Predicting the order of this divisions is difficult (apart from position 1) given that three of them look pretty similar in squad talent. So at this stage all we can say with any confidence is that NE will make it 12 consecutive seasons with double-digit wins. Our predicted finishing order:
New England Patriots 12-4 – even an ageing Tom Brady is better than most of the QBs in the league, and with a retooled defence which now includes Revis at CB they are as close as you can get to a sure thing for the division. The offense is a minor concern as is the loss of Ryan Mallet who was a solid back up. (despite his patchy pre season showing) . Tom Brady has shown before that he can get the best out of any WR so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Buffalo Bills 8-8 – apart from the QB position, the Bills don’t look too bad and the addition a potential superstar WR in Sammy Watkins means that they now have some balance. The Bills could surprise a few people this year.
NY Jets 8-8 – similarly we think the Jets have a better squad than last season and Geon Smith will also have a year under his belt so hopefully will improve. If not then Michael Vick still looks capable of winning games and if as we think the AFC wild Card race is close they may still interested going into the final games
Miami Dolphins 5-11 – we were somewhat disappointed with the Dolphins efforts in the draft this year (taking Ja’Wuan James for example at 19) and don’t really see them making much progress. Given their divisional opponents have improved we see them taking a backward step.
This looks like being a tough division this season and it is possible that both the Wild Cards come from it. The Bengals are arguably the most balanced team in the AFC and a fourth consecutive season in the playoffs looks on the cards. The ravens look to have sorted their defence, and the Steelers should be good on offense so both of them should finish at least 50/50. This leaves the Browns who despite somewhat harshly losing Josh Gordon for the season thanks to the strange NFL rules which mean you can beat your wife up in public but heaven forbid you smoke a bit of pot, have a lot of buzz thanks to JM’ arrival. Should be some great games between these teams this year.
Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 – The Bengals have held their squad together and added a few nice bits including CB Darqueze Dennard who was a big part of the Michigan States virtual no fly zone last season. With Andy Dalton now settled with his new contract they should be good enough not only to take the division, but possibly to record that elusive post season win.
Baltimore Ravens 9-7 – the defence looks loaded and on offence they have added Steve Smith who will feel he has something to prove. this should be enough to get them over 50/50 and probably into the post season
Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 – defence looks a little suspect, but Big Ben will have a strong running game with Blount and bell and this should get them close if not into the post season.
Browns 6-10 – what can you say about the browns apart from they are perennial under achievers. They have some good players but still lack a cohesive looking team in our opinion. If Jonny M fulfils his potential they should be good enough (even without Josh Gordon) to surpass their recent wins record but like the rams in the NFC West they still look the weakest team in a strong division.