1. New England Patriots
Minus Darrelle Revis and Tom Brady being suspended for 4 games, the Pats still sit atop this division.
2. Miami Dolphins
Getting Ndamukong Suh brings a lot more attention to Miami’s need to clinch a playoff spot.
3. New York Jets
A new regime that struck it rich in free agency and the draft, but QB remains an issue.
4. Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan arrives with a lot of fan fare, but he has a familiar problem in finding a franchise QB.
Head Coach: Bill Belichick
Key Position: Secondary
Gone are Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. The Patriots will go with a solid group that is lead by Devin McCourty. Will that be enough to get them back to another Super Bowl? New England has a solid pass rush, but more pressure will be put on them with a suspect secondary playing behind them.
Key Acquisitions: CB Tarell Brown (Oakland Raiders), TE Scott Chandler (Buffalo Bills), DL Jabaal Sheard (Cleveland Browns)
Key Rookies: DT Malcolm Brown, S Jordan Richards
Head Coach: Joe Philbin
Key Position: Offensive Line
Giving up 46 sacks last season did not bode well for QB Ryan Tannehill even though he threw for over 4,000 yards. Miami needs a healthy Branden Albert to protect Ryan’s blind spot. Last years number one pick Ja’Wuan James finished the season on a good note and should be more comfortable being on the right side.
Key Acquisitions: TE Jordan Cameron (Cleveland Browns), WR Greg Jennings (Minnesota Vikings), CB Brice McCain (Pittsburgh Steelers), DT C.J. Mosley (Detroit Lions), WR Kenny Stills (New Orleans Saints), DT Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions)
Key Rookies: WR DeVante Parker, DT Jordan Phillips
Head Coach: Todd Bowles (Arizona Cardinals)
Key Position: Running Back
Curtis Martin, Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson. Those days are long gone for the Jets. Even though New York was third in the league in rushing, none of their backs had over 900 yards rushing. With a shaky quarterback situation, it would be wise to focus on the ground game. The offense will be a spread formation and the likes of Chris Ivory won’t be utilized much.
Key Acquisitions: G James Carpenter (Seattle Seahawks), CB Antonio Cromartie (Arizona Cardinals), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Houston Texans), DB Marcus Gilchrist (San Diego Chargers), WR Brandon Marshall (Chicago Bears), CB Darrelle Revis (New England Patriots), CB Buster Skrine (Cleveland Browns), RB Zac Stacy (St. Louis Rams)
Key Rookies: DL Leonard Williams, WR Devin Smith, LB Lorenzo Mauldin
Head Coach: Rex Ryan (New York Jets)
Key Position: Quarterback
E.J. Manuel is still in the mix with a new coaching staff. However, adding Matt Cassell and Tyrod Taylor doesn’t exactly mean the job is Manuel’s. Odds are Buffalo will give the reigns to Cassell who has proven to be a decent quarterback in the league going back to his days in New England. Whether he gets the Bills into the playoffs is another story with pressure building to win now.
Key Acquisitions: TE Charles Clay (Miami Dolphins), FB Jerome Felton (Minnesota Vikings), WR Percy Harvin (New York Jets), G Richie Incognito (Miami Dolphins – 2013), RB LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles), QB Tyrod Taylor (Baltimore Ravens)
Key Rookies: CB Ronald Darby, G John Miller