AFC East at the quarter pole

AFC East at the quarter pole
October 2, 2012, 6:43 pm
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By Tom E. Curran

The Patriots were tied for last in the AFC East when Sunday began. Now they aretied for first. But tallying up the wins and losses doesn't begin to tellwhat's going on in the Patriots' little NFL pod.
The gap between thePatriots and their AFC East brethren may be at an all-time high. The Jets have gone off the shark and jumped the reservation. The Bills are better but Sunday showed just how far removed they are from being consistent. The Dolphins are two years away. Here's the skinny on the AFC East peeps at the quarter pole.

JETS

Record 2-2, 28th ranked offense; 27th ranked defense

Resume A blowout win at Buffalo, a beatdown by the Steelers, a gift-wrap win in Miami and a humiliation at the hands of San Fran.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez is 32nd in the NFL in completion percentage at 49.2. His fourth-quarter completion percentage is 38.2 percent (13 for 34). The Jets have six offensive touchdowns and are averaging 3.2 yards per carry. Meanwhile, they're allowing 4.9 YPC and opponents have seven rushing touchdowns against them. They are a hooked Dan Carpenter field goal from being 1-3. They've been outscored 69-41 after halftime so far.
Their best defender, Darrelle Revis is lost for the year. Their best wideout, Santonio Holmes, hurt his foot and seems to hate playing there. If it weren't for Tim Tebow, who knows where they'd be.
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A little less than you'd expect from a roster Rex Ryan said could be his "best team EVER!" . Disorganized and dysfunctional with a dismissal looming, if Ryan can kick the lid off the coffin this time and gnaw through the ropes to save himself, it will be quite a feet.
Forecast Not awesome. Houston is up this week, followed by the Colts and the Patriots. Probably the most important three-game stretch of Ryan's Jets' tenure.
BILLSRecord 2-2, 11th-ranked offense; 27th-ranked defenseResume A blowout loss to the Jets, pummeling of Kansas City, a solid win at Cleveland then Sunday's blowout weirdness against the Patriots.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has 12 touchdown passes and seven picks which kind of sums him up - when he's good he's very good; when he's bad he's bad.

The running back duo of C.J. Spiller and Tashard Choice has 486 yards on 75 carries, which is very good considering their best back, Fred Jackson, has barely played.

Tight end Scott Chandler has started strong with 12 catches and four touchdowns.

Allowing 587 yards to the Patriots didn't auger well for their defense and created a whole lot of "we spent all that money on Mario Williams for this???" sentiment last week

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Since public opinion wavers like a weathervane in a hurricane, this week it's doom and gloom about the Bills because of that 45-point second half they allowed to the Patriots. Could happen to anyone. Not really. Still, the Bills are a lot better than that and - if they can figure out their defensive identity and get Fitzpatrick to happily take some checkdown and underneath throws more often, they should be average to slightly above.
Forecast Not good to very bad. The Bills are at San Francisco and Arizona, host Tennessee and then are at Houston and New England. The combined record there is 14-6. The Niners and Cardinals are both unbeaten and the Texans are 3-1.

DOLPHINS
Record 1-3, 9th-ranked offense, 16th in defense
Resume Damn close to 3-1. A pummeling from Houston in the opener, a KO of Oakland then back-to-back OT losses to the Jets and at Arizona. Miami is first in the NFL against the run, 30th against the pass. That passing stat is a little disconcerting because they haven't even played a top-tier quarterback.
Reggie Bush is playing about as well as he can. Between he and Daniel Thomas, they've amassed 495 rushing yards and are averaging 5.5 per attempt.
Ryan Tannehill's numbers are awful - two touchdowns and six picks - but he's actually shown glimmers of being really good. He also has spread the ball around to an underwhelming crew of wideouts and tight ends. He's got 70 completions total to Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano and Bush.

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If you watched "Hard Knocks" or knew what Joe Philbin went through over the past year, you understand why it's hard to root against him. So it's a shame the Dolphins weren't able to steal either of those overtime wins. This is a franchise that - despite its lack of success - plays hard all the time including when it started 0-7 under Tony Sparano last season. I believed they'd be better than anticipated and they are. Their record doesn't show just how much better, though.
Forecast
They could make a little run here. Like the Bills, they are into a nasty stretch of four road games in five contests but they have the Bengals, Rams, Jets, Colts, Titans and Bills coming up. Prediction? They won't be in last place in the division by Thanksgiving.