This year, the teams of the AFC-East will face the teams of the AFC-South and NFC-West.
I love the moves the Bills have made. They addressed the need at Tackle caused by free-agency, added some much needed pass-rushers, and picked up a couple of CornerBacks. The problem? Their Tackes are going to have a lot to get used to and will get challenged, partly because of how good the interior-3 is on that OLIne. Stevie Johnson is still the only WR that requires serious game-planning. RBs are going to be charging right at DE Mark Anderson, who's still nothing more than a pass-rush specialist. Ryan Fitzpatrick still isn't much more than an okay QB. Plus, their CBs are going to be green. They have good Safeties but their CBs, no longer including Florence, are going to have their hands full.
Needs by the end of the 2012 season: Talent at WR, QB, and LB. Experience at CB and Tackle. Depth at DE, S, and C/G.
Prediction: 9-7. That's still a big improvement over the last few years. If they make the playoffs they don't survive the wildcard round. Their pass-game still needs an upgrade or two.
I don't believe their Defense will be as good this year as it was last year. Why would it be? Players are getting older, pieces have left, the coaching has changed, and no serious talent has jumped in to make up the difference. They have a new QB, but the offense hasn't improved at all besides for that. If anything they've taken a step-back. If I were a Phins fan I'd find a new sport. If I were the Phins owner I'd find a new GM. And if I were Ryan Tannehill I'd want a WR or 3.
Needs by the end of the 2012 season: Talent at WR, CB, S, 43DE, and LB. Experience at QB. Depth at OLine, WR, and TE.
Prediction: 4-12. Look at it this way, in the 2013 draft they might be able to select their next Jason Taylor.
The locker-room problems have not been addressed. The Jets need to not be the only team in the league where the Captains are not chosen by the players. Last year it was Rex Ryan proving how smart he was by making Santonio Holmes a Captain. This year there will be no Captains at all. Why? Add in Tim Tebow, a project-WR to cover for the loss of the veteran Burress, no new OLBs, a project-Safety, and the status-quo at Right-Tackle and there are going to be some real issues. The Jets take a step back, and Ryan faces the NY-media for an epic showdown in which only he or Tannebaum survive- but not both.
Needs by the end of the 2012 season: Talent at DE/OLB, RT, S, and QB(yup). Experience at WR and TE. Depth at C/G. RB, and LB.
They have the easiest schedule in the league. I say again; the easiest schedule in the league.
2011 was an especially injury-plauged season for the Pats, so one would imagien 2012 won't be as bad.
Their big loss in FA was 43DE, which they replaced by throwing in signee Trevor Scott, draftees Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower(when he isn't linebacking), and Jake Bequette. Markell Carter coming off the Practice Squad might cause some heads to turn in camp and during the regular season.
They lost Matt Light at LT but already got the next one, along with one(Cannon) or two(Kopa off the PS) coming in to reinforce the position.
They gave Chung some competent help at Safety, got Dowling coming back to the secondary, upgraded DT/DE with Jonathan Fanene over Shaun Ellis, and got a big upgrade over Gary Guyton in Dont'a Hightower,
No more Lawfirm? Pats got Vereen, Ridley, and Boldin to help fill his shoes.
Let's not forget all the new/old WRs. Last year WR was their 1st or 2nd biggest weakness behind Safety, with Branch looking too old and Ochocinco too clueless and no one else being able to help. The help the Pats added here may make the biggest difference as it prevents opposing-Ds from focusing on clogging up the center of the field where Welker/Hernandez/Gronk operate best. And again, the easiest schedule in the league.
Needs by the end of the 2012 season: Talent at C/G. Experience at DE/OLB. Depth at DT/DE, WR, WR(yes, twice), and S.
Prediction: 14-2, and then 3-0 in the post-season.