Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Afc East

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Afc East

Article excerpt



Coach: Bill Belichick (105-40 with Patriots).

Last season: 16-0; lost Super Bowl to N.Y. Giants.

Upside: They have Tom Brady throwing to Randy Moss (right), the league's most explosive combination.

Downside: The Chargers and Giants both showed in the playoffs that teams that pressure Brady can slow him down.

Why they'll make the playoffs: They're the best team in the division and have the easiest schedule in the league.

Why they won't: If Brady is injured, the Patriots will struggle. Matt Cassel isn't going to take them anywhere. And Brady might be suffering from some type of foot injury. Since the Patriots never give out much injury information, it's uncertain if the problem is serious. His ankle injury in the Super Bowl last season probably contributed to the Patriots' defeat.

Bottom line: New England has won 38 regular-season games the past three years, but hasn't won the Super Bowl. The last time a team lost the Super Bowl and won it the following year was Miami in 1972. Maybe the window is closing on the Patriots.



Coach: Dick Jauron (14-18 with Bills).

Last season: 7-9.

Upside: The Bills have a 1,000-yard rusher in Marshawn Lynch and a big-play wide receiver in Lee Evans, who averaged 15.4 yards per reception, though he caught only 55 passes.

Downside: Last season, the Bills ranked 30th in offense and 31st in defense, yet somehow won seven games.

Why they'll make the playoffs: The Bills overhauled their defense in the offseason and are hoping that the addition of former Jaguar Marcus Stroud, Kawika Mitchell and defensive tackle Spencer Johnson will jump-start a defense that was one of the league's worst in 2007.

Why they won't: They're in the same division with New England, and quarterback Trent Edwards is unproven. He also suffered a deep bruise in his quad during training camp.

Bottom line: The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999 and appear to be on a treadmill. …

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