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AFC EAST PREVIEW

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Aug/11/2009

 

The AFC East has become a personal playground for the New England Patriots over the course of the last decade, as they have dominated the division. According to oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com, it is expected to remain that way in 2009, as the Patriots boast a regular season wins prop of at least four more wins than the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins.

The Patriots missed the playoffs despite winning 11 games last year, but with a healthy Tom Brady back in the fold, look for Bill Belichick's crew to return to the postseason. New England won't repeat its perfect regular season from 2007, but it still is the most talented team among this foursome. Miami will try to make it two division titles in a row, but with a tougher schedule on the horizon, the Dolphins might fall back to .500. The Jets greatly improved their defense in the offseason, but is rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez ready for primetime? The Bills made some headlines by taking a chance on unpredictable wideout Terrell Owens, but Buffalo's offense still leaves a lot to be desired.

2009 PREDICTED FINISH

1) New England

2) N.Y. Jets

3) Miami

4) Buffalo

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

2008 Record: 11-5 SU (-1.4 ML Units), 9-7 ATS

2008 Totals (Over-Under): 9-7

Odds to win Super Bowl XLIV: +400, AFC Title: +180

Sportsbook Regular Season Wins Prop: Over 11.5 (-155) / Under 11.5 (+125)

StatFox Steve's Take: There are two things that concern me about the lofty expectations set on the Patriots again in 2009. First, QB Tom Brady may be back, but he is off of a major knee injury. Second, it takes a lot of good fortune to win 12 games in the NFL.

TOP STATFOX HANDICAPPING ANGLES

Over the L3 seasons, NEW ENGLAND is 11-1 SU & ATS in October games

NEW ENGLAND is 21-4 SU & 18-7 ATS in road games over the last 3 seasons

NEW ENGLAND is just 9-13 SU but 16-6 ATS on the road in its last 22 games revenging a home loss

NEW ENGLAND is 22-11 SU & 22-9 ATS at home in its last 33 games vs. good defenses (<17 PPG)

2009 OUTLOOK

The window of Super Bowl opportunity is still wide open on offense, because Brady and his top two receivers, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, are still in their prime. Even after Brady went down, New England still managed to pick up the pieces and contend for the AFC East title right into Week 17. No team can claim the return of a player of Brady's caliber and that puts the Patriots right back in the thick of the Super Bowl hunt.

NEW YORK JETS

2008 Record: 9-7 SU (-1.15 ML Units), 7-9 ATS

2008 Totals (Over-Under): 8-8

Odds to win Super Bowl XLIV: +5000, AFC Title: +2500

Sportsbook Regular Season Wins Prop: Over 7 (-140) / Under 7 (+110)

StatFox Steve's Take: With all four other teams in the AFC East boasting win props of less than eight, oddsmakers are telling us that the Patriots will run away with it once again. Well, I don't think the Jets are going to drop off that much just because Brett Favre retired. For the second straight year, they've made savvy personnel decisions elsewhere. I'll take OVER the 7-wins.

TOP STATFOX HANDICAPPING ANGLES

NY JETS are on a 8-2 SU & 9-0 ATS run at home after playing on Monday night

NY JETS are 4-2 SU & 6-0 ATS on the road in December games over the L3 seasons

NY JETS are 10-18 SU & 6-20 ATS at home in its L28 September games

NY JETS are on a 4-16 SU & 5-15 ATS slide at home when coming off a loss by 14+ pts.

2009 OUTLOOK

An 8-3 start brought about talks of a Super Bowl run, but QB Brett Favre faltered down the stretch as the team finished 1-4. Sweeping changes took place from the coaching staff on down, as Rex Ryan moves up the East Coast from Baltimore where he led one of the more dominating defenses in the NFL over the last four years. While changes to the unit were expected, Ryan also has some new faces on offense after the retirement of Favre and the loss of wide receiver Laveraneus Coles (Bengals). There is nothing soft about Ryan, the defense he's installing or the players that have joined him with the Jets. His physical, take-no-prisoners approach will prevent a collapse like the one that occurred in 2008, but contending in the AFC East is going to take more than a puffed-out chest.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2008 Record: 11-6 SU (9.55 ML Units), 8-9 ATS

2008 Totals (Over-Under): 6-11

Odds to win Super Bowl XLIV: +6000, AFC Title: +3000

Sportsbook Regular Season Wins Prop: Over 7 (-130) / Under 7 (+100)

StatFox Steve's Take: Wow, the experts really don't like Miami, downgrading the Dolphins 4-wins off the pace they set in 2008. Is it warranted? Well, possibly, since they will be facing the league's toughest schedule in 2009.

TOP STATFOX HANDICAPPING ANGLES

MIAMI is 33-10 SU & 30-12 ATS in its last 43 games against the AFC West

Over the last 3 seasons, MIAMI is on a slide of 1-9 SU & 0-8 ATS in the first month of the season

MIAMI is on a 0-6 SU & ATS run vs. poor defenses (>=5.65 YPP)

Over the last 3 seasons, MIAMI is on a slide of 3-10 SU & 2-11 ATS at home when coming off a loss

2009 OUTLOOK

The combination of Vice President Bill Parcells and head coach Tony Sparano took a sad 1-15 side and transformed "The Fish" into an 11-5 team that captured a division and revitalized a quarterback in the process. Chad Pennington was the greatest rags to riches story in 2008 and Porter's 17.5 sacks were emblematic of a defense that made pivotal plays. Miami's quick resurgence was arguably the top feel-good story, but teams such as this often take a step back in year two even with the omnipresent Parcells looking over. Early dates against playoff teams like Atlanta, Indianapolis and San Diego could determine if last year was a fluke or indeed the Dolphins are a major player in the AFC.

BUFFALO BILLS

2008 Record: 7-9 SU (-4.65 ML Units), 7-9 ATS

2008 Totals (Over-Under): 8-8

Odds to win Super Bowl XLIV: +5000, NFC Title: +2500

Sportsbook Regular Season Wins Prop: Over 7.5 (-150) / Under 7.5 (+120)

StatFox Steve's Take: The prop that has the most value in my opinion is the Under 7.5 wins at +120.

TOP STATFOX HANDICAPPING ANGLES

BUFFALO is 6-1 SU & 7-0 ATS at home after going over the total in its previous game over the last 3 seasons

BUFFALO is 23-11 SU & 22-10 ATS at home in its last 34 November games

BUFFALO is 11-4 SU & 12-3 ATS vs. losing teams over the last 3 seasons

BUFFALO is 12-5 SU & 13-4 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 over the last 3 seasons

2009 OUTLOOK

Can Terrell Owens help the Bills end their 10 year drought of not making the playoffs? He should help speedy WR Lee Evans see fewer double teams which isn't a bad thing. RB Marshawn Lynch has to serve a three game suspension but back-up Fred Jackson was often serviceable in a limited role last year. A poor start could lead to an Owens' meltdown, which could sink the season before the leaves turn colors.

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