I am currently on my lunch break at work, trying to enjoy a pretty healthy jack-cheese & avocado sandwich on wheat … when I bite into something relatively sour. I’m no expert, but is that taste supposed to be there? Anyway, the whole experience has now inspired me to write about the AFC East, since I’m sour towards one team in particular.
My pops was the biggest Bills fan ever (I don’t know why) so naturally, I became a huge fan too. They became my second favorite team during the early 90’s, and I felt the pinch of pain in my nerves just as much as any Buffalo resident when they fell short in four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. Do people realize how close the Bills were to becoming the team of the 90’s, and not those pesky Cowgirls, I mean Cowboys. Well that little story has nothing to do with the Bills now, but I did want to take that opportunity to share a little bit of myself with you all. On to the good stuff. The Bills are an upstart team who showed plenty of promise last season, and then fell apart a bit towards the end. They have a great young cast of talent at all skill positions. Trent Edwards at QB, Marshawn Lynch at RB, and Roscoe Parrish as your lead receiver. Now, the tricky part … I still think that a TO who brings his “A” game, is in the top five as far as wide-outs playing in the game today. But even when TO was #1, the off-field issues negated any good he did for his team. It’s almost as if he’s an evil dictator, and with the push of a button, he can annihilate team morale if he sees fitting. On top of that, he’s currently on two reality TV shows, and I don’t know how much of a distraction that will be to him, or the Bills. I’ve seen part of his show on VH1, and I gotta say. Bravo. I admit, it’s enjoyable. Anyway, it’s not about stats, or numbers with the Bills. It’s about potential. As I stated before, they’ve got a lot of good things going for them, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that TO, at least for this year, is going to be a model citizen in the locker room. What it boils down to, is can the coaching staff, and team leaders keep it together for 16 games. Every season, every team hits a road block, or a turning point, the Bills were unsuccessful at overcoming it last year, but I have a gut feeling that this season will be different. No way the tough mentality of Dick Jauron will allow that to happen again. I’m going with a risky prediction, but they will win the AFC East this season. Yes, the Bills, not the Patriots.
The Buffalo Bills finish the season 11-5 (AFC East champs)
What a nice turn around last season for the Dolphins. After escaping with one victory two seasons ago, they shocked everyone with their performance last year, and were in the mix for the Wild Card spot. A lot has been said about what Chad Pennington is able to do with his arm, but sometimes that stuff is way overrated. Would you rather have a guy who can throw it 60-70 yards down the field on one knee (JaMarcus Russell) or have a leader who can drive it 60-70 yards down field come crunch-time. What good does throwing it from your knee do anyway? I can’t wait for the day to see a QB run a bootleg option roll-out, and then drop to one knee prior to throwing the ball. Ronnie Brown is an impressive back, and part of Pennington’s success is directly corelated to Ronnie Brown’s tough running. The guy is a bruiser. A player to keep an eye on this season is Tedd Ginn, Jr. I would highly consider selecting him in your fantasy drafts this season, he’s going to have a break-out year. Outside of DeSean Jackson of Philly, Tedd Ginn, Jr. is going to be the most improved wide-out in the NFL in 2009. Guess who’s back with the sea-mammals? Jason Taylor, and despite his age, he, like TO keeps himself in tip-top shape. Nature may be creeping up on JT, but trust this, because of his work ethic, he’s able to keep it at bay for a few more seasons. Like I said, he may not be the most dominant defensive player in the game like he was a few years back, but he can still strap it on, and he offers so much more besides his actual play. When Miami turned into the football version of the LA Clippers, Jason Taylor continued to play his heart out. He left it all on the field every Sunday. That type of leadership will help in ways that are hard to explain. He demands respect, and it’s given to him. Back to the running game, I know Ronnie Brown is the man, but if Ricky Williams can continue to “act normal”, and not be a weirdo, what an addition he is to the Dolphins. What a powerhouse this backfield can be. Witnessing him run last season, it seems as if Ricky hasn’t lost a step at all. He seemed completely sane last season too, and of course that’s the most important thing. Tony Soprano, oops … I mean Sparano (I’m sure that’s old already) is an excellent coach, and I look forward to seeing how he pushes the 2009 Dolphins into the post-season. It’s looking as if the AFC East is this year’s NFC East.
The Miami Dolphins finish the season 9-7
New England Patriots
This is the sourness I was referring to earlier. I don’t like the Patriots much outside of Tom Brady, and it’s not really their fault. They’re a great team, well disciplined, no egos, I mean in all actuality, they are everything that’s right about team sports. But man is Bill Belichick an ass. Oh, and no, don’t pardon my language. Another reason I despise the Pats, is … well Tom Brady. Man, I’m full of contradictions. But, as much as I love Tom “Terrific”, the local guy, I don’t like the fact that some consider him better than my hero, Joe Montana. No way! He’s got a lot of similarties with Joe as far as achievements, and even his demeanor, but that’s because he, like me, grew up idolizing the guy. So please, anyone who has an opinion about who is the greatest quarterback of all time, if you don’t have Joe Cool #1, then just keep to yourself. Anyway, I do admire how Belichick is able to get players, no matter what their past attitude issues were, (Moss, Dillon, etc.) to buy into his system, and understand the concept of winning as a team. But that’s where any admiration stops. He is probably my least favorite sports figure, and he, to me, is the complete opposite of Tony Dungy. Classless. But I’ll have to save the “F” Belichick talk for another time. As far as the Pats season, it’s pretty obvious. Brady will come back as good as new, with a new resolve and appreciation for the game, he’ll realize how much he loves and missed it. Not a good thing for opposing defenses. Moss is still Moss, and outside of Fitz, he is the biggest long-ball threat in the game. The D will play smash-mouth, in the trenches and in your face style football, and despite their lack of big names outside of Adalius Thomas, the Pats will be in the hunt for a ring again. Nothing much to say, this team is good. They are a well oiled machine. The only reason I feel they won’t finish with a better record, is that Tom Brady does have to shake off some rust. What impresses me about Tom too, his acting. Who here saw his cameo on Entourage? His acting was as smooth as his play on the field. Then he gets to come home to Giselle each night? How is that fair?
The New England Patriots finish the season 10-6
New York Jets
Man, Matt Sanchez is a rock-star.
Jets finish the season 8-8