This isn't the same defense that led the Pats to three Super Bowl titles Kevin White Bears Jersey , but it also isn't the same unit that looked awful at times last season. This defense is aging and lacks the depth at LB it once had. But Bill Belichick is a defensive guru who won't allow this unit to slip too far, injuries not withstanding. DE Richard Seymour leads a solid d-line. Rosevelt Colvin is a quality substitute for the departed Willie McGinest. Tedy Bruschi returned from a stroke to lead the LB corps. The front seven is sound, but the secondary needs to stay healthy in 2006. Rodney Harrison returns from injury and veterans SS Tebucky Jones and CB Eric Warfield were brought in. This defense will return to elite status as long as the injury bug doesn't pay another visit.
Special Teams: Kicker Adam Vinatieri left for Indianapolis and the Pats may regret letting him test the free-agent market. They signed former Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica, but you can expect to see other kickers competing for the job. This will almost certainly come back to haunt them in close games.
Prediction: If Brady and the secondary stay healthy Authentic Brian Hoyer Jersey , New England will once again win the AFC East. But they better look over their shoulders because Miami is closing the gap.
2. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Offense: The arrival of QB Daunte Culpepper has fueled optimism in Miami. Joey Harrington has also been brought in just in case Culpepper isn't ready for Week One. If Daunte can return to prior form, this offense will be a force to reckon with. Ricky Williams' suspension paves the way for RB Ronnie Brown to carry the load. But can he carry that load? He shared carries at Auburn with Cadillac Williams and shared carries here last season with Ricky Williams. WR Chris Chambers erupted for 82 catches, 1,118 yards and 11 TDs in 2005. He should easily match those numbers this season. Culpepper threw to the TE a lot in Minny Authentic Logan Paulsen Jersey , so expect Randy McMichael to have a productive season as well. Miami added LT L.J. Shelton to bolster an up-and-coming offensive line.
Defense: Miami was second in the NFL last season and tied a franchise record by tallying 49 sacks, led by 12 from Jason Taylor. This group is aging and lacks quality depth. Taylor wreaked havoc in 2005, moving all over the front line and sometimes dropping into coverage. LB Zach Thomas is great at reading plays and getting to the ball, but he's 32 and missed a ton of time in 2005. Youngsters such as LB Channing Crowder Authentic Charles Leno Jersey , DEs Rodrique and Manuel Wright must step up. The secondary needs first-round draft pick Jason Allen to make an immediate impact. This defense still appears to be in a state of transition. Lucky for them, they have the offensively inept Bills and Jets in their division.