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2013 AFC East Preview

AFC: East | North | South | West         NFC: East | North | South | West

2012 Common Opponents: AFC South, NFC West
2013 Common Opponents: AFC North, NFC South

Despite the offseason issues surrounding the Patriots, the AFC East once again looks prime for New England dominance while the rest struggle to avoid losing seasons. Rookie quarterbacks for the Bills and Jets could infuse a bit of excitement into the division, but could also contribute to more double-digit loss columns as the AFC East faces relatively difficult common opponents in 2013.

Buffalo Bills

2012 Record: 6-10
2012 Rating: -1.8 (25th of 32)
2012 Deserved Wins: 7.4
2013 Division Rank Opponenets: JAC & KC
2013 Preliminary Rating: -0.7 (24th of 32)
2013 Wins by Preliminary Rating: 7.6

Projected Changes to Starting Lineup:
QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick / 80 / TEN >>> E.J. Manuel / 79 / rk
WR - Donald Jones / 78 / FA >>> Robert Woods / 78 / rk
G - Andy Levitre / 83 / TEN >>> Colin Brown / 75 / inj
T - Chris Hairston / 80 / inj >>> Erik Pears / 81 / inj
DE - Kyle Moore / 76 / CHI >>> Alex Carrington / 79 / -
LB - Nick Barnett / 82 / WAS >>> Manny Lawson / 81 / CIN
LB - Kelvin Sheppard / 77 / IND >>> Kiko Alonso / 78 / rk
S - George Wilson / 82 / TEN >>> CB Leodis McKelvin / 79 / -

The Bills have sported a strong running game the last couple seasons, but it has more than been offset by subpar passing and a bad defense. They come into the 2013 season with some roster turnover, but it includes as many downgrades as upgrades. While poor defenses do often turn around to at least average, Buffalo seems destined to extend their playoff drought to 14 straight seasons without foreseeable upgrades in the pass game. While expectations are still low, having #16 overall draft pick E.J. Manuel now at QB at least opens up the season to a wide range of possibilities depending on how he performs.

Miami Dolphins

2012 Record: 7-9
2012 Rating: -1.4 (23rd of 32)
2012 Deserved Wins: 7.4
2013 Division Rank Opponents: IND & SD
2013 Preliminary Rating: -0.8 (26th of 32)
2013 Wins by Preliminary Rating: 7.3

Projected Changes to Starting Lineup:
RB - Reggie Bush / 82 / DET >>> Lamar Miller / 78 / -
WR - Davone Bess / 82 / CLE >>> Mike Wallace / 86 / PIT
TE - Anthony Fasano / 83 / KC >>> WR Brandon Gibson / 81 / STL
T - Jake Long / 86 / STL >>> Tyson Clabo / 85 / ATL
DT - Randy Starks / 86 / - >>> DE Olivier Vernon / 77 / -
LB - Kevin Burnett / 82 / OAK >>> Philip Wheeler / 82 / OAK
LB - Karlos Dansby / 80 / ARI >>> Dannell Ellerbe / 80 / BAL
CB - Sean Smith / 80 / KC >>> Brent Grimes / 85 / ATL
CB - Nolan Carroll / 77 / - >>> Dmitri Patterson / 79 / CLE

Miami is a trendy pick to take the next step this season with a young QB, tons of money spent on free agents, and issues in New England. But we're afraid all 3 of those reasons may be overblown. Quarterbacks don't often make huge leaps in just 1 season, and their early big money signings seem a bit overpaid after how the rest of free agency played out. The Dolphins defense should be solid again, but the offense is likely to limit Miami to a mediocre win total.

New England Patriots

2012 Record: 12-4
2012 Rating: 6.9 (1st of 32)
2012 Deserved Wins: 11.9
2013 Division Rank Opponents: HOU & DEN
2013 Preliminary Rating: 2.9 (2nd of 32)
2013 Wins by Preliminary Rating: 9.6

Projected Changes to Starting Lineup:
WR - Wes Welker / 88 / DEN >>> Danny Amendola / 84 / STL
WR - Brandon Lloyd / 82 / FA >>> Kenbrell Thompkins / 75 / rk
TE - Aaron Hernandez / 84 / FA >>> Zach Sudfeld / 75 / rk
C - Dan Connolly / 81 / - >>> G Will Svitek / 78 / ATL
DT - Kyle Love / 80 / JAC >>> Tommy Kelly / 82 / OAK
CB - Alfonzo Dennard / 78 / - >>> Aqib Talib / 83 / inj

If not for the high-profile losses of key pass catchers, the Patriots would have to be given as good a chance at winning the Super Bowl as any other team. But if Gronkowski and Amendola can maintain health to be around for the majority of the season as expected, New England should still remain right near the top of the mix for the Super Bowl. A small drop in passing efficiency can be expected, but the defense could return to mediocrity. Even in the worst case scenario where key injuries linger, it's hard to imagine the Patriots not at least winning the division.

New York Jets

2012 Record: 6-10
2012 Rating: -4.2 (29th of 32)
2012 Deserved Wins: 5.7
2013 Division Rank Opponents: TEN & OAK
2013 Preliminary Rating: -1.9 (29th of 32)
2013 Wins by Preliminary Rating: 6.7

Projected Changes to Starting Lineup:
QB - Mark Sanchez / 78 / - >>> Geno Smith / 78 / rk
RB - Shonn Greene / 79 / TEN >>> Chris Ivory / 81 / NO
WR - Chaz Schilens / 77 / DET >>> Santonio Holmes / 84 / inj
G - Brandon Moore / 83 / FA >>> Willie Colon / 81 / PIT
G - Matt Slauson / 78 / CHI >>> Vladimir Ducasse / 78 / -
DE - Mike DeVito / 86 / KC >>> Sheldon Richardson / 80 / rk
DT - Sione Pouha / 83 / FA >>> Kenrick Ellis / 82 / -
LB - Bart Scott / 83 / FA >>> DeMario Davis / 77 / -
CB - Kyle Wilson / 79 / - >>> Dee Milliner / 80 / rk
S - LaRon Landry / 83 / IND >>> Dawan Landry / 81 / JAC
S - Yeremiah Bell / 78 / ARI >>> Antonio Allen / 73 / -

It's out with the old, in with the new for the Jets in 2013. They have a promising core of young players on defense for future years, but a slight dropoff on defense can be expected in 2013 with the loss of several solid contributors. If the passing offense is anywhere near as bad as last year, the Jets have no chance of avoiding a losing record. For this reason, it may be worth it to roll with the unknown entity in rookie QB Geno Smith rather than continue on with more of the same.

AFC: East | North | South | West         NFC: East | North | South | West

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