By Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East-ologist

The one good thing about the clear road to AFCE victory for New England if you're not a Patriots fan, is that an upset would be seismic.

If you were a betting man, the payout would be better than dating a Kardashian.Unfortunately you have a better chance of hearing Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum give a straight answer, than winning that bet.

The Cold, Hard Football Facts are here to tell you why.

We could simply tell you that the Miami Dolphins are going through a regime change and STILL haven't found a quarterback successor to Dan "The Man" Marino.

We could remind you that the Buffalo Bills went through a schizophrenic 2011 and are waiting to see who shows up this year.

We certainly don't have to tell you that the New York Jets brought in the cleanest "dirty bomb" in the NFL and can blow the team up at any minute.

And why would we remind you the New England Patriots are even better than they were last year? The numbers speak for themselves.

Here is a break down of what you can expect (or be afraid of, depending on the team) this year in the AFC East.

 

New England Patriots (Over/Under: 12)

Last year: O/U 11.5 (Over,13-3)

THE CASE FOR OVER

The best got better.

It seams unfair, but the Patriots are coloring inside the lines. An offense that last year was second in Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, third in Real Quarterback Rating, and third in Offensive Passer Rating, inked their lethal tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, to multi-year deals.

Then they brought in a deep threat in Brandon Loyd who had his best year (11 TD's and 1,448 yards) as a pro under Josh McDaniels. Oh yeah, he's back too.

With one hand tied behind their back.

As if all that fire power weren't enough, they also received a gift from the NFL Gods. The Patriots have the easiest schedule in the league this year. They face just four 2011 Quality Opponents (teams with 9 or more wins last year). The combined records of all of their opponents for this season isn't even .500. 

THE CASE FOR THE UNDER

The defense was unpatriotic.

If there was any part of the Patriots that exemplified Bill Belichick's drab, lifeless, and uninspiring attire, it was the Patriots defense. Bottoming out 29th in Defensive Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, and 24th in Defensive Real Quarterback Rating, the defense looked pathetic.

With opponents constantly in catch up mode, the secondary was tested time and time again. In a pass happy league, similar defensive lapses will cost them a game or two more than last year.

FINAL ANALYSIS

With an improved nuclear offense, the Pats will be able to cover any lapses on the defensive side. The uncertainty and or rebuilding of the rest of the teams in the AFCE means deja vu for the Patriots as East champs. Only injury or boredom will stop them from continuing their dominance over the conference. They finish with the same record from last year. TAKE THE OVER 12.

 

New York Jets  (Over/Under: 8.5)

Last year: O/U 10.5 (under,13-3)

THE CASE FOR OVER

Divine intervention.

Tim Tebow is 8-5 as a starter, which includes one playoff victory against the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers.

Needless to say, the manner in which some of those wins were attained was nothing short of miraculous.

The New York Jets were tops in Red Zone scoring last year with a 65.38% scoring efficiency. Tebow and all of his 251lbs of solid goodness will make him a bad man near the goal line. 

You can't spell dominance without D(fense)

Even though they slipped a notch or two from the previous two years, the Jets defense was still unpleasant for opposing offenses.

They ranked fourth in Real Defensive Quarterback Rating, third in Defensive Passer Rating, and third in Defensive Hog Index. They tightened up their middle by adding safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry. And with Quinton Coples and friends, the depleted defense line is the deepest it's been during the Rex Ryan era.

THE CASE FOR THE UNDER

Where oh where do we begin? The back up quarterback can't throw. They have one proven wide receiver. They are still making changes to the offensive line.

Their favorite flavor is apparently vanilla. And overall they have a worse offense that was 25th in Real Passing Yards Per Attempt and 28th in Offensive Hog Index last year. 

FINAL ANALYSIS

Management and the coaching staff dropped the ball in the off season. The many holes left from last years collapse were not addressed. With everyone waiting for the Jets to implode, they seem intent on giving the crowd what they want. Just as a true side show would. They will be lucky to reach .500. TAKE THE UNDER 8.5.

Miami Dolphins (Over/Under: 7.5)

Last year: O/U 6.5 (under,6-10)

THE CASE FOR THE OVER

Well, they know when wide receivers with fake names can't make real catches anymore.

New head coach Joe Philbin is instilling a new attitude on his team. Running back Reggie Bush had a break out year on the ground with 1,086 yards and six touch downs.

Philbin will be sure to capitalize on Bush's double threat capabilities.

THE CASE FOR THE UNDER

Bush is pretty much all they have as far as established skill players. They will be starting rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who's best option through the air is wide out Devone Bess.

Bess had a sizzling 537 yards last year. With this pool of talent and a rookie head coach, they may have to unveil the "house cat offense".

FINAL ANALYSIS 

The Dolphins have almost no weapons on their team. The head coach has already set a divider between himself and the team with the unpopular dismissal of Chad Johnson. With a formidable first five weeks, a slow start would greatly impact the psyche of a team under new leadership.TAKE THE UNDER 7.5.

Buffalo Bills (Over/Under: 7)

Last year: O/U 5.5 (over, 6-10)

THE CASE FOR THE OVER

The macho NFL loves to say that injuries are no excuse. They are however a fact of reality. It's no coincidence that after starting 4-2 before their bye week, the Bills went 2-10 after it.

And after quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick broke his ribs against the Washington Redskins. He went from AFC offensive player of the month to just another bearded hobo. 

Health makes wealth.

The Bills middle of the pack OPR(21st), QBR(17th), and RPYPA(15th) are all tainted by Fitzpatrick's BBQ'ed ribs. Now that he's healthy and stays healthy, the Bills will make a push for the wild card slot leaping over the Jets and stepping on the Dolphins. The defense also got a booster shot with the addition of defensive end Mario Williams and his 54 career sacks. 

THE CASE FOR THE UNDER

The Bills had no Pro Bowl selections for the first time since 2003. They were out rushed 120.1-139 yards per game as well as out passed 241.1-245.3 yards per game. Head coach Chan Gailey's losing record of 28-38 as a head coach doesn't inspire confidence that he will get this ship righted. Coming in last place in the AFCE both years of his tenure, pretty much sucks as well. 

FINAL ANALYSIS

The Jets have dropped down a couple of notches. The Dolphins have stayed down a couple of notches. The Bills will sweep both teams and have only four more games to win to cover. Their schedule says that this is an attainable goal. Therefore look towards a .500 season for the Bills.  OVER 7.