x – Patriots 11-5: With Tom Brady having trouble gelling with his new receivers let’s face it, the Patriots are in disarray on offense (ranked 18th in total offense). While on the defense they have played tough, although they can’t withstand any more injuries as players are dropping like flies. Nevertheless, with Bill Belichick guiding this team they remain in first place in their division and have found a way to win all expect for two games. If the Patriots can get players to stay healthy on both sides of the ball and put their best players on the field at the same time, they might start looking like Super Bowl contenders. With the way things are going I don’t see that happening, however with Belichick as head coach and Brady as quarterback they will continue to reign supreme in the AFC East.
Jets 7-9: Give the Jets credit, they are better than most people thought they would be, and sit at 4-4 mainly because of their stingy defense that has kept games close. Also give Geno Smith credit he doesn’t give up (four fourth quarter comebacks) and is clearly a better option than Mark Sanchez. Still the rookie quarterback is nowhere near perfect and his receivers aren’t very reliable (ranked 22nd in passing offense). The Jets will keep playing tough especially with their defense ranked first at stopping the run; however, they still are a few fries short of making the playoffs this year. If the Jets happen to finish at 7-9 it will be very interesting to see if that will be enough to keep Rex Ryan. Being as everybody thought Ryan was a goner you have to give him credit, he has this team playing stout defense again and is developing a quarterback that could have a bright future.
Bills 7-9: Things aren’t going quite as planned in Buffalo with C.J. Spiller not meeting expectations and rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel missing time with a knee injury. Still Fred Jackson has shown everybody there’s still some gas left in his tank, while Thad Lewis has played admirable in Manuel’s absence, which has kept the Bill competitive. Let’s not forget about the defense, that yes is one of the weakest in the NFL (26th) because they give up a ton of yards, but they still know how to take the ball away (12 interceptions) and put opposing quarterbacks on their backside (27 sacks). This is mainly because of the emergence of rookie Kiko Alonso (four interceptions) and last year’s big free agent acquisition Mario Williams (11 sacks). Even with all of the positive things going on this team is still a work in progress. Nevertheless, they have shown they can compete with almost anybody (besides the Saints), which will help them put up a better record than most predicted.
Dolphins 6-10: Things looked promising in the beginning, then the wheels came off, and now the Dolphins are on a four game losing streak. This is mainly because of the offensive line which is the worst in the league. It has affected the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and killed any hope of the rushing game (ranked 23rd in rush offense) of being successful. Now Tannehill should take some blame for the 32 sacks he has taken because of his tendency to hold the ball, but he has improved from last season. As for the defense they aren’t playing as well (ranked 21st in total defense) as last year (ranked 12th in total defense), and it’s pretty clear their sack specialist Cameron Wake is not playing healthy with only two sacks so far this season. It just proves once again if you win in the off-season by spending money it doesn’t mean you’re going to win in the regular season. The problem is in the front office where general manager Jeff Ireland has had more than enough time to right the ship but still has failed to do so. Until Ireland is shown the door, Dolphin fans (that includes me) will just have to keep waiting on their team to be successful.
x – Clinched playoff
y – Clinched Wild Card
z – Clinched Division
* – Clinched Division and Homefield Advantage