New York Jets
2009 record: 9-7 (Second in AFC East)
Steve WycheWith all the hype and talent, a banana peel-like free fall seems possible. But a primo coaching staff will stir the ingredients again.
63.0Mark Sanchez's rookie passer rating. The Jets' success last year had little to do with Sanchez and much to do with a great rushing attack and an outstanding defense. They'll expect more from him in 2010.
The former Pro Bowler was once viewed as a premier cover man until a pair of sub-par seasons diminished his status. However, he will get every opportunity to prove his worth playing in place of or opposite Darrelle Revis in the Jets' blitz-happy scheme. How well he holds up on the hot corner will determine whether the Jets retain their No.1 ranking on defense.
Shonn GreeneThe second-year pro has big shoes to fill in replacing Thomas Jones as the Jets' workhorse. Greene's predecessor amassed three straight 1,000-yard seasons and finished among the top five rushers in back-to-back years. Although Greene is more of a power option than Jones, he is capable of posting the same kind of production behind a massive offensive line. With coach Rex Ryan intent on pounding foes into submission, Greene will get plenty of opportunities to prove he is a capable successor.
Edwards will still disappointBraylon Edwards might have some name value, but he's vastly overrated in fantasy leagues. Outside of his breakout season with the Browns in 2007, Edwards has averaged just 737 yards with a combined 16 touchdowns. He's clearly not a player for fantasy owners to lean on.
Three pivotal games
Sept. 13 vs. Baltimore
The Jets will open New Meadowlands Stadium as part of the Monday night doubleheader when they host the Ravens. The trash talk has already begun on both sides. Rex Ryan, who served as a Ravens assistant from 1999-2008 (defensive coordinator from 2005-08), will face his former team for the first time since becoming coach of the Jets.
Dec. 6 at New England
Are the Jets ready to seize the AFC East title from the Patriots? These teams will have already played in Week 2, but it's this December matchup that might prove who the division belongs to. The Jets will hope that Mark Sanchez, this late into the second year of his career, will be ready for the big stage on Monday night.
Dec. 19 at Pittsburgh
Super Bowl hero Santonio Holmes will return to Pittsburgh to face the team that gave up on him. Under most circumstances, Holmes' winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII would merit a standing ovation, but given the events that preceded his departure, it will be interesting to see how he is received by fans -- and how he performs here.