Examining AFC East over/under totals

All this week, the AFC East blog provided over/under totals for each team in the division, and the results are in.

Let’s examine how our community projects each team to finish in the AFC East this year:

New York Jets


Community vote: Under

Analysis: I’m a little surprised how overwhelming this vote turned out in favor of the under. Yes, the Jets are rebuilding and got rid of most of their veteran talent. But 5-11 or worse is an awful season where a lot has to go wrong. I think a major point of pessimism comes from the quarterback position. A majority of Jets fans are done with Mark Sanchez, who led the NFL in turnovers the past two seasons. If he wins the starting job, it’s hard to picture the Jets surprising the NFL by having a winning record and getting to the playoffs. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has potential but would most likely have an up and down first year in New York if he’s the starter. Either way, this is a tough spot for head coach Rex Ryan to be in during a must-win year.

Miami Dolphins


Community vote: Over

Analysis: There is a lot of optimism for the Dolphins, who are my sleeper pick for 2013. An overwhelming 78 percent as of Friday afternoon predict Miami will finish with a 9-7 record or better. It looks like I am not alone in foreseeing a good year for the Dolphins. Miami added talent at a lot of positions via the draft and free agency. Tight end Dustin Keller and receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson adds to Miami’s passing offense, while first-round pick Dion Jordan, cornerback Brent Grimes and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler should improve Miami’s already solid defense. If quarterback Ryan Tannehill improves in Year 2, which I think he will, the Dolphins could contend for a playoff spot in the AFC.

New England Patriots

Over/under: 11½

Community vote: Under

Analysis: The Patriots have been the gold standard in the AFC East for the past dozen years. But this is the year many in our community think New England will take at least a slight step back. In our poll, about 60 percent as of Friday afternoon picked the Patriots to win fewer than 11½ games. That does not mean New England can’t win 10 or 11, but that a little lower than the usually dominant season we have become accustom to. The Patriots led the NFL in total offense last season but probably can’t repeat that accomplishment this year. New England is starting over with an unproven cast of receivers and has injury questions at tight end. The Patriots’ defense has improved, and that will probably keep New England on top of the AFC East for another year.

Buffalo Bills


Community vote: Under

Analysis: This was the closest vote we had this week. By an extremely narrow margin, 51 percent of AFC East readers pick the Bills to win fewer than 7½ games. Buffalo has talent at a lot of positions. The Bills’ biggest issues are finding a franchise quarterback and overcoming a losing mentality. Buffalo has the NFL's longest playoff drought of 13 years and counting. It will be up to new head coach Doug Marrone to change those losing ways. Getting good quarterback play would go a long way. The Bills have a three-way competition going between rookie EJ Manuel and veterans Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson.