AFC East Week 1 Preview: Pro Wrestling Warfare
If New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan strutted the sidelines this Sunday in green spandex and a white boa, I wouldn't be surprised. Ryan and the Jets have decided that splashy moves and mystery offenses are the way to go about a productive and fruitful NFL campaign. BUUUUUZZZZZZZ, WRONG!!!!
They will be the most watched team at the beginning of the year because of the hype and intrigue. Then there will be a lull because of all the losing. Then it will pick up again at the end of the year. That's because everyone will want to see if anyone gets fired or replaced before the end of the season.
So lets take a look at whats in store for the AFC East this week. Here are 5 Things you should be aware of (and click here for my AFC East over/under projections).
1. Let the losing begin (Jets vs. Bills)
This is what the New York Jets have been waiting for, center stage. Their offseason had everyone from ESPN to Entertainment Tonight covering them. They were on the lips of football fans and non-football fans for the past four months. It seems they thought of everything. They just forgot to build a winning team.
The Jets are praying that their last minute replacement, right tackle Austin Howard, will fix their busted offensive line that ranked a putrid 28th on our Offensive Hog Index. While on the other side of the ball, the Buffalo Bills added defensive end Mario Williams to their defensive line. They were a pedestrian 22nd on our Defensive Hog Index. The Bills will win this battle.
Bills Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had two seasons last year. The one where his ribs were intact. And the one where they were broken. When not broken, he was the AFC offensive player of the month for September. He will need that kind of stature against the Jets defense, which was ranked fourth in our Defensive Real Quaterback Rating and third in our Defensive Passer Rating. Unfortunately, neither Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow has come close to top AFC anything . . . EVER.
If they win, you better take a picture for the memories. But they won't.
2. Forget the popcorn, better get your pillow ready (Dolphins vs. Texans)
If last season's numbers are any indication of whats going to happen this Sunday (and they are), this one will be done by the first blown call by the replacement refs. The Houston Texans were top 10 in almost every statistical category last year. The one category that may take a hit is its number seven spot on our Defensive Hog index. Mario Williams shuffled off to Buffalo and he took his 54 career sacks with him.
The good news for Houston is that the quarterback position is the third biggest problem in Miami. Right behind hurricanes and cocaine. They will be starting rookie Ryan Tannehill. Williams might be able to sack him from Buffalo. Throw in Arian Foster and their number four ranking on our Offensive Hog Index, and say goodnight Irene.
3. I hope Locker brings an apple for Brady (Patriots vs. Titans)
The Titans decided to send second year man Jake Locker into battle against Tom Brady. Five games going up against five Super Bowl appearances. I sense a lesson about to be learned. The Tennessee titans felt they needed a youth injection after ranking only 22nd on our Scoreability Index.
That was do in large part as well to the hold out, and subsequent return of pro bowl running back Chris Johnson. Johnson had a full camp this year however. That is something the Patriots and their 25th Defensive Hog Index ranking should be concerned about.
4. The count down begins
Will Tebow take Sanchez's job? When will he take Sanchez's job? These are the questions that have been swirling around Jets nation since the announcement of the "second coming" to Jets camp. The preseason showed very little, as the Jets claim they intended. But there was something to be seen.
Tebow generated more total yards than Sanchez did. He also seemed to generate a spark for the players around him. These are the types of things that grab the attention of the Jets higher ups, pretty-flashy things. This is why at some point they will make the grand announcement of "a change at quarterback". And that is when the real show will begin.
5. Will Andre Johnson make all 16 this year?
There is nothing more frustrating than having a high powered weapon that doesn't work all the time. Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has been one of the top receivers in the NFL for his whole career, when he's on the field.
Johnson has played a full 16 game season only five of his nine years in the league. He is injury prone, and that is one of the reasons the Texans haven't reached the promised land. This year he has company in the doctors office with running back Arian Foster and Matt Shaub being nicked up as well.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they all will start this week. And quite frankly, it's the Dolphins. They could have sent their moms to take their place, and the outcome would be the same. Maybe if the Dolphins delayed the game by 15 or 20 minutes, it would give Johnson a chance to get hurt. Then they would have a shot.
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