The AFC East is looking like a mess right now. With the New England Patriots dropping their second game and the Jets winning their 3rd, a pile up at the top is forming and each team in the AFC has some positives and negatives that they are dealing with. While questions are common in any division, these questions seem to linger from week to week and with no answers in sight, the division is shaping up to be an interesting roller-coaster ride.
Buffalo Bills (4-1):
Looking back: You would have to go back two weekends to see what the Bills have done as they are coming off their bye week. The last time the Bills were on the field, they lost to the Arizona Cardinals in a landslide similar to the drubbing that Miami took a couple of weeks before.
Looking ahead: For the Bills it does not get much easier. The San Diego Chargers who suddenly are back in the hunt in the AFC West will come to town. The Bills have a good strong defense and they will need every bit of them to shut down the Denver passing game. The good news is that the only thing the Broncos have on offense is a passing game. The Bills should be able to exploit a weaker defensive unit in week 7.
Miami Dolphins (2-3):
Looking back: The Dolphins used some trickery and then some bend but no break defense to build up a 14-3 lead against the Houston Texans only to give it all up and eventually, on the second to last play of the game, lost. The Dolphins will have to use this game to figure out what identity they will have going forward. The loss was definitely a heartbreaking defeat, being up by 5 with just over a minute left.
Looking ahead: It doesn’t get easier for the Dolphins as they take on the Baltimore Ravens, the only team they beat last season. While this is not the same Dolphins team, it is for the most part the same Ravens team and it is likely they will want some payback. The Ravens have a very good defensive front and it will be interesting to see how they defend the Dolphins’ “wildcat” formations. A win by Miami would keep them in the hunt for a wildcard spot and possibly only one game back of the division.
Looking back: The Patriots got obliterated by the San Diego Chargers on NBC Sunday Night Football. They were never in the game and QB Matt Cassel was knocked down more times than anyone in the Patriots organization can be thrilled about. The New England Offense is almost non-existent right now and losses at the RB position due to injuries is not helping the matter at all. The Patriots are looking very pedestrian.
Looking ahead: Next up is a Monday night showdown against the Denver Broncos. The good news is that the game is at home. The last time the team saw a home game, Miami was beating them 38-13. A loss by the Patriots could potentially knock them to the bottom of the division and while they will not by any means be out of the division race, the psyche of the team has to start becoming a concern. Already Randy Moss is looking more like Moss from Oakland than Moss from last seasons perfect regular season team. Denver will not be a slouch. Although they have a weak defense, their offense works really well at putting up points when they get on a roll.
New York Jets: (3-2):
Looking back: The Jets got a scare from the Cincinnati Bengals for about 2 minutes when the game was within a touchdown, but the Bengals are the Bengals and never really made much of an attempt to win the game or even take it away. The Jets have a rather easy schedule ahead for the next few weeks and should be able to reel off about 3 wins. Thomas Jones got his legs under him against the Bengals and the Jets will likely try and take some of the burden off Favre by using that running game.
Looking ahead: The Jets face the Oakland Raiders who lost big yesterday to New Orleans. The Jets should be able to match up against the Raiders but they will need to keep pressure off Brett Favre to do so. The Raiders secondary is not bad, it’s their offense that keeps putting them in bad situations. This should be a win by this time next week.