Surprise, surprise the squad from Foxborough comes in at the top spot yet again. Things aren't exactly peachy in New England. Tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery this week and his return for the start of the regular season is still in doubt. Fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez has problems of his own as he faces obstruction of justice charges along with a homicide investigation swirling around him.
Losing Wes Welker early in free agency was a major blow for Tom Brady's aerial attack, but the team holds high hopes for Danny Amendola to fill the huge void left by No. 83. The Patriots added wideouts, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones to add depth and experience at wide receiver. Safety Adrian Wilson signed during free agency to shore up New England's leaky secondary, while cornerback Aqib Talib re-signed with the team. Tim Tebow finally found a home, although his role on offense remains a mystery. While the Patriots are the odds-on-favorite to win the AFC East, 2013 could be a down-year by Belichick's lofty standards.
Miami's front office was busy this offseason stockpiling talent around second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill by adding wide receivers Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson along with tight end Dustin Keller. Brian Hartline signed a new five year deal to remain in South Beach. The Dolphins lost running back Reggie Bush to Detroit during free agency but are banking on Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller to carry the workload this year.
Defensive tackle Randy Starks was given the franchise tag and top flight free agent cornerback Brent Grimes inked a one-year contract with Miami. The Dolphins' former No. 1 overall draft pick Jake Long joined the St. Louis Rams after spending four seasons with the team. With a revamped offense and stout defense, Miami could be hot on New England's heels throughout the 2013 regular season.
Newly hired general manager John Idzik wasted little time in gutting New York's roster and making way for a new wave of talent through the draft and free agency. Rookie signal-caller Geno Smith will compete with embattled veteran Mark Sanchez for the starting job during training camp in July. Running backs Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory are the new poster boys for Rex Ryan's ground and pound after Shonn Greene signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans in free agency. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes is expected to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, while Stephen Hill's surgically repaired knee flared up after minicamp practices, create a cause for concern.
The Jets have question marks across the board, and are relying heavily on a talented rookie draft class to make an impact this season. After trading All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York nabbed former Alabama Crimson tide standout Dee Milliner with the No. 9 overall pick. Offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg is charged with turning around one the NFL's most putrid offenses and brings his West Coast style to the Big Apple. With uncertainty across the depth chart, the Jets could be in for a long season ahead.
Head coach Doug Marrone is preparing to change the culture in Upstate New York and ushered in sweeping changes starting in the NFL draft. The Bill took rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick. Buffalo also signed Kevin Kolb to compete for the starting gig under center after releasing long-time starter Ryan Fitzpatrick back in March. The Bills hired former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and named Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator.
Buffalo's dynamic backfield duo of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson create one of the AFC's most formidable ground attacks. Pass rushers Mario Williams and Kyle Williams will need to elevate their play, if Pettine's unit hopes to climb out of the division's cellar. The Bills promoted Doug Whaley to general manager with their sights set on competing for a playoff spot sooner rather than later.