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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Pro Bowl analysis: AFC East

Posted by's Tim Graham

New York Jets (7 selections)
Even if the New York Jets don't make the playoffs, they can break out the ukuleles.

The Jets are sending a league-high seven players to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. Seven selections are two more than the franchise record. Four of them will start.

Running back Thomas Jones and kick returner Leon Washington will start in their first Pro Bowl appearances. Guard Alan Faneca is returning for his eighth straight season. Nose tackle Kris Jenkins will be back a fourth time.

None of the selections could be argued, especially not Jones.

With two games left, he already holds franchise records for points by a non-kicker (90), rushing touchdowns (13) and consecutive games with a touchdown (eight and counting).

Chosen as Pro Bowl reserves were quarterback Brett Favre, center Nick Mangold and cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Mangold and Revis earned much-deserved Pro Bowl honors for the first time, but Favre clearly is going to Hawaii a 10th time on reputation.

Favre is having an ordinary year in general and an awful season when it comes to interceptions. He leads the NFL with 17. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and perhaps Chad Pennington deserved it more.

As for snubs, there aren't any because so many Jets made it.

Miami Dolphins (2)
Three Dolphins finished first at their positions in the Pro Bowl fan vote, but only one of them garnered enough respect from the coach and player balloting to be honored.

Outside linebacker Joey Porter will start. He leads the AFC with 17.5 sacks and has forced four fumbles. He's going to Hawaii a fourth time. His previous three trips were with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Running back Ronnie Brown was a mild surprise to be selected as a reserve. He has 10 rushing touchdowns but only 827 rushing yards, seventh in the AFC. Brown was selected ahead of Steve Slaton (1,124 yards, eight touchdowns), Marshawn Lynch (1,002 yards, seven touchdowns) and LaDainian Tomlinson (924 yards, eight touchdowns).

Pennington is generating MVP talk but couldn't crack a lineup that has Peyton Manning as the starter and Favre and Jay Cutler as the backups.

The two players who led in fan balloting but didn't make the cut were rookies left tackle and No. 1 pick Jake Long and undrafted kicker Dan Carpenter.

New England Patriots (2)
One year after sending eight players to the Pro Bowl, the Patriots will have two: wide receiver Wes Welker and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Both will make their Aloha Stadium debuts.

Gostkowski largely overlooked in the fan balloting even though he has been leading the AFC in points for most of the season. He has made 30 of his 33 field goal attempts and all 34 of his extra points.

Welker was selected as a reserve. He is the NFL's second-leading receiver with 102 catches for 1,071 yards.

Left off the roster were receiver Randy Moss, who lost the popular vote by 18 to Brandon Marshall, tackle Matt Light, guard Logan Mankins, center Dan Koppen and defensive linemen Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour.

Buffalo Bills (1)
One of the more brow-raising selections was tackle Jason Peters, who was named a starter for the second year in a row despite a patchy season that began with a prolonged contract dispute.

Actually, it was somewhat surprising to see any Bills get selected.

Buffalo's best player, Lynch, is having an admirable campaign. But there are so many fine running backs to choose from.

AFC Pro Bowlers
QuarterbackPeyton Manning, IndianapolisBrett Favre, New York Jets
Jay Cutler, Denver
Running backThomas Jones, New York JetsChris Johnson, Tennessee
Ronnie Brown, Miami
FullbackLe'Ron McClain, Baltimore 
Wide receiverAndre Johnson, Houston
Brandon Marshall, Denver
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis
Wes Welker, New England
Tight endTony Gonzalez, Kansas CityAntonio Gates, San Diego
TackleJoe Thomas, Cleveland
Jason Peters, Buffalo
Michael Roos, Tennessee
GuardAlan Faneca, New York Jets
Kris Dielman, San Diego
Brian Waters, Kansas City
CenterKevin Mawae, TennesseeNick Mangold, New York Jets
Defensive endMario Williams, Houston
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
Defensive tackleAlbert Haynesworth, Tennessee
Kris Jenkins, New York Jets
Shaun Rogers, Cleveland
Outside linebackerJames Harrison, Pittsburgh
Joey Porter, Miami
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
Inside linebackerRay Lewis, BaltimoreJames Farrior, Pittsburgh
CornerbackNnamdi Asomugha, Oakland
Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee
Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
Free safetyEd Reed, Baltimore 
Strong safetyTroy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Chris Hope, Tennessee
Special teams
PunterShane Lechler, Oakland 
Place-kickerStephen Gostkowski, New England 
Kick returnerLeon Washington, New York Jets 
Special-teamerBrendon Ayanbadejo, Baltimore