|Colts Favorites, Jets Could Surprise|
Dateline: August 10, 2001
Buffalo is another team that I don't think will be in the playoff race. If Rob Johnson gets hurt, and he does have a history of getting hurt, then the Bills will be up a creek with a broken paddle. Alex Van Pelt is Johnson's backup, which shouldn't be real comforting to bills fans. The Bills no longer have 38-year old veteran quarterback Doug Flutie, nor do they have defensive linemen Marcellus Wiley and Ted Washington. Wiley's 10½ sacks from a year ago will be tough to replace.
One team that I think will compete, and could emerge as a Super Bowl contender if things go right, is the New York Jets. Vinny Testeverde is working in a West Coast-oriented offense now, and he has looked very comfortable running it in training camp. The short passing attack of the new offense should cut down on the sizable number of interceptions he threw last year. The defensive squad should be solid, and John Abraham will have a huge year if he stays healthy and can adjust to playing defensive end.
The Miami Dolphins are coming off a solid season that ended on a sour note with a big loss in the playoffs. Quarterback is still a source of inconsistency, and if Jay Fiedler plays like he did at the end of last season, ex-Jet Ray Lucas will be called on to start. Lucas is more athletic than Fiedler, but he will not suddenly turn the Dolphins into a great passing team. Miami suffered a huge loss on the defensive line when defensive end Trace Armstrong took his league-leading 16 sacks and headed to Oakland. The Dolphins may make a run at the playoffs again, but I doubt they will pull out the division title.
The team that I think will win this division is the Indianapolis Colts. They will have one of the more explosive offenses in the league, and if first-round pick Reggie Wayne becomes a dependable option at wide receiver, they could be almost unstoppable. A lot of young bodies were added to a defense that struggled last year, along with a couple quality free agents. This team reminds me a lot of the Rams in respect to the fact that if they can get just a small improvement from the defensive squad, they may win the whole darn thing.
|Indianapolis Colts||13-3||Colts Offense Ready to Explode|
|New York Jets||11-5||Jets Move to West Coast|
|Miami Dolphins||9-7||Dolphins Need a Spark|
|Buffalo Bills||6-10||Bills Count on Johnson to Stay Healthy|
|New England Patriots||5-11||Patriots Add Depth, Lack Talent|
AFC West Preview|
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|NFC West Preview||
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|NFC East Preview||- Coming Soon!|