Ultimate Depth Chart: AFC East

It's always a long summer in anticipation of the new NFL season, but "SportsCenter" has come up with a way to keep your attention aimed between the end zones.

SportsCenter's Ultimate Depth Chart series will debate the best offenses and defenses in each division and pick the best team in each division (Monday through Thursday), then identify the conference favorite (Friday).

Watch "SportsCenter" and check back each day to see the expert picks as well as the results from SportsNation.

AFC East
Best offense in the AFC East?
Merril Hoge: New England Patriots
The Patriots get my vote here. It isn't because of the presence of receiver Randy Moss but because second-year running back Laurence Maroney will thrive this season. On the outside, he looks like a big physical back, but what impresses me the most about Maroney is his vision and quickness. He has the ability to pound through the defensive line, then run away, dance around a hit, or pound through the second and third level of the defense.

Joe Theismann: Patriots
Without question, this category goes to New England. The Pats have the best quarterback in football, and now Tom Brady has one of the most dynamic receiving corps in football. Add that to a good, young running back and a solid, veteran offensive line and you have a great offense. There might not be an offense in the league that will be as exciting and efficient as this one.

Best defense in the AFC East?
Hoge: Miami Dolphins
It's hard to go against New England here, but I feel the Dolphins' defense is a little bit more formidable. The addition of Joey Porter adds more passion and versatility to an already fiery and versatile unit. I expect another great season from reigning defensive player of the year Jason Taylor and a rejuvenated Zach Thomas.

Theismann: Patriots

The Patriots get the nod here, too. They were very good before the addition of linebacker Adalius Thomas, but now they are devastatingly good. They have Pro Bowl-caliber players at every level of the defense and have the ability to switch seamlessly from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and back. Bill Belichick is at his best when he has the option to switch formations like that without any drop-off in performance.

Best team in the AFC East?
Hoge: Patriots
The best team hands down is the Patriots. The rest of this division is either too young or is going through too much turmoil to challenge the Patriots this season. In a year or two, this division could be far more competitive, though.

Theismann: Patriots
The Patriots have won three of the last six Super Bowls and still attacked this off-season as though they were trying to end a Cubs-like title drought. This is not only the best team in the division but the best team in football.