2012 NFL Season Previews: AFC East
With the NFL season only a month away, training camps have opened as teams prepare to line up for their pre-season games. As part of that, William Hill will be previewing all eight divisions, beginning with the AFC East.
The Bills are struggling to remove themselves from a rut of mediocrity, and after a promising start to the 2011 season, they tailed off. There is no doubt that there are talented pieces across the roster, however in Buffalo, things never seem to go to plan. WR Stevie Johnson is a potent threat, but the inconsistent Ryan Fitzpatrick is charged with limiting the offense's production. On the other side of the ball, the Bills have the potential to explode. Kyle Williams, Shawne Merriman, Marcel Dareus, and new addition Mario Williams provide an aggressive front four, with Nick Barnett and Kirk Morrison behind them.
If Chan Gailey can engineer an attitude of defiance, it is easy to see how this team could turn things around, and with the division being its weakest in a long time, they could really fight to pip that Patriots to the title.
Prediction: 9 wins, 2nd in AFC East.
You can find the AFC East Winner market here.
It's tough to predict anything other than failure this year for the Dolphins. They have had a disastrous 18 months, and after missing out on multiple head coach candidates and big name free agents, the franchise looks to turn a corner under Joe Philbin. Drafting Ryan Tannehill at 8th overall back in April was a statement of intent, yet his talents are unlikely to match the expectations that have been placed on his shoulders, forcing the ‘Phins to start David Garrard or Matt Moore under centre. After trading star WR Brandon Marshall to Chicago, they are left with little threat at wide-out, thrusting the workload upon the shoulders of Reggie Bush, who has never thrived in that position.
2012 will be tough for Miami, and if their defense doesn't step up to the mark, they could quickly revert to the form of their disastrous 2007 season which saw them fall to a 1-15 record.
Prediction: 3 wins, 4th in AFC East.
You can find the money line for their Week 1 matchup here.
New England Patriots
After suffering an agonising defeat in Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots look to bounce back in 2012 by going one better. The team is always there or there abouts, and this season should be no different. Tom Brady is likely to carry his imperious form over, and after going into camp with a multitude of receivers, the Pats will ensure they only take the best forward. Their offensive line is a possible weak link, mainly due to injury concerns, however if it can hold up, the Patriots will outscore opponents for fun.
Coach Bellichick will undoubtedly be out this year to avenge the loss of last year's Super Bowl, and it is difficult to look past them for the division title.
Prediction: 13 wins, 1st in AFC East.
You can find the AFC Winner market here.
New York Jets
For three consecutive seasons, Rex Ryan has ‘guaranteed' a Super Bowl. Yet 2012 promises to be the rockiest of his tenure after a mixed off-season. Star WR Santonio Holmes has been friendlier to the press than his teammates throughout, and has since suffered a broken rib in a camp scrimmage, ruling him out for a fair chunk of the pre-season. Antonio Cromartie, the second CB on the depth chart in New York reckons he should also be the second WR on the depth chart in New York, whilst their trade for media darling Tim Tebow may see them spiral into obscurity. The ‘catch-22' situation as to whether to start Mark Sanchez or Time Tebow is tough to escape from, and is a big hindrance in their preparations.
With the Jets, brashness and talk can only take them so far. Performance is crucial to success, and it is difficult to see where that comes from.
Prediction: 6 wins, 3rd in AFC East.
You can find the over/under markets for team wins here.