-7

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Justin Welton

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