Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Power Rankings: AFC East struggling
By James Walker
ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings are back!
The NFL draft is in the books and free-agency is all but done. Now it's time to reassess the rosters.
Here is how the AFC East fared:
New England Patriots
Power Ranking: No. 2
Walker's vote: No. 2
Analysis: It's no surprise the reigning AFC champs are firmly at No. 2. They are the favorites once again to win the conference and the division. New England did a good job of drafting all defensive players until the seventh round. The offense is elite, and the defense needs to catch up. An underrated aspect to the Patriots' season is they have the easiest schedule in the NFL. Barring significant injury, I don't see any reason why they won't run away with another division title.
New York Jets
Power Ranking: No. 20
Walker's vote: No. 18
Analysis: New York's offseason acquisitions of quarterback Tim Tebow and top draft picks Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill didn't do much for its Power Ranking. The Jets come in at No. 20, which I think is a little low. Expectations are not high for this club, which could play in New York's favor. The talent to have a winning season remains, it's just a matter of whether this team can stay together. Chemistry issues and infighting ruined the Jets last season.
Power Ranking: No. 23
Walker’s vote: No. 16
Analysis: The Bills continue to be near the bottom of the Power Rankings. But I like it, because it makes my pick of Buffalo a true sleeper in 2012. The national perception of Buffalo isn't great. Much of that is earned since the Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999. However, I think the Bills have some great pieces for a chance to end the drought. I voted Buffalo much higher at No. 16. That gives the Bills credit, but not too much before they have a chance to prove anything on the field.
Power Ranking: No. 27
Walker’s vote: No. 27
Analysis: I agree with Miami's placement. The Dolphins are solid on defense but could struggle on offense. Is Matt Moore the starting quarterback? Is it David Garrard? Who are the wide receivers? Miami patched some holes in the draft but certainly not enough. The Dolphins have a long way to go before they are a contender. Expect 2012 to be a rebuilding year.