NFL 2013: AFC East Preview Capsules
NFL 2013: AFC East Preview Capsules
The Associated Press
Aug. 26, 2013
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-5)
NEW FACES: WR Danny Amendola, RB LaGarrette Blount, WR Josh Boyce, LB Jamie Collins, WR Aaron Dobson, DT Tommy Kelly, TE Zach Sudfeld, OL Will Svitek, QB Tim Tebow, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, RB Leon Washington, S Adrian Wilson.
KEY LOSSES: TE Aaron Hernandez, WR Brandon Lloyd, DT Kyle Love, WR Wes Welker, RB Danny Woodhead.
STRENGTHS: QB, DL, LB.
WEAKNESSES: DB, WR.
EXPECTATIONS: Patriots handled rough offseason well. They cut Hernandez day he was arrested on murder charge and replaced top two WRs Welker and Lloyd with Amendola and rookies. Should win weak AFC East for 10th time in 11 seasons. Defense should improve with veteran Kelly and greater depth. WRs a question mark and TE Rob Gronkowski probably will miss start of season following back surgery. But Patriots get better as year goes on: 23-1 in last half of past three seasons. Last year's highest scoring team in NFL still solid at RB with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen. With coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady leading way, Patriots could go deep into playoffs.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-9)
NEW FACES: WR Mike Wallace, DE Dion Jordan, CB Brent Grimes, LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Philip Wheeler, WR Brandon Gibson, T Tyson Clabo, PK Caleb Sturgis.
KEY LOSSES: T Jake Long, RB Reggie Bush, LB Karlos Dansby, LB Kevin Burnett, CB Sean Smith, WR Davone Bess, TE Anthony Fasano, K Dan Carpenter.
STRENGTHS: DE, DT, WR.
WEAKNESSES: OL, TE, RB, CB.
EXPECTATIONS: Following free-agent spending spree, new starters projected at 11 positions. That's a lot of change, and it might take a while for coach Joe Philbin to work out kinks, especially on offense. 1972 Dolphins made recent trip to White House, but invitation to 2013 team seems farfetched. Instead, look for season-long flirtation with .500. Early schedule daunting, and December surge may be needed to end franchise's streak of four consecutive losing seasons.
NEW YORK JETS (6-10)
NEW FACES: QB Geno Smith, RB Chris Ivory, CB Dee Milliner, TE Kellen Winslow Jr., S Dawan Landry, LB Antwan Barnes, DT Antonio Garay, G Willie Colon, DL Sheldon Richardson, WR Mohamed Massaquoi.
KEY LOSSES: CB Darrelle Revis, S LaRon Landry, RB Shonn Greene, DL Mike DeVito, QB Tim Tebow, RB-KR Joe McKnight, TE Dustin Keller, WR Braylon Edwards, LB Bart Scott, NT Sione Po'uha, G Brandon Moore, G Matt Slauson, S Yeremiah Bell, LB Bryan Thomas.
STRENGTHS: DL, LB.
WEAKNESSES: QB, WR.
EXPECTATIONS: Not very high, especially since team enters final week before regular season not knowing if Smith is ready enough to start or Mark Sanchez's shoulder is healthy enough. Coach Rex Ryan squarely on hot seat as team faces third straight season without playoffs. Without much game-breaking talent on offense, Jets could be hard-pressed to match last year's six-win total, even with creative Marty Mornhinweg as coordinator and solid defense that should keep them in games. That could spell doom for Ryan, who was kept on by owner Woody Johnson despite hiring new GM in John Idzik.
BUFFALO BILLS (6-10)
NEW FACES: QB EJ Manuel, QB Kevin Kolb, QB Matt Leinart, LB Manny Lawson, LB Jerry Hughes, LB Kiko Alonso, WR Robert Woods, WR Marquise Goodwin, DT Alan Branch, K Dustin Hopkins.
KEY LOSSES: LG Andy Levitre, LB Nick Barnett, LB Shawne Merriman, S George Wilson, CB Terrence McGee, DE Chris Kelsay, WR David Nelson, WR Donald Jones, K Rian Lindell.
STRENGTHS: RB, DL.
WEAKNESSES: QB, OL, LB, DB.
EXPECTATIONS: Far too many changes at far too many key positions on and off field — from GM (Doug Whaley) down to placekicker — to expect Bills to end longest active playoff drought at 13. Quarterback already an issue with rookie Manuel (left knee) and veteran Kolb (potential concussion) both questionable to start season. Injuries left Bills scrambling to sign Leinart on Sunday. Hope for team without winning record since 2004 is to begin showing signs of improvement under new coach Doug Marrone and young staff, which includes former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org