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10 Burning Questions: AFC East



By SAM SPIEGELMAN
XN Sports

The New England Patriots have owned the AFC East for the last decade, but the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills all made splashes over the offseason to try and make their push toward taking the division.

Last season we saw Tom Brady regress a bit, forcing many to wonder how much more the future Hall of Famer has left in the tank. The Jets added Eric Decker, the top wide receiver in free agency. The Bills traded up in the draft to nab Sammy Watkins, arguably the best wide receiver available in this class. And Miami - they hired Bill Lazor away from the Philadelphia Eagles to try and give Ryan Tannehill an even greater chance to succeed in his third season.

Here are the top 10 burning questions for the AFC East entering 2014:

1. Will Brady be Brady?

Brady's lack of offensive weapons last season led to a dud of a season, one in which he recorded his lowest touchdown total since 2006. The Pats are counting on Danny Amendola to remain healthy, Rob Gronkowski to be back in the mix, plus Kenbrell Thompkins or Aaron Dobson to step up.

2. Does Darrelle Revis return to the island?

It could be the robbery of the offseason, but Revis landing in New England made Pats fans quickly forget about losing Aqib Talib. Revis did not return to form right away last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but reportedly feels 100 percent healthy.

Patriots' Strengths And Concerns

3. Will Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel take a step forward?

Both Smith and Manuel received new weapons this offseason, and both second-year signal-callers are going to be expected to make major strides in 2014. Smith was wildly inconsistent as a rookie, but has been getting first-team reps over Michael Vick. Manuel is coming off injury, but has a boatload of offensive talent to work with.

4. Is this the Patriots' division to lose?

New England has taken the division title 10 of the last 11 years, but if the rest of the pack improves faster than anticipated, could they legitimately be a threat to the Patriots? The Jets will be stout on defense; offense is question. Miami appears on the cusp. Buffalo is young. But can someone surprise?

5. Does CJ2K bounce back?

The Jets lured the former 2,000-yard running back out of Tennessee to create a thunder-lightning tandem much like the team used to have with LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. What does Chris Johnson have left in the tank?

6. The Lazor Effect

Bill Lazor left Philly to be the Dolphins offensive coordinator, and he'll be charged with helping Tannehill progress in Year 3. His major task: getting Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace more involved.

7. Brandon Spikes vs. New England

The linebacker was exiled from Foxborough in dramatic fashion and finds himself with a familiar foe. Spikes has called out Bill Belichick and wants revenge, but this almost never actually works out.

8. Miller time?

Lamar Miller was expected to make a big leap from a rookie to his sophomore campaigns, but all indications are that this offseason has been his best to date. Will Miami finally give Tannehill a running game to lean on?

9. What to expect out of Gronk

Injuries have plagued Gronk each of the past two seasons, and not coincidentally it has hurt the Pats offense. Gronk is reportedly getting back to full strength. He needs to prove he can stay on the field.

10. Better D: New York or New England?

Not only did the Pats add Revis to their secondary, but Brandon Browner. Plus Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo are healthy, and last year we saw Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins continue to get better. The Jets are still stout up front, and added Calvin Pryor in the first round to join last year's first-rounder Dee Milliner. Both of these units have the potential to be top-five caliber in the league.


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Gus Richards July 02 2014 at 1:53 PM

As much as I dislike the Pats, I must say that, if they don't have the injuries they had last year, the division is really theirs to lose. The other 3 teams aren't even close to the talent on the Pats team. Even at 37, Brady is still the best in that conference.

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1 reply
redfldnparadise Gus Richards July 02 2014 at 11:54 PM

Me too. Phin fan here and the organization and committment from top to bottom is hard to argue with.

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jdsept July 02 2014 at 12:33 PM

Pats have owned this division and I see no reason for the other teams with their QBs to replace them. Brady's receiving corps looks strorng this year but injuries can always change that again. The Pats best edge, Brady & the coach.

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bostonbean68 July 02 2014 at 11:38 PM

The Pats will be just fine!!!! All you haters,..just close your mouths,..sick of your moronic comments. TB12 is elite.

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Fuzzybaxter July 02 2014 at 4:41 PM

and then they will have to get past us. Superbowl winning Seattle. Dont think last season was a fluke.

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I LOVE YOU JENNY July 02 2014 at 8:11 PM

Go Dolphins!!!!!!!!

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liondog96 July 03 2014 at 3:52 AM

They let me down when the lost the Super Bowl in a perfect undefeated season. No forgiveness!

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toneitup July 02 2014 at 6:02 PM

Just like the 49er's the cowboys and the steelers all good things must come to an end..

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jloschh July 02 2014 at 4:56 PM

they continue to get in the play-offs. after that anything can happen. like the perfect reg. season and lost the super bowl.

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salmo60 July 02 2014 at 12:55 PM

When the NFL season starts, Brady will be 37 years old. That's ancient for a QB. If Revis can still play as good as he talks, he might actually help the defense but that remains to be seen.

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2 replies
kristnoplis salmo60 July 02 2014 at 4:06 PM

What's that make Peyton Manning at 38?

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william01609 salmo60 July 02 2014 at 4:35 PM

I bet you think michael vick is the best QB in the NFL

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drweaks1 July 02 2014 at 12:47 PM

the pats will stay done!!! they haven't won since spy gate-you notice that right? karma can be a wonderful thing or a curse-its the latter for the Pats!!

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2 replies
kristnoplis drweaks1 July 02 2014 at 4:05 PM

Really? The past 7 years they've been to the championship game 4 times.

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william01609 drweaks1 July 02 2014 at 4:34 PM

havent won what dummy. a SB?...how many of their opponents have been to the SB in the last 10 years or better how many have won the eastern division?

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