By Ben Dieter
Big shocker here: the Patriots are favored to win the AFC East in 2014. Until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are gone, they probably will be. The Jets should be better and the Bills may be better as well, but the Patriots will still be the class of the division. The Dolphins have Ryan Tannehill, but not much else. Let’s take a look at the 2014 AFC East.
1. New England Patriots: Tom Brady and company should be able to roll to another division championship this season, no problems at all. It doesn’t matter who he has around him, Brady seems to make everyone better no matter how good of a receiver they were coming in to the season. Brady will not have a defense to bail him out, and they are especially weak at SS and FS, so look for a lot of big plays against the defense this season. Their run defense is bad, but not the worst. I look for the Patriots to win the division by a few games and finish the season with a record of 11-5.
2. New York Jets : I have a feeling that Geno Smith is going to be better this season, and we know that the Jets under Rex Ryan always seem to have a pretty decent defense. Geno has a year under his belt and he wasn’t awful last season, just bad. There has been a lot of turnover on the club, but their defensive line looks really good and their receivers are young, and I think they will give Smith some targets to throw at. I look for the Jets to not be great, but not be terrible either. A step in the right direction. I give the Jets a record of 8-8.
3. Buffalo Bills: The Bills have a quarterback, but not one that I would call amazing in E.J. Manuel. But what the Bills have is a very good defensive line. Mario Williams and company can get after the quarterback, and I think that they are going to have to have a good season on defense for them to have much of a chance to compete in 2014. The Bills will win low scoring affairs, and lose any game that the score starts to run up on them. They are going to struggle with the other teams in their own division as well. I think the Bills finish at 6-10.
4. Miami Dolphins: I like Ryan Tannehill, I really do, but I do not think he has a competitive team around him. A quarterback alone a team does not make. If Mike Wallace can play like he is supposed to, then maybe they will be better than I think, but I don’t believe that Mike Wallace has it in him now that he has gotten paid, he showed us that last season. The defense is nothing to write home about, the offense is weak at best, the only thing they have going for them is a qb that is pretty good. That can’t win a lot of games, so I have the Dolphins finishing at 5-11.
By Nathan Hague
Historically, the NFC East has been one of the best in all of football. Sadly it’s one of the worst and it can very easily be won by a record of 9-7, maybe even 8-8. Because of how bad this division is, it’s completely up for grabs and just about any team could win, just about.
1. Philadelphia Eagles: Fans are optimistic about the way quarterback Nick Foles has merged onto the scene but he’s a long way off from being considered an elite quarterback. For now, he’ll at least get the job done. He has solid weapons in Demeco Ryans, Brandon Boykin and Trent Cole. Their defense is decent at best but it’ll be good enough to win the division and get into the playoffs with a record of 9-7.
2. New York Giants: To say Eli Manning had a terrible year in 2013 would be an understatement. If he can stop with his Mr. Hyde Ways and stick with Dr. Jekyll, the Giants can be a tough team to beat. That’s a big if though. Even when the Giants have been successful in the recent years, that success has come towards the end as they’ve peaked at the right time. Their two recent Super Bowls came via Wild Cards, and this year, they won’t be that fortunate. They finish the year at 8-8.
3. Dallas Cowboys: How can Cowboys fans be optimistic about this season? They had one of the worst defenses in all football and were consistent at blowing big leagues. You’d think it can’t get much worse but think again. The same coaching staff is in place and the two bright spots of the defense from a year are out. DeMarcus Ware is a Bronco and Sean Lee is out for the year. Offensively, questions continue to surround Tony Romo and whether or not he’ll be healthy for 16 games. He still has solid weapons in Jason Witten and Dez Bryan, who will likely have his best year yet. The Cowboys have a tough schedule and will finish the year at 6-10.
4. Washington Redskins: They’ve got a new coach in Jay Gruden. If Robert Griffin III plays hurt, you can’t blame Mike Shanahan. RGII is single handily carrying the Redskins on his shoulders and the weight is too much for him to handle, they could be in trouble. They seem to have a solid insurance policy in Kurt Cousins but the Skins have too much invested in RGIII. He’ll have solid targets in DeSean Jackson and Pieere Garcon and solid running back in Alfred Morris. Truth is though, if RGIII isn’t even close to 100 percent, the Redskins don’t have a shot. They too will finish with a 6-10 record.
That’s the AFC and NFC East 2014 predictions.