2012 NFL Predictions: Breaking Down The AFC East

By Benjamin Woodward

Over the next week and a half, I’ll be taking a look at each of the NFL’s individual divisions and offering my thoughts and predictions for how they will fare in the 2012-13 campaign. First on the list is the East division of the American Football Conference, featuring the defending champion New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

The schedule for the 2012 NFL predictions pieces is as follows:

AFC East

AFC South

AFC North

AFC West

NFC East

NFC South

NFC North

NFC West

Award Winners

AFC Playoffs

NFC Playoffs

Superbowl 47

Without further ado, my predictions for the AFC East…..

1) New England Patriots (13-3) — After reloading on defense with the addition of rookies Chandler Jones (my pick for NFL defensive Rookie of the Year) and Dont’a Hightower, the Patriots should find themselves right back atop a mediocre AFC East division. While the team does lack depth at the wide receiver position and the offensive line is riddled with question marks, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and newly-acquired veteran Brandon Lloyd (pictured above) should give Tom Brady plenty of options on offense.

2) Buffalo Bills(8-8) — The Buffalo Bills’ offense is about as explosive as it gets. With one of the AFC’s best running back tandems in the shifty C.J. Spiller and the bulldozer that is Fred Jackson, Buffalo’s running game will be difficult to defend. On the outside, speedy Steve Johnson and big 6’5″ David Nelson provide quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with a couple of solid weapons in the passing game. Buffalo’s pass rush should also see significant improvement after the offseason acquisitions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.

3) New York Jets (7-9) — If you were to type in the word “mess” into Google, you may be directed to a giant image of the New York Jets’ logo. Well, that might not be entirely correct, but you can understand my point. The offseason acquisition of enigmatic quarterback Tim Tebow might have created more offensive options for new coordinator Tony Sparano, but also added yet another strong personality to an already shaky Jets roster. From Santonio Holmes’ penchant for arguing with teammates mid-huddle, third-string quarterback Greg McElroy (who, ironically, accounted for the only Jets touchdown of the 2012 preseason) publicly criticizing teammates and Antonio Cromartie‘s infatuation with trash-talking, the Jets are an absolute train wreck. If head coach Rex Ryan leads his team to a winning record in 2012-13, he’ll find an NFL Coach of the Year award sitting atop his mantle this winter.

4) Miami Dolphins(4-12) — After dumping cornerback Vontae Davis, safety Yeremiah Bell  and wide receivers Chad Johnson and Brandon Marshall, as well as introducing new head coach Joe Philbin, the Miami Dolphins seem to have pressed the “reset” button on their franchise. While new starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill may not be well versed in the geography department (this is what FIVE years of a Texas A & M education buys you, folks), he is plenty proficient on the field with one of the strongest arms in the 2012 draft class. On the defensive side of the ball, it’s Cameron Wake and not much else for the Dolphins. It may take a while for Miami to return to relevancy, but rest assured Phins fans, Joe Philbin is rebuilding your team the right way to ensure long-term success down on South Beach.

Thanks For Reading!

Twitter: @_BWoodward

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