AFC East Stock Watch

October, 4, 2011
10/04/11
1:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

[+] EnlargeMark Sanchez
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyMark Sanchez had a horrendous game against the Ravens -- coughing up the ball four times and throwing for 119 yards.
1. Mark Sanchez, Jets quarterback: It's an easy choice when you set a record for the lowest Total Quarterback Rating. Sanchez had a forgettable game against the Baltimore Ravens. He was 11-for-35 passing for 119 yards, three lost fumbles and one interception. What's worse is that three of Sanchez’s turnovers resulted in Baltimore touchdowns. The offensive line deserves a lot of blame as well. Still, Sanchez needs to do a better job of taking care of the football. The Jets will play the New England Patriots in a big AFC East game this Sunday.

2. Miami Dolphins on the road: Remember when Miami was a good road team? That was something Miami was counting on after its 0-2 start at home. But that plan backfired after the Dolphins dropped back-to-back road games against the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers. Now, Miami enters its bye week 0-4 and out of contention. The Dolphins have lost seven straight dating to last season. They're also 1-11 in their past 12 home games. With that combo, it's going to be hard for Miami to turn things around.

3. Buffalo Bills: If Buffalo wants to be a serious contender, it needs to beat teams like the Bengals, especially when the Bills own a 14-point lead in the second half. Buffalo's offense shut down after intermission, and the defense couldn't make a big stop late. The good news is it's just one game. Buffalo remains in first place in the AFC East and tied for the best record in the AFC. But the Bills have to prove it in these next two games against the Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) and New York Giants (3-1).

RISING

1. Wes Welker, Patriots receiver: As good as quarterback Tom Brady has been for New England, Welker has been just as good at receiver. The pair is putting up monster numbers. Welker is leading the NFL in receptions and receiving yards through four games. I'm surprised by how often Welker gets open every week. Yes, it's hard to double-team receivers from the slot. But you figure teams know by now where the ball often goes.

2. David Harris, Jets linebacker: Harris was one of the few bright spots in New York's 34-17 loss to the Ravens. He recorded seven tackles and a pick six. Harris is a very good player who is somewhat underrated. He doesn't get mentioned as much as teammates Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and others. But Harris is having a consistent season.

3. Stevan Ridley, Patriots running back: Ridley, a rookie third-round pick, is proving to be a good find for New England. He's given the Patriots a nice, three-headed attack in the running game if Danny Woodhead (ankle) stays healthy. Ridley rushed for a career-high 97 yards on 10 carries against Oakland, which has a solid front seven. This is just the kind of production the Patriots need to take some pressure off Brady and keep the defense off the field.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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