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AFC East Offers More Competition in 2011 8

Posted on September 04, 2011 by Chris Kent

A two-team race between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets for most of the last decade, the AFC East may be more competitive in 2011. Both Buffalo and Miami have key youngsters and new veteran stars to level the playing field in the division.

After being signed by the Bills late last season, linebacker Shawne Merriman will look to make an impact on Buffalo's defense in 2011.

Since 2001, New England has eight division titles and is 3-1 in Super Bowls. The Jets have been the runner-up in the AFC each of the last two seasons. In fact, the division has been won by either the Patriots or Jets every year since 2001 except for 2008 when Miami won it.

The Bills will look to linebacker Shawne Merriman who they acquired off waivers last November as well as Alabama rookie defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to bolster their defense. A first-round pick in 2005 when he was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Merriman has been slowed by injuries in recent years. Dareus, the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship game win over Texas, is projected to start. Buffalo finished tied for 27th in the league in 2010 with just 27 sacks.

Merriman is looking to be of the same impact that he was from 2005 through ‘07 when he logged 39.5 of his 43 career sacks.

Reggie Bush brings his quickness, agility, and speed to the Dolphins' new-look rushing attack in 2011.

The Dolphins sport new running backs after signing veterans Reggie Bush and Larry Johnson. Bush is a gamebreaker with his speed and agility running and receiving. Johnson adds toughness.

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