AFC East Stock Watch

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
1:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter: The Dolphins continued their disturbing trend of not being able to finish games. They blew a fourth-quarter lead for the second straight week, this time against the New York Giants in a 20-17 defeat. Miami has been outscored 28-9 in the fourth quarter and overtime the past two weeks by the Giants and Denver Broncos.

2. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots head coach: This is a first for Belichick this season. Overall, he's done another good job leading the Patriots to a 5-2 start. But Belichick's defensive schemes and personnel decisions have not been up to par this year. It's starting to catch up to him as teams like Pittsburgh and Buffalo are taking advantage of New England's defense. Quarterback Tom Brady cannot throw for 400 yards every week. Belichick, who has a reputation as a defensive guru, has to find solutions on that side of the football before it's too late.

[+] EnlargeBuffalo's Marcel Dareus
Luc Leclerc/US PRESSWIRERookie Marcell Dareus moved to nose tackle and had 2.5 sacks on Sunday.
3. Devin McCourty, Patriots cornerback: You can't put everything on Belichick. The players on the field have to produce as well. After a great rookie year, McCourty is having a major sophomore slump as New England's top cornerback. Against Pittsburgh, McCourty recorded seven solo tackles and zero pass defenses. He's struggling to get in position to make plays on the ball. McCourty has zero interceptions and only three pass defenses in seven games.

RISING

1. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle: Buffalo's first-round pick had his best game as a pro. Dareus was a handful for the Washington Redskins' offensive line and recorded four tackles and a career-high 2.5 sacks. Dareus moved to nose tackle from defensive end this week because of a foot injury to Kyle Williams. The rookie looked right at home fighting off numerous double-teams while still getting to the quarterback.

2. Fred Jackson, Bills tailback: Jackson continued his monster season with another great game, this time against the Redskins. Jackson rushed for 120 yards and added 74 yards receiving. Jackson runs through a lot of tackles and is on pace to rush for more than 1,600 yards this season. I think he's earned a new contract. Jackson deserves some mention in the Most Valuable Player race, as well.

3. Reggie Bush, Dolphins tailback: Bush had his second career 100-yard rushing performance and his first with the Dolphins. Bush's quickness gave the Giants fits for three quarters. He rushed for 103 yards on 15 carries. Bush’s longest run was for 35 yards, and he averaged 6.9 yards per carry. Miami needs more games like this from Bush to get more victories.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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