AFC East Power Rankings preview

I'm one of five panelists representing ESPN.com in this year's Power Rankings. The next edition is coming soon now that the preseason is complete.

Here is how I size up the AFC East leading into Week 1 of the regular season:

New England Patriots

Projected vote: No. 1-4

Analysis: The Patriots are my Super Bowl pick this season. So there is a good chance New England will get my top vote. It all starts with quarterback Tom Brady and New England's high-powered offense. There are some concerns about the pass defense, but no team is perfect and there is room to improve. Other teams I will consider for the top spot include the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC.

New York Jets

Projected vote: No. 5-8

Analysis: Head coach Rex Ryan (again) predicted a Super Bowl win for the Jets. The team certainly has the talent and depth to contend, but there's still work to do. For starters, the Jets' offense needs to get on the same page. New York has new pieces at wide receiver and the timing still seems off. Defensively the Jets appear ready. This unit might have to carry the team early until quarterback Mark Sanchez and Co. get up to speed.

Miami Dolphins

Projected vote: No. 20-23

Analysis: The Dolphins are a tricky team to gauge before the regular season. So much depends on the performance of quarterback Chad Henne, who has played pretty well this preseason. If Henne turns the corner this year, the Dolphins could be competitive. But if Henne continues his career-long trend of throwing more interceptions (33) than touchdowns (27), Miami is in trouble. The Dolphins, like most NFL teams, cannot overcome poor quarterback play. For now I'm comfortable placing the Dolphins in the 20-23 range. But I reserve the right to move them up if Henne gets off to a good start.

Buffalo Bills

Projected vote: No. 27-30

Analysis: The Bills are not the worst team in the NFL. I've seen worse this preseason (see Cincinnati and Carolina). But Buffalo has an uphill battle to compete in the AFC East. Barring injury, the Patriots and Jets have "playoffs" written all over them, and the Dolphins could be hit-or-miss depending on several factors. Buffalo's first goal is to be more competitive at home and in the division. The Bills were 2-6 at home and 1-5 against the AFC East in 2010. Improving in those two areas this season will mark progress.