AFC East in Disarray: Breaking Down the Division
As a fan of the New England Patriots, I am part of a growing nation of supporters of the new "Patriot Way".
The AFC East has been owned by the Patriots since Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick teamed up, making the team the model for success in the NFL.
The Patriots have, once again, perched atop the division in convincing fashion.
Tom Brady has led the team to a record 10th title with a victory over the Dolphins in Week 13. That equals another playoff berth with an outside chance at a No. 1 or 2 seed.
As we approach the end of the regular season, it is a good time to analyze the teams of the AFC East to see where they stand and where they should go from here.
1. The New England Patriots, as discussed above, hold the world in their hands. With arguably the best quarterback in football, it almost seems they can have their way against any other teams. But we know that their defense leaves a little to be desired. New England needs more consistent play, especially on the back end. It's probably been their biggest weakness in the past five or six years.
2. The Miami Dolphins were on the verge of success for the better part of this season. But they just don't have the stuff to get it done yet. However, they do have Ryan Tannehill as their franchise quarterback; he is the best they have had since... Dan Marino. But he needs better receivers and a better running back than Reggie Bush to make the leap. And he needs a little more time to throw the ball.
3. The Buffalo Bills had high hopes; they sank fast. The Bills do not have a franchise quarterback; oh, Ryan Fitzpatrick is decent, but that's not enough in this division. A good running game won't mask the problems on this offense, and the defense fizzled despite stealing one of the biggest free agents in Mario Williams. Maybe coaching is the real problem there. Solve that and they might be headed in the right direction.
4. I put the New York Jets last for a very specific reason. They had a shot to challenge the Patriots for the top spot. But they turned out to be all talk and no action. Bravado is no substitute for execution.
The team is in disarray from the top down. Yes, the top is the worst part of the organization. Rex Ryan is a ring leader, not a coach. Mark Sanchez is no longer a No. 1 quarterback. Tim Tebow is a distraction. There is nothing good going on in New York right now. The Jets need to figure out what being a football team means. This league has no mercy on pretenders.
Until one of the other three front offices figures out what the missing ingredients are, they will continue to trail the Patriots in whipping up titles and championships.