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I had the pleasure of speaking to Fred Smerlas on Friday afternoon. Let me correct that. I had the pleasure of listening to him.
Smerlas, a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, is a riveting gabber. We covered a bunch of topics, among them his AFC East predicitions now that Tom Brady has thrown his last pass of 2008.
Perhaps not surprisingly, he sees the division coming down to the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, a pair of teams he played for. He also takes exception to much of the media anointing the New York Jets the new team to beat.
"The Jets are frauds," Smerlas said from his office in Marlboro, Mass. "They barely beat Miami, a team that absolutely sucks. I've watched tape of [the Dolphins], and they're in trouble. The Jets had a hard time with them.
"Brett Favre is going off the cuff in the huddle. Favre, that pass he threw [a 22-yard desperation lob to Chansi Stuckey] was a punt. It turned into a touchdown, and they win by six points."
Compared to Favre, Smerlas said Bills QB Trent Edwards "is a much more structured player. [Marshawn] Lynch is a good running back. Their O-line is good. Their defense is better. Buffalo is balanced on offense, defense, special teams."
But Smerlas isn't about to give up on the Patriots either.
"So who's going to be there? The Patriots and the Bills will be there in the end."