AFC East Breakdown: Week 5

(Brian Miller writes for Phin Phanatic, which is FSB’s Dolphins blog. Representing the rest of the AFC East are Musket FireThe J-E-T Press and The BuffaLowdown.)

The New York Jets had a bye week and managed to gain crucial ground on division leading Buffalo.  The division that once was supposed to belong to the New England Patriots has suddenly become a free for all that also finds the Miami Dolphins clawing their way out of the cellar.  While other divisions in the AFC are battling out as well, this division just got a whole lot more interesting.

Buffalo Bills (4-1):

Looking back:  The Bills took on an Arizona Cardinal team that demolished the Miami Dolphins three weeks ago and then got slaughtered by the Jets last week.  On Sunday, they were back to their Phins ways by crushing the Bills 41-17.  The Bills lost more than the game as starting QB Trent Edwards went down with a concussion.  The Bills were without two of their safeties and the Cardinals aireal attack was too much for the Bills normally stingy defense.  The Cardinals added 5 sacks to the insult.

Looking ahead:  The Bills will have a bye week in week 6 and that is good news for Trent Edwards who can use the extra week to clear the cobwebs.  When they do come back they will face the reeling San Diego Chargers who will have faced the Patriots.  The Bills need to regroup after starting 4-0 and now hold a marginal 1 game lead in the AFC East.

Miami Dolphins (2-2):

Looking back:  The Dolphins came off their early season bye week with the task of proving that the New England Patriot victory in week 3 was not a fluke.  Facing the SD Chargers, the Dolphins would need to stop one of the best offenses in the NFL.  They did just that.  Holding LaDainian Tomlinson to 35 yards on the ground, the Dolphins posted a 17-3 lead going into the 4 minute mark of quarter 3.  They would need to fend off a SD attack that would include a 4th and goal stand from the 1 that would have tied the game late in quarter 4.  The Dolphins won 17-3 and in doing so posted their first back to back wins since November 2006.

Looking ahead:  Miami will face themselves next week as they travel to Houston to take on the winless Texans.  The Texans almost pulled off a shocker of their own on Sunday before surrendering a 17 point lead in the final 4 minutes of the game in their loss to the Indianapolis Colts.  The Texans are desperate for a win and the Dolphins will have to play stellar football if they are to win on the road to the only NFL that they have never beaten.

New England Patriots (3-1):

Looking back:  The Patriots looked shaky early and it appeared that they would follow up their week 3 loss to the Dolphins with a week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49’ers.  Matt Cassel however found a rythym and the Patriots improved to 3-1.  The 49’ers were in the game until the Patriots put up a field goal to give themselves a 9 point lead in the final 4 minutes.  The Patriots still have some issues to resolve, but getting in the win column with Cassel playing far better than his last outing was important for a team who still expects to win the division.

Looking ahead:  The Patriots get no love next week as they face off against their bitter out of division rival San Diego.  The Chargers want to settle the AFC Championship debt from last year and they are expected to pressure Matt Cassel often.   San Diego is two games back in their division and the Patriots are one game back of idle Buffalo.  Should make for one of the best games of week 6.

New York Jets (2-2):

Looking back:  The Jets bye week ends with them finding themselves 2 games out of first and tied for last with the Dolphins in the division.  Their last game saw them dismantle the Arizona Cardinals a week ago.  The Jets had no major injuries outside of a sore Brett Favre who has been very good coming off bye weeks.  Favre gets an early rest but a long season awaits.

Looking ahead:  The Jets will face the Cincinatti Bengals in week 6.  The Bengals are winless and are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys after being in a position to win.  The Jets will have to avoid a let down game and play hard for 60 minutes.  The Bengals are a trap game for New York and the Jets can not afford to look ahead to far.  The Jets next 3 opponents are the Bengals, the Oakland Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs.

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