NFL 2012 Preview: The Big Weakness on Every AFC East Team

 
on July 19 2012 8:21 AM
NFL 2012 Preview: The Big Weakness on Every AFC East Team

The AFC East wasn't particularly competitive in 2011. The New England Patriots demolished the competition, as the division's sole representative in the playoffs.

New defensive schemes for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, as well as a regime change for the Miami Dolphins, might make the Patriots job tougher in 2012.

Here is the one major weakness that could undermine each AFC East team during the 2012 NFL season:

Buffalo Bills: Offensive Line

The Buffalo Bills have revamped their suspect defense and have plenty of playmakers on offense, including skilled flanker Steve Johnson and talented runner Fred Jackson.

However, their quest for a first playoff berth since 1999, could be derailed by the offensive line. The Bills lost left tackle Demetress Bell in free agency and rookies Cordy Glenn and Zebrie Sanders must make an immediate impact.

Miami Dolphins: Wide Receiver

New Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin will need all of his acumen to energise a passing game that has issues at quarterback and a lack of credible options at wide receiver.

Matt Moore and David Garrard have both put up respectable passing numbers in the NFL, but whomever is starting under center, will need a makeshift receiving corps to play above expectations.

The Dolphins added veteran, motor-mouth pass catcher Chad Ochocinco to try and stretch the field, However, it remains to be seen how much big play potential the 34-year-old can still offer.

Legedu Naane, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are hardly likely to strike fear into opposing secondaries either.

New York Jets: Passing Game

The New York Jets are a talented, but underachieving group that needs a credible pasing game to complement a power rushing attack and a big play defense.

Most of the blame is heaped on quarterback Mark Sanchez, but that's slightly unfair on a signal caller who began his career with two straight AFC Championship game appearances.

Where Sanchez must improve is in his ability to go deep and be decisive in the pocket. Rookie Stephen Hill has the speed to solve the vertical issue.

It will take more balanced play calling from new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and a renewed commitment from temperamental veteran Santonio Holmes, to fix the rest.

New England Patriots: Secondary

Despite Bill Belichick's excellent work adding pieces to the front seven, the success of the New England Patriots defense, will be determined by their secondary.

Even with the opportunistic tendencies of Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty, the group lacks elite talent. Belichick brough in journeymen Will Allen and Steve Gregory, but may regret not pursuing more marquee options.

The pressure generated up front by Vince Wilfork, free agent Jonathan Fanene and rookie Chandler Jones, may mask some of the deficiencies in the defensive backfield.

However, against some of the league's more accomplished offenses, the Patriots could again find themselves exposed in the secondary.

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