Click here for the NFC East projections.
Click here for the NFC North projections.
Click here for the NFC South projections.
Click here for the NFC West projections.
Click here for the NFC Postseason projections.
And now, Part VI, the AFC East:
And now we turn our attention, slowly yet surely, to the AFC, the conference from which I’d wager all $25.02 in my checking account, and $19.74 in my savings account (reminds me, damned BofA “keep the change” thingy. No wonder my balance seemed way off this morning) that this year’s Lombardi Trophy winner will emerge from.
Having watched three weeks of the preseason, I am 90% confident in who the six playoff teams from the AFC are going to be. Well, scratch that – I’m extremely confident on five of them. I’m still not sure about who I have winning the AFC South. Let’s start with by far and away the easiest division to predict …
(Please click picture below for full Excel schedule breakdown):
* Final Order of Finish:
1. New England Patriots
2. Buffalo Bills
3. New York Jets
4. Miami Dolphins
* First Read: No surprises whatsoever. I thought the Pats or the AFC North winner will have home field advantage coming into this, and am not surprised New England checks in at 13 wins. A December Jets collapse to cost them a playoff berth? That NEVER happens (rimshot!)
* Biggest Game: Patriots at Ravens, week 3. Could have huge playoff seeing ramifications, plus it’s a rematch of one tremendous AFC Title Game eight months ago. Also, Bills at Dolphins week 16 – my one projected upset that throws the AFC playoff field into abject chaos. We get one every year. I think this one is gonna be it.
* Seems wacky: nothing. No, really – if you asked any person with even a minimal knowledge of the sport to rank these four teams entering the season? This is exactly how they’d rank them.
* Division (Home) Uniform Rankings:
1. New York Jets
2. Buffalo Bills
3. Miami Dolphins
4. New England Patriots
Reason: before you accuse me of bias, when we get to the AFC West home uni rankings, you will see I am not only unbiased, if anything, I’m way TOO biased AGAINST my team’s uni. None of these uniforms really stand out. Green trumps three shades of blue.
* Division MVP: Tom Brady, Patriots. The reigning and undefeated champion until proven otherwise.
* Song from Mixology 2012 to Describe Each Team:
New England Patriots: “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Why fix what ain’t broke? Why mess with what works?
Buffalo Bills: “I Will Wait” by Hootie and the Blowfish. Thirteen years without a playoff berth and counting, the longest streak in the league. That ain’t good.
New York Jets: “Downfall” by TRUST Company. I can only speak for myself, but I am SO anxiously awaiting the inevitable December collapse, that begins Thanksgiving night at the Fake Meadowlands against the Patriots.
Miami Dolphins: “I Don’t Care” by Fall Out Boy. Is there a more unwatchable team in the league? No, really – is there any other team in this league you have LESS of a desire to see than the Dolphins? Because I can’t think of one.
* Bottom Line: Tom Brady took over as the Patriots quarterback in week two of the 2001 season, after the Jets nearly ended Drew Bledsoe’s career when Mo Lewis collapsed Bledsoe’s lung on a vicious hit. (Of COURSE the Jets ensured fifteen years of futility by getting Brady on the field. Bleeding Christ.)
In the 11 seasons since, the Patriots have won the division nine times, and Brady has been there starter for ten of those 11 seasons. Can you name the only quarterback in the last 11 years to win the AFC East other than Tom Brady?
And … time. The answer is Chad Pennington, in 2002 with the Jets, in 2008 with the Dolphins. That’s dominance.
* Final Prediction: Chad Pennington will remain the only quarterback not named Tom Brady to win the AFC East in the Brady era.