1) New England Patriots – Basically an automatic winner of the division until proven otherwise, or Tom Brady is catastrophically injured in such a manner that he has to miss regular season games. I don’t remember them making a significant signing (John Lynch doesn’t count) in the off-season outside of re-signing Randy Moss, and that may be enough to keep the equilibrium going. I would safely bet against another perfect REGULAR season, but they could totally sweep their in-division matches again.
2) Buffalo Bills – Generally, my guess is a team that finished second and did okay while trying to find itself in the middle of a QB switch can get better, and if head coach Dick Jauron isn’t asking Trent Edwards to do too much, they can and should be able to ride Marshawn Lynch to a second-place division finish. They’re trying to get better on defense, but it’s not like anyone in this division plays lockdown on that end, anyway (the Pats bent but did not break, let’s put it that way.)
3) New York Jets – Yup, raining on the Favre parade. Sorry. Signing Alan Faneca to beef up the O-line is a good idea and might also reap benefits for tailback Thomas Jones, but I’m not sure how much the Gunslinger’s propensity to improve will help this team be too much better than what they were last year. I’m not seeing a whole lot of a chance to be better than 8-8. I want to say they’ll be better than the Bills, but I just can’t do it.
4) Miami Dolphins – At least they won’t finish 1-15 this year, I think. Do not confuse this squad with a .500 team, but they won’t be as horrid as last year (how could they, anyway, unless they went 16-0?) We don’t mean to slag on Chad Pennington too hard, but when your likely starter has a wet noodle for an arm in a pass-happy division, it doesn’t look good.