Still working the same film conceit behind the NFL previews, unless I happen to run out of funny on it (not that these may be funny or comprehensive in any sort of way). Previously: AFC West.
1) New England Patriots (Jack Nicholson) – No matter how old Jack gets, he can still manage to make something out of a crap script, a hack director, and lackadaisical co-stars — this is what Brady and Belichick have done with prior Pats teams, decimated by injury or lack of skill (see last year’s WR corps, which was led by Reche Caldwell). Now, Belichick has surrounded Brady with a WR corps to die for, Laurence Maroney is hopefully healthy, and the defense will be stout (although it would help if Asante Samuel signs that franchise tender), especially with Adalius Thomas signing in the off-season.
2) New York Jets (Al Pacino) – Occasionally questionable choices as of late, but still considered among the top in the class when he’s in a serious movie. The Jets may have questions with the offensive line, but they’re still around to stick it out, and should be considered contenders for a playoff spot — especially by adding Thomas Jones from the Bears, who hopefully will be able to take some of the load off Chad Pennington.
3) Buffalo Bills (Robert De Niro) – Still recovering from an absolutely incredible run (his 70s-80s output, the Bills’ four straight Super Bowls), and hasn’t really gone back to the big time. De Niro kind of disappeared after Heat, and the Music City Miracle put the Bills on their backs playoff-wise. The Bills could be a threat if J.P. Losman puts it together, because Marshawn Lynch will be a beast. The team is kind of low on defensive players, though — trading away Takeo Spikes and having to deal Darwin Walker, whom they got in that trade, away to the Bears because he wanted a new contract, will be a problem.
4) Miami Dolphins (Marlon Brando) – Much like the legendary actor eccentricities led to bizarre choice, the Fins made a lot of questionable choices after their prime years (with Marino) ended, and it only continued with the head-scratcher that was drafting Ted Ginn at #9 (yes, it was fine to pass on Brady Quinn, but Ginn shouldn’t have gone that high.) The defense will be stout, as it has been what the Fins have specialized in, but one lick to Trent Green and this offense is done.