Our division previews wrap up with a look at the AFC East. Once the red-headed step-child of the YFFL, the AFC East has risen from the ashes to provide a Super Bowl champion two years ago, two Super Bowl contenders last season, and an up and coming team for 2008. Can this division continue its upward momentum?
The Llamas enter the 2008 season featuring the best lineup in the conference, a squad that could potentially have 4 Pro-Bowlers in Addai, Brees, Barber, and A. Johnson. Kevin has to feel good about their chances of returning to the Super Bowl where last year they dropped a heart breaker to the White Guys. The Llamas were without a first round draft pick this season, which was traded away in the Drew Brees trade and didn't get their first selection until the 31st pick overall in which they used on kicker Nate Kaeding. This is similar to the strategy employed by the Merry Men a few years back when they were on the verge of winning it all and made sure they had one of the top 3 kickers in the league. The league is looking forward to Week 5 when the Llamas and Bear play in what is quickly becoming one of the best rivalries in the league. The Llamas will be on the look-out for an additional starting QB and possibly a TE if the ones on the roster don't work out but expect the Llamas to be on cruise control through the season.
Projected Record: 10-3
The Orangutangs were probably lucky in losing the Stuper Bowl and not having to have the pressure of having the #1 pick in the YFFL Draft and were able to pick up likely YFFL rookie of the year Jonathan Stewart. Jon was able to overcome the stress of the slow internet connection and frustration of the website to have a terrific draft and will have the Orangutangs competing this season for the AFC Wild Card. David Garrard is back from the IR and figures to have his best NFL season yet. Willis McGahee and Lendale White are solid starters and the receiving corps is underrated with Nate Burelson and Kevin Walter leading the way. Expect the Orangutangs to double their win total from a season ago and hang tough with the Buddies and Thugs for the wild card but ultimately come up short before they take the next step in 2009.
Projected Record: 6-7
The Bear enjoyed a historic performance from QB Tom Brady last season as he accounted for 282 pts (good for second all-time) and led the Bear to 676 pts (6th best all-time) as the team finished 9-4 and won the Wild Card. What was truly amazing was that Brady never scored below 18 until the final two weeks. Had the Bear not lost Ronnie Brown to an injury, who knows how far this squad would have gone. The Bear will be getting away from the run and shoot this season and have a more balanced squad. Chris Perry and Julius Jones have starting gigs and Ronnie Brown seems to be on the mend. The receiver corps has good depth and it will be tough to pick 2-3 to start every week. One could be used later in the season as trade bait. At the moment Chad Johnson (if healthy), Greg Jennings, and Jerricho Cotchery figure to get most of the playing time. At the moment I see the Bear taking a step back. I can't see Brady breaking 200 again, especially since he usually puts up around 130 pts a season, but if he does play out of his mind again then throw the 6-7 record out the window and pencil them in for the Wild Card.
Projected Record: 6-7
The Refugees have added a few more pieces this off season, but still don't seem to have what is needed to make a playoff push. Jason Campbell is unproven at QB and has trouble staying on the field, Rex Grossman is somehow still on the roster, and the WR ranks are thin with Javon Walker trying to retire half way through camp, Matt Jones having a cocaine trial midseason, and Reggie Brown missing time with an injury. The bright spot on this squad is the crew at RB. Jones-Drew is a TD machine, Chris Johnson is the most talked about rookie to date, and Maroney is a special player who just needs the touches around the goal line to take the next step. Perhaps Campbell will surprise us and Aceto will hit another homerun on the waiver wire, but unless that's the case the Refugees are in for another long season.
Projected Record: 4-9
Drew Brees, Llamas
Everything is there for this guy to have his career year and top 150 pts this season as he wins YFFL MVP honors.
Greg Jennings, Bear
This is one very talented receiver who is entering his third season. I don't care if Aaron Rogers is the QB, I expect to see Jennings top 80 pts this season and go to his first Pro Bowl.
Chad Johnson, Bear
This guy has to be the most annoying player to watch for everyone in the league aside from Bri. He is constantly a side show and barely produces expect for 2 weeks each season. Each of the last two years he has scored over 20 in a week twice, which accounts for nearly two thirds of his yearly total. The 70 pt seasons are nice but imagine what this guy could do if he actually thought more about getting into the end zone than what he will do once he gets there.
Patrick Crayton, Llamas
Crayton seems poised to rise from #4 WR on the Llamas to pushing for playing time as the #2. Crayton plays on a great offense and is healthy. The Llamas hope he can step up and provide good depth during the bye weeks, not to mention Kev liked how Crayton could match Pacman Jones on Hard Knocks and catch 6 punts in a row without setting any balls down.
All Division Team