Quietly the Patriots had a great offseason. With health restored to Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, and Danny Amendola, each expects to begin the season pain free. They also managed to upgrade their secondary, despite losing Aqib Talib to Denver, by adding Darrell Revis.
New England comes to Kansas City this year on Monday Night Football where Chiefs Fans will be attempting to once again break the world record for world’s loudest stadium. Beating the Patriots is always a tough task, especially with the holes the Chiefs appear to have on their offensive line and in the secondary. However, with the frenzied environment and the mysticism of Arrowhead Stadium on a Monday Night, a Chiefs win is not out of the question.
No matter how you slice it though, playing in the NFL’s weakest division has its advantages for New England, as does having a great home field advantage of their own. At the end of the day, Belicheck, Brady, and the Patriots are primed to once again win their division, once again earn a first round bye in the playoffs, and in this season, I think they end up with the AFC’s best record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins: 2013 Record: 8-8 (2nd place AFC East)Headlined by the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin saga the Miami Dolphins 2013 was a disaster. What happened was pretty lackluster, the epitome of mediocrity in Miami. There were a couple of points of significance though for the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill took another step forward in his development and tight end Charles Clay made some noise proving he could be a reliable target in the passing game.
To give Tannehill another weapon this season, the Dolphins brought in former Denver Broncos Running Back, Knowshon Moreno. In addition, Miami landed the premier left tackle on the market in former Chief, Branden Albert.
In week three, the Chiefs travel to Miami a place that has been a traditional house of horrors for Kansas City. This time though The Dolphins and Chiefs match up fairly evenly across the board, except the Chiefs have the clear advantage at running back and at linebacker. This is one of the games the Chiefs should and must win to get where they want to go in 2014. Overall though, I don’t see where Miami got a lot better in the offseason, but I see them as a team that if some things fall correctly, could contend for a wild card spot by the end of the year. ??
Buffalo Bills: 2013 Record: 6-10 (4th place AFC East)
It’s not hard to understand why the Buffalo Bills haven’t been to the post season since the 1999 season. This year they are the trendy pick to break through and finally make a postseason run. If that happens, E.J. Manuel, must lead them. Based on the way he played in the exhibition season, not many are confident that will happen
The Bills are loaded at the skill positions on offense though, ageless RB Fred Jackson leads a stable of running backs that is solid from top to bottom. Aiding the cause first round pick, Sammy Watkins, provides a great threat in the passing game, as does Robert Woods and Tight End, Scott Chandler.
Defensively the Bills have a stout defensive line and a solid group overall. The Chiefs annual trek to Buffalo represent a game Kansas City should win. The Bills are a team that is very much like the Chiefs. If the quarterback play is excellent, both of franchises could make the post season. If not, each could wind up with just five or six wins.
New York Jets: 2013 Record: 8-8 (3rd place AFC East) ??
The Jets are a team that’s really hard to predict. On paper last season, they were a total and complete disaster. They relied too much on rookie, Geno Smith. Yet somehow they managed to win eight games and compete with better teams all season. The bottom line is the coaches did a good job under Rex Ryan, to get the most out of their players.
In fact, the Jets have played above their heads, and above their talent level every year since Ryan took over as head coach. This season the Jets look like a team with more holes than a cheese grater and like one of the most talent deficient rosters in the NFL. Yet, it won’t surprise me in the least to see Chris Johnson have a breakout resurrection season and Smith takes the next step.
In this matchup, one advantage the Chiefs will have though, is that the Jets have to come to Arrowhead this year. That makes winning this game from the Jets perspective won’t be easy. Overall though, the playoffs are going to be a long shot for the Jets, and if they can avoid finishing in last place in their division, that will be quite an accomplishment for Ryan and his bunch.
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Which AFC East teams will the Chiefs defeat in 2014?
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