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AFC East Betting Preview
Odds - Analysis
The New England Patriots got off easy last year. They took this division with a measly record of 11-5. That won’t happen this year. The Dolphins and Jets are vastly improved. Both will present strong challenges to the Patriots this year. The oddsmakers and bettors, at least thus far, feel that the Jets have narrowed the gap considerably in the AFC East. While the Patriots are favored to win the division at +120, the Jets are close behind at +140 could become the favs before the season begins. The Dolphins are +300 and the the Buffalo Bills round out the AFC East as long shots with odds of +2500 or 25/1. Those odds are courtesy of sportsbook.com, however be sure to shop for the best odds at all the top offshore sportsbooks prior to making your wagers!
Let’s take a glance at the AFC East and see who has the best chance of coming out on top!
New England Patriots - The dynasty is over, New England fans. That doesn’t mean that the Pats aren’t a top tier team anymore. They still have “Golden Boy” Tom Brady and Coach Belichick. Brady will be starting his second year since having reconstructive knee surgery. He is every bit as good of a passer as he has ever been. He will need to rely on the old but still good Randy Moss, and the shifty Wes Welker. More importantly, he needs RB Laurence Marouney to take on a more pronounced role in the offense. The bruising runner has to be utilized much more this year. If he doesn’t live up to expectations then RB Fred Taylor still has plenty of gas left in the tank at 34. Welker “clone” Edelman will be a valuable asset on offense, but he can’t be counted on to carry an excess amount of the load if Welker gets hurt again.
The Pats made Vince Wilfork the highest paid NT in the NFL this off season. He will anchor the defensive line for a unit that needs a jolt. Combined with Ty Warren he will lift the Patriots defense up from a year ago. Second round pick Brandon Spikes will be an asset at LB when he gets promoted to a starting job. FS Brandon Meriweather is an eagle in the secondary. If the Patriots get off to a fast start they should win this division. If they start out poorly then it will be tough to quell a rebellion from the Jets or another team. Look for a good season which has been the norm in New England.
New York Jets - Last season should be considered a mild success. They made the AFC Championship, but the Jets would’ve missed the playoffs if the Colts and Bengals hadn’t played dead in their last two games. Rex Ryan will be a better HC in his second year and the same can be said for Mark Sanchez at QB. The wunderkind performed well in the playoffs, but still has plenty to prove. Tossing to Santonio Holmes will make his job easier. The Jets picked up Holmes from the Steelers for a measly fifth round pick. The offense also adds stud RB LaDanian Tomlinson. True, he is a step slower, but he is still LT. He will backup Greene. The Jets added Joe McKnight in the draft. They are stacked at RB. WR Braylon Edwards will make Sanchez look good with his pass catching ability. The defense has studs in CB Revis, LB Scott, and LB Harris.
Remember, the Jets were in the playoffs 2 years ago, bowing out to the Pats before a dud of a season in 2008, Mangini's last. Point being, this team had some talent to begin with. Ryan has made all of the right moves thus far. There's no reason for this team not to compete. It's not as if he took over a 1-15 team. Anything less than the playoffs, and perhaps winning the division, will be a major step backwards for the Jets.
Miami Dolphins - Bill Parcells has this franchise headed in the right direction for new owner Stephen Ross. His run heavy offense looks very good thanks to studs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. They run behind two of the best offensive linemen in the NFL (Jake Long and Lousaka Polite). QB Chad Henne will be starting at QB after doing a stellar job last year. The Michigan alum has the potential to be a dynamite passer thanks to the addition of WR Brandon Marshall. The ‘Fins gave up two second round picks for the super talented WR. If the Dolphins are going to succeed in 2010 they need to stop the passing game of their opponents. They have two young CBs with potential, but they really need to grow up in terms of playing ability this year. It’s going to be hard to win the AFC East with the Patriots and Jets around, but Bill Parcells has the track record of getting things done.
Buffalo Bills - Things aren’t great for this team. Their offensive line is absolutely horrid, and the QB situation is almost as bad. How would you feel if your team had to pick between Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Brohm to lead the charge? Not very good. On the bright side, the Bills have explosive runners in first round pick C. J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Marshawn Lynch is still effective too. The front seven on defensive is also very questionable. Bills fans will have to endure another year in the cellar of the AFC East.
The Jets would be our pick to win the AFC East. Anything less would be a disappointment. They need to prove that their trip to the AFC Championship game was no fluke. The Patriots should be down a notch and we just don't see the Dolphins as being ready to contend. Not much value at even money, as far as a futures play, but our pick - New York Jets.