Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 7/13/13
New England Patriots, DOWN: The Patriots have had a rough June and early July, but they've also made the proper moves in limiting the distractions brought on by Aaron Hernandez's arrest. The biggest football concern the Patriots have at the moment is a definite lack of productive receivers for Tom Brady to throw to. In the past, that wouldn't have been such a big issue until the playoffs, but this year, it looks like the Dolphins will be a tough team, and without receivers, even Tom Brady may find it difficult to continue ruling the AFC East. Miami Dolphins, FLAT: The Dolphins have been pegged by many as this year's up-and-comers. Miami is a young team with a potential star at quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, but all the extra attention and added expectations could be the distraction that de-rails the Dolphins' playoff hopes. Joe Philbin's job will be to keep his team focused, because frankly, if they can do that, they have a very real opportunity to shake the power structure of the AFC East. New York Jets, DOWN: Mark Sanchez is very confident he'll beat out rookie Geno Smith for the Jets' starting job, and frankly, that doesn't bode well for the Jets, primarily because that confidence likely stems from seeing Smith in practice. At this point, it looks as if the Jets may start the season with Sanchez and finish with Smith starting under an interim head coach. Yeah, it could get that bad in New York. Buffalo Bills, SLIGHTLY UP: There hasn't been a lot of news out of Buffalo of late, and in this case, that's actually a good thing. The biggest step for the Bills will come in preseason action, and all eyes will be on E.J. Manuel and Doug Marrone. There won't be high expectations from the team at this point, so at least the Bills have that going for them. So long as Manuel steadily develops, there's hope for the future. [follow]

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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