New England Patriots
Projected Record: 16-0 (I tried to not be a homer and put down 15-1, but really, but how is this year’s team worse than last year?)
What Needs to Happen: The Patriots really just need to continue doing what they were doing last year. New parts like Mayo, Hobson, Wheatley and Crable need to be integrated well, and the rookies in that bunch need to learn quickly.
What Needs to Not: Injuries and age can’t catch up to the Patriots. Some of the key cogs (Moss, Vrabel, Bruschi, Harrison etc…) are getting older while many have injury concerns. “Next man in” is their mantra, but they can only cover so many holes, especially on defense.
Projected Record: 7-9
What Needs to Happen: I’m not sure why the Bills aren’t better. Maybe it is coaching, maybe it’s a team leadership problem, but whatever it is, the Bills need to stop underachieving. I know they have had injury issues in the past, but they need to be a 53-man team. Marshawn Lynch is sick, but let’s hope that his “car troubles” aren’t a harbringer of what is to come.
What Needs to Not: Lee Evans can’t be their only deep threat this year, while Trent Edwards can’t have a sophomore slump
New York Jets
Projected Record: 3-13
What Needs to Happen: Eric Mangini needs to pick the quarterback that he wants to lose with already. The Jets will have to integrate many expensive new parts into their system, something they won’t be able to do.
What Needs to Not: Regardless of whether it is due to injury or design, Chad Pennington can’t be throwing passes for the Jets if they want to sniff the playoffs in 2008.
Projected Record: 1-15
What Needs to Happen: Who freaking knows. This team got marginally better this off-season, but they still don’t have a defense or a quarterback, and last time we checked those are important things.
What Needs to Not: (See 2007)