New England Patriots
Look for New England to run away with the AFC east in 2009. This is a veteran team that has a quality system in place. The teams only concern is age and injuries. But they have proven before that those should not be a factor. They have dept at almost every position. In the offseason the Pats added some veteran production to stabilize an already explosive offense, with the additions of Fred Taylor, and Joey Galloway. The made a move to strengthen their secondary with the additions of Leigh Bodden , and Shawn Springs. Those two account for 230+ games of experience and over 45 interceptions.
New England will be heavy favorites in 13 games this season, and they will be the underdog in none. The week 10 & 17 matchups at Indianapolis and Houston are both a toss up, and could go either way. The only problem I see on their schedule is a week 12 visit to New Orleans, against an offense that is probably more explosive than New Englands. This team will roll through the division and make another playoff apperance.
Absolute win total = 13
New York Jets
I look for the Jets to struggle out of the gate and start the season 1-3. They will eventually make the transition into the Rex Ryan system, and the defense will be solid this year with the additions of Bart Scott, and Lito Shepard. The offensive line will need to be a solid unit in 2009 and the Jets will need to be able to run the ball, and control the clock to shoeten the game. If this team is forced to throw the ball mistakes will follow and loses will mount.
The Jets struggle out of the gate and get off to a 1-3 start with a victory over Tennessee. The week 5 game at Miami is a toss up, and could go either way. After that look for the Jets to win out going into the bye week and be at least .500 in the win loss record. They will come out of the bye week with a win vs Jacksonville and a big loss at New England. Week 12 vs Carolina is another even matchup and could either way. They should follow that up with 3 consecutive wins at Buffalo, at Tampa, and vs Atlanta. New York will finish weak and lose 2 game that may cost them a playoff spot when they travel to Indy, and the Cincinnati Bengals come into town.
Absolute win total = 8
The Dolphins are a team that is improving in leaps and bounds, but they are not blessed with a favorable schedule. The only real addition to the team in the offseason was Jason Taylor, who if you remember was let go last year. This team will need to continue to play mistake free football if they are going to even think about a winning record this year.
The Dolphins had a + 17 turn over margin last year, and that stat needs to be even better in order to contend this season. Miami better have improved the special teams units this year, because a coverage unit that ranked 29th in punt coverage, and 25th in kick off return coverage last season will spell doom in 2009. The Dolphins would be forced to battle feild position all season and they can not afford to fight that fight.
The Dolphins will limp into their bye week with a 1-4 record scoring a lone victory vs Buffalo. The schedule coming out of the bye week will be just as brutal and I look for Miami to finally score a second win in week 10 against Tampa Bay. That win should be a signal and be the start of a strong finish for Miami. The Carolina game in week 11 is a toss up, and a week 12 trip to Buffalo should result in a victory. Miami will suffer a blowout loss to New England in week 13. Look for Miami to find their selves at this point in the season and win 3 straight games in weeks 14 through 16. The Dolphins will finish the season with a tough loss at home to Pittsburgh.
Absolute win total = 6
Buffalo is team loaded with talent and could be a big surprise this season. They made a monster addition in the off season with the addition of T.O. The issue I have with te addition of Owens is that wide reciever was already the Bills biggest weapon. They could have better spent that money and brought in a veteran who could also act as a leader or mentor.
The Bills had issues with turnovers and off feild problems last season and a calming veteran lockerroom leader could have made a difference. Is T.O. that kind of guy? I think he’s proven that he is not. I still look for this team to be very competitive and they should have 8 games this season decided by a 3 points or less. They are close to breaking out but they just don’t know how to win yet.
Buffalo should win big when Tampa Bay comes to town in week 2. Buffalo will dominate Cleveland in week 5. Buffalo will also win away from home in weeks 11 and 14 vs Jacksonville and Kansas City. This team will have a chance to win the majority of the games on the schedule, but distractions and youth have to be overcame. I cant give them anything they have to earn it.
Absolute win total = 4