AFC East Ripe For Dolphins Taking
By Brian Miller
Aug 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins helmets on the sidelines during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins won in week 1 despite a rather up and down offensive output. In week two they will face a far more potent offense but a much weaker defense than that of the Cleveland Browns. A win will put the team tied with New England atop the AFC East. For the last decade and a few years added on, the division has belonged to the New England Patriots. This year, it appears the AFC East is ripe for the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots are having serious issues. Defensively they are struggling and on offense, Tom Brady is playing at a 2nd tier level. Buoyed by his lack of receiving threats, the Patriots look no more ready to challenge for the division but more or less waiting to be handed it. The Dolphins need to take this division away from a team that is showing clear signs of breakdown.
On Thursday night Tom Brady posted just over 150 yards passing on the night. His receivers dropped more passes than they caught and the running game was virtually non-existent. The reason is simple. The team has lost too many on offense and replaced them with Bill Belichick’s ego. Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thomkins, and Julian Edelman were the starters last night. FA ticket signee Danny Amendola is injured and could miss the next 4-6 weeks. Amendola spent most of last season in St. Louis on the sidelines nursing injuries.
Thursday night’s game was a game NE should have lost if not for the mistakes of a 3rd round rookie QB who tossed 3 interceptions in quarter four of a three point game. In Buffalo the Patriots a week earlier barely escaped if not for a last second FG. Making matters worse for the Patriots, the normally calm and collective Brady erupted after an incomplete pass and continued his rant on the sidelines. The problem with New England is they have set themselves up to pass in order to establish a running game. Without a passing game the running game is stagnant.
While New England is still 2-0 and both wins in the division no less, they are looking like a team who can easily be beaten. Both victories have come at the expense of two opposing rookie QB’s.
The New York Jets are hoping to turn their season into a job protecting one for Rex Ryan. The problem is they could implode at any time. They lack discipline. They lack focus. They lack leadership. Despite their shortcomings they almost beat New England. Are the Patriots that bad? It appears they just may be.
The Jets are not likely a serious contender for the AFC East. They have issues on both sides of the ball and inner team turmoil could tear them apart. Especially with the scrutiny that Rex Ryan is currently owner. Despite a close game against New England, the Jets could easily finish dead last in the division.
Buffalo played well against the Patriots a week ago and we await the results of week two. Still you have to wonder if the Bills played well or the Patriots played bad. Led by a rookie QB, the Bills should not be serious contenders to the division crown. At least not this early. The Bills do have a solid defensive unit and an electrifying RB in C.J. Spiller.
If the current excellence of play is any indication, the Bills will be the team battling for the division.
Will it be Miami they do battle with?
The Dolphins have a stellar defensive front and a secondary that will do well with the up front pressure. They have an offensive passing system that can move the ball effectively. What they don’t have is a reliable running game, a solid offensive line, and n0n-headscratching play calling. Still the Dolphins played last week with a stiff defense in their face and still posted 23 points. They will need to do the same this week against the Colts. A win against the Colts and the Dolphins could begin seeing themselves as the division favorites. A couple more wins after that and they just might convince themselves that is in fact theirs to lose.
There are no guarantees and the Dolphins weren’t exactly brilliant offensively last week. Still they have talent, they need to put it together. Quick.