Going into the 2010 NFL season many experts had visions of an AFC East team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year.
No Bills fans, they weren’t referring to you.
A season after falling short of an AFC Championship, the New York Jets have the league raving over the upcoming season and the possibilities.
The exploits of head coach Rex Ryan on HBO’s Hard Knocks, a program that follows him through training camp have been the talk of the league.
Along with the highly publicized contract dispute with All-Pro corner back Darrelle Revis that finally came to a dramatic end with his signing, the Jets have been a constant on sports talk stations across North America.
With the addition of prolific pass rusher Jason Taylor to last season’s No. 1-ranked defence, the Jets will have no problem keeping opponents off the board.
Unfortunately, getting on the board will be their biggest obstacle.
Last year’s rookie QB sensation, Mark Sanchez, will be under heavy criticism if the Jets fail to succeed as expectations are riding high following an exceptional first season.
The addition of future Hall-of-Famer LaDainian Tomlinson and former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes will definitely bolster a passing offence ranked 31st last season.
Of course, before the Jets are crowned the kings of the East they’ll have to knock off perennial contenders the New England Patriots.
After a disappointing showing in the playoffs, the 2009 AFC Division Champions hope quarterback and former league MVP Tom Brady’s newly signed four-year extension worth a reported $72 million US, with $48.5 million guaranteed will return the Pats to the promise land.
They’ll have to overcome the hurt feelings of Brady’s favourite target, Randy Moss, who in the last year of his contract senses he’s no longer wanted.
If Moss returns to the form he showed when he first arrived in Foxboro, the Patriots may show him their appreciation with a ring to go along with a new deal.
Dolphins want the next step
Another team hoping a troubled receiver can help them get into the post season are the Miami Dolphins.
The Fish acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos and hope the Pro Bowler will add to their already dynamic rushing attack. Featuring one of the best backfield duos in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, the Fins look to improve on a 7-9 record.
Former Michigan star quarterback Chad Henne will have a full year under his belt and the addition of Marshall will assist the youngster’s development.
Head coach Tony Sparano has injected life into this team that was a listless 1-15 in the season before he arrived. His energy along the sidelines has inspired his players and made the Dolphins a tough matchup each week.
Bills still rebuilding
A team looking to be regarded at the very least as a formidable opponent are the Buffalo Bills.
This historic franchise has been trying to overcome disappointing season after season for the better part of the decade and will turn to rookie running back C.J. Spiller to regain the prominence they once held.
Injuries at the quarterback position seem to set Buffalo back each year and the health of Trent Edwards may determine how competitive they are.
A season ending injury sustained by standout linebacker Kawika Mitchell will definitely hamper their ability to stop opponents on the run as they already ranked 30th in rushing defence last year.
With the arrival of head coach Chan Gailey, the Buffalo faithful are hoping for a bright future as the former offensive guru tries to restore Bills pride