Monday, September 6, 2010

Ramblings and Gambling Series: Regular Season Over Under – AFC East

Appropriately, the next division we're analyzing in our series is the AFC East. How much does the signing of Revis help the Jets and change the outlook for division supremacy? Let’s take a look!

Ramblings and Gambling:

By Erik Laurinovics, for The Football ERA

AFC East

AFC East Non-Division Opponents: AFC North (PIT, BAL, CLE, CIN), NFC North (GB, MIN, CHI, DET)

Buffalo Bills Over/Under: 5.5
Pick: Under

Buffalo has a very tough schedule, though that is made worse by the fact that they are one of the worst team in the league. They are outmatched not only by their own division, but my most teams on their schedule. They continue to lack a viable quarterback, and as such, they have very little offense (30th in 2009).Combine this with a draft that features them spending a first round pick on a running back when they already had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, along with very little movement in free agency, and things look grim for the Bills in 2010.
I have a hard time finding wins on the schedule, and aside from a stretch of @KC, CHI, DET in weeks 8-10, it does not look like Buffalo will be able to put together more than 5 wins, even if you give them a couple of lucky ones. There is a good chance they go 0-6 in the division, and the three aforementioned games in weeks 8-10 are the Bills’ best chance at getting a win. I definitely do not see this one happening, and will be taking the under.

Miami Dolphins Over/Under: 8.5
Pick: Under

The Dolphins (and rest of the AFC East, for that matter) also have an absolutely brutal schedule, which is a bad break for a young team beginning to realize its potential. The Jets and the Patriots are the favorites for the division, and the Dolphins won’t be in a position to challenge them with this schedule. Here’s a list of some of the opponents they face this year: NE x2, NYJ x2, GB, MIN, BAL, PIT, CIN. That’s nine, count ‘em, NINE, quality opponents. Their remaining 7 are BUF x2, CLE, OAK, TEN, DET, CHI. No further analysis needed on this one; if you can find 9 wins, let me know. The only way they make the over is if they greatly exceed expectations and/or their opponents suffer devastating injuries, and I’m not about to bet on that. This team doesn’t have the talent developed on its roster (yet) to overcome the schedule this year.

New England Patriots Over/Under: 9.5
Pick: Over

At the crux of this pick is who you believe will win the AFC East. If you’re on the Jets’ bandwagon, then this is an under. If you side with New England, this pick is an over. I’m in the New England camp for this pick; I think the Patriots will take the division and clear the 9.5 mark. As previously mentioned, the schedule is tough, but the Patriots had a solid draft (as usual) and have a constant influx of young players able to fill holes and make solid contributions. This year, rookies Devin McCourty (DB) and Aaron Hernandez will both get some run, and Sebastian Vollmer, a second-year tackle, is now a starter on the line. Factor in Wes Welker’s superhuman healing abilities Tom Brady now being two years removed from knee surgery, and the Patriots will return with a dynamic offense and balanced defense.
I think this will overcome the much-hyped Jets. Four wins within the division is a reasonable expectation here, and it doesn’t take much searching to find six probable wins outside of the division (CIN, BAL, @SD, @CLE, @DET, @CHI). If that isn’t enough for you, then try this: the Patriots have had 10 or more wins the last SEVEN consecutive seasons. This team is virtually an automatic 10 win season every year. Count on them again in 2010.

New York Jets Over/Under: 9.5
Pick: Over

This just in! Revis is back with the Jets! Huge news today for the Jets and their fans, as this drastically changes the outlook for the team. There is no replacing Darrelle Revis, and his return ensures that they will have one of the top defensive units in the league this year. The Jets should also return their top-ranked rush offense with Shonne Green behind a solid line. While I’m not yet sold on Sanchez, that defense and their offensive line will keep them in, and win them, games.
Moving on to the schedule… New England is the main competition for New York, but Miami usually gives them at least one tough game. Since I think the Patriots will take the division, the best I can see the Jets finishing is with a 3-3 or 4-2 division record. In addition to the NFC and AFC North, the Jets have Denver and Houston as their “wild card” opponents. The Jets should win both of these games, and should likely only need to take 4 or 5 games between the AFC and NFC North. It will be very, very close for the Jets, and I think they’ll finish right at 9 or 10, making this a true coin flip. I tend to favor teams with good defense and good offensive lines, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and take the over.

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