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2009 NFL Divisional Previews: AFC East


Q: How wacky of a season was it in the AFC East Division last year?

A: A one-win team (Miami) the previous year won the division while another team (New England) managed 11-wins, yet saw its five-year playoff skein snapped.

Such is life in the AFC East, where Bill Parcells’ presence paid huge dividends for the Dolphins while Tom Brady’s injury left a lasting impression that Patriots’ fans would soon like to forget.


The story didn’t end there. Brett Favre came and went as the Jets crashed and burned, while the Bills played in triplicate for the 3rd straight season.

As a result numerous changes occurred during the off-season landscape inside this tumultuous division.

Here is my take of teams in the AFC EAST DIVISION for the 2009 season.

Coming up next: the AFC NORTH DIVISION.




Team Theme – 7 UP

A third-straight 7-9 season (a 2-8 finish washed out a promising 5-1 start) under Dick Jauron left the Bills more frustrated than ever last year and looking for a ray of sunshine. Jauron hopes last year’s solid offensive and defensive improvement will help move his team into the winner’s circle in 2009. Jauron needs to pay more attention to business within the division, where he was egged last year. Interestingly, Buffalo will tackle only three foes that sported losing records last season while facing the league’s 6th toughest schedule his year. The addition of WR Terrell Owens will either make or break this team. TO’s skills may be diminishing but he is a major home-run target for QB Trent Edwards. With RB Marshawn Lynch filling out the backfield, the Bills possess an offense that will test even the best of the NFL defenses. Get ready for the TO show. PLAY ON: at New England (9/13)


Team Theme – MIAMI NICE

What sort of price does a 1-15 team pay for selling out its soul in return for an 11-5 playoff squad? Plenty. Ask the Miami Dolphins. For openers, the Fins will take on the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2009. Included are games against the always-tough AFC and NFC South divisions plus a season finale against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year Miami faced a total of four teams that had winning records the previous season. This year that total ratchets to ten. In fact, only two opponents on this year’s slate had losing records in 2008. In addition, Miami must overcome the stigma of being the second team in NFL history to record a 10-game improvement from one season to the next. Cleveland was anointed the rags-to-riches team in 2008 and then fell flat on their face. With seven wins by 7 or less points last season, look for Miami to complete the sale this year. PLAY AGAINST: as home favorites vs. NY Jets (10/12) – *KEY



After assessing the NFL draft and a busy season of free agent acquisitions, the team that improved the most from last season to this has to be the Patriots. Not because of the draft or free agent signings, but because of the return of Tom Brady. If you feel otherwise, take a look a New England’s numbers last season. They were good by most standards, but not good enough to extend a five-year streak of making the playoffs. Some say missing out on the post-season was a consequence of the “Super Bowl Loser” jinx. We say rubbish. Consider this: last year the Pats laid an average 4.5 points per contest. In 2007 they laid an average 13.5 points. That’s a loss of 9 points per game net difference, or the kind of weight most of us would be thrilled to shed. With only one back-to-back road trip, the Pats will be lying in wait for a lot of teams this year. PLAY ON: vs. NY Jets (9/20) – *KEY if Jets off win



If we were air traffic controllers reading flight patterns, we’d say there is a rocky voyage in store for the Jets in 2009. We base that prediction on New York’s win-loss index in which every winning season has been immediately followed by a losing effort since 2003. Noting the flawed blueprint, Eric Mangini was dispatched in favor of Rex Ryan, DC with the upstart Ravens last season. Ryan’s infatuation with rookie QB Joe Flacco was evident when the Jets traded up in the draft to select QB Mark Sanchez with the 5th pick. New York is hoping the same rookie-coach, rookie-quarterback combination that was a hit with Atlanta and Baltimore last year is more of an NFL trend than an aberration. We feel it was more the latter than the former. With Brett no longer piloting the Jet, and Mangini making new brownies in Cleveland, the fasten seat belt sign is lit. PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. Carolina (11/29)

Note: Marc Lawrence is a 30-year veteran handicapper. He finished No.1 in the nation (88-63 +25.7 Net Units) in MLB during the 2007 season as documented by Sports Watch in Las Vegas.

Comments are Welcome!!!


Marc Lawrence Has Been Handicapping Sports Professionally Since 1975 – Check Out His Weekly Picks & His DAILY MLB PlAYS Today Here at Capperspicks.com >>>


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