Two teams will compete and two teams will look again to the draft. Hopefully the Dolphins can make this division somewhat competitive this season.
New England Patriots
Look this is a no-brainer as long as Tom Brady is at the helm and the Patriots have a decent team to surround him. True, they have lost some key players in the last few years and maybe it caught up with them in the playoffs last season. I think (translated: I hope) that this will hurt the Pats again this year but the cupboard is not bare enough on either offense or defense to sink them into the abyss that that they rightfully deserve to plunge headfirst into screaming and kicking........um......moving on...(what can I say, I'm a Ram fan who has never recovered from Super Bowl XXXVI). Anyway, Brady will have another outstanding season and prove again that he is the best QB in the game. Dillon will be better than he was last year unless he is relegated to the bench by a sharp looking Laurence Maroney. But whether they share time or Maroney takes over full time, the running game is going to balance out this offense again. That's not good news for the AFC. Richard Seymour will lead a defense that won't dominate but will still be better than average. I hate to do this but I'm picking them to rebound from last year's playoff loss and win it all. Excuse me now while I go urinate on a picture of Bill Belichick.
Division Prediction: 1st
Playoff Prediction: Super Bowl Champs
The Dolphins used to be my AFC team of choice when Marino was around (my passing game bias again) and maybe Culpepper can spark that Dolphin love again.
I think this team is significantly better with Culpepper and as long as "getting his roll on" refers to on-field activities for him this year then he's going to make Miami fans very happy. Ronnie Brown is going to have a good year running the ball but it's the wideouts that are going to really to impress if Culpepper comes close to regaining his form. Chris Chambers enjoyed a breakout season last year with 82 catches and 1118 yards (should have happened sooner) and this year he will become a household name. They will still wreak havoc on defense with Thomas and Taylor still the headliners. They are not going to catch the Patriots but I think they see post-season action.
Division Prediction: 2nd
Playoff Prediction: Wildcard game
New York Jets
The Jets are playing QB roulette again. I'm not sure why if Pennington is healthy. I doubt he can ever be the QB he was in 2002 but I do think he deserves one more shot to prove he can be. They ought to go ahead and name him the starter already. The buzz is that Clemens could be good but even if that's true it wouldn't hurt him to ride the bench while the rebuilding offensive line gets some experience under their belt. With Curtis Martin out and Marshall Faulk gone, my two favorite running backs in the league are pretty much done. It's a little sad. With Martin's injury the Jets are really thin at RB and Kevin Barlow is not the answer. Unless someone surprises (like a Willie Parker situation) us they are going to have to rely on the QB's arm and with Pennington or any other that's pretty iffy. Defensively, Vilma is good at linebacker but since cloning him is illegal right now their D is pretty much screwed. They'll get torched.
Division Prediction: 3rd
Playoff Prediction: Hopeless
This team would have better off sticking with Losman for the entire season in 2005. Holcomb is a backup period. He' s good backup to have but the Bills need to realize Losman is the one with talent. Whether he fulfills that talent is another question but they need to give him a chance. So he sucked at times last year, big deal. The Bills weren't going anywhere anyway and I've got news for them this year--they won't sniff the playoffs again. So for Hell's sake leave Losman as the starter for the entire year and really get an idea of whether or not to draft or trade for a QB next year. Ok then, I got that off my chest. Anyway, turning to defense; the switch to cover-2 defensive scheme will probably fit their players better but the D is still a work in progress. --As is their hunt for a playoff position.
Division Prediction: 4th
Playoff Prediction: nope