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- AFC East Outlook: From Second to Fourth

Chris Pokorny August 22, 2004
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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AFC East 2004 Season Predictions - by Chris Pokorny

The AFC East seemed to be set one way just a few weeks ago in my mind. That has quickly changed however, because of the Miami Dolphins sudden collapse of players. This division overall could be considered average with the exception of the defending Super Bowl Champions. Let's get on with the team by team predictions.

1st Place - New England Patriots
I didn't even have to think about this decision. New England had the best team in football last year, and are trying to build a dynasty. They really did not lose anything in the off-season except for Antowain Smith, who was replaced by a better back in Corey Dillon. In another light however, I don't think the Patriots will have another 14-2 season. I can see something more along the lines of 12-4 or 11-5, but I think some teams will be able to find ways to beat the Patriots this year. And I know the Bengals just crushed New England in the preseason. That was impressive, but it is just preseason, and it was just one game. Tom Brady is a great quarterback to manage the game, and Vinatieri always gets the job done in pressure situations. They are also stacked at the tight end position after drafting TE Ben Watson. I don't have to mention their defense, they proved what they can do last season, plus they added defensive tackle Vince Wilfork in the first round of the draft.

2nd Place - New York Jets

The Jets had the same inconvenience that the Falcons had last year, when Chad Pennington was injured for the season in the preseason. Now that Pennington is back, he is looking sharp. Curtis Martin is still the guy at running back. He may continue getting older, but his production still has remained the same. Santana Moss developed into a go to guy for the Jets last year, and could be a Pro Bowl type player this season. Curtis Conway didn't add a whole lot to the team last year, so he is gone and in comes Justin McCareins from the Titans. He is a nice receiver to go alongside Moss with Chrebet backing up. I could actually see the Jets splitting the series with New England in one of the games this year. Jets should then be in hunt for wildcard spots.

3rd Place - Buffalo Bills

I don't think Drew Bledsoe can get the job done anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if J.P. Losman took over for him during the season. Eric Moulds production fell down last year, but I think it will pick up a lot more, even with Bledsoe at quarterback. I think the Bills made a wise choice by taking Lee Evans in the first round. The Bills were great offensively when they had Moulds and Price. Reed could not replace Price, but I think Evans can fill his shoes a lot better. As much as I like Travis Henry, I think Willis McGahee should get his shot at running back. Even if they have to alternate backs every carry, I'd like to see that. The Bills also made a nice pickup defensively by signing a tremendous cornerback in Troy Vincent. The Bills just don't have enough "spark" to be a contending team this season.

4th Place - Miami Dolphins

What a differance a few weeks make. About a month ago, the Dolphins would have been second on this list. Now they are fourth because of one reason mainly: the loss of Ricky Williams to retirement.(Or should I say due to drugs) There is no way that Travis Minor will replace him. Chris Chambers is a good wide receiver, and David Boston was brought in to counter him. But guess what? David Boston is now out for the season with an injury. Now the Dolphins had to trade one of their standout defensive players, Adewale, to the Chicago Bears for Marty Booker. Booker can be a good wide receiver, and I believe he is an upgrade over Boston. The bad news is, the Dolphins don't have anyone to throw Chambers or Booker the football! No one can convince me that Jay Fiedler or AJ Feely are the answer. The Dolphins have a good defense, but that can't overcome their offense.

That's it for the AFC East. Next up for review will be the AFC's counterpart of the East, the NFC East where we will check out possibly the best coaching division in football with Andy Reid, Joe Gibbs, Tom Coughlin, and Bill Parcells.

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