- James Walker, ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter
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1. Buffalo Bills' defense: Buffalo has lost five consecutive games, and the biggest reason is its inconsistent defense. The Bills can't stop the run or rush the passer. That leaves very little hope on game day. Buffalo had only one sack and allowed Tennessee Titans tailback Chris Johnson to rush for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Injuries to players such as defensive tackle Kyle Williams, linebacker Shawne Merriman and safety George Wilson have contributed to Buffalo's struggles. But the Bills need to make it a point in the offseason to add more depth and defensive playmakers.
2. New England Patriots' fourth-quarter defense: I'm not going to make a huge deal about it, but the Patriots allowed 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to the winless Indianapolis Colts. It's clear the Patriots took their foot off the pedal. But Indianapolis is 0-12 and had Dan Orlovsky at quarterback. The Colts shouldn't score 21 unanswered points against anybody. Before Sunday's game, the Colts had scored 21 points or more just once in an entire game. The Patriots allowed that many points in one period.
3. New York Jets' passing offense: There are times when the Jets' passing offense makes you scratch your head -- the quarterback misses throws or receivers will run the wrong routes and aren't on the same page. There has been a lot of that lately with the Jets, at least in the first three quarters. New York's passing game isn't waking up until the end of games, and that's saved the Jets in back-to-back weeks. Quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled against the Washington Redskins but saved his best throws for last. The Jets have little margin for error and need the passing game to be there consistently.
1. Miami Dolphins' running game: The Oakland Raiders were completely run over by Miami. The Dolphins recorded 209 rushing yards and had great performances from two tailbacks. Reggie Bush had 100 yards rushing and rookie Daniel Thomas added 73 yards on the ground. Miami's offensive line dominated in the trenches. It even led to frustration by Oakland defensive lineman Richard Seymour, who hit offensive lineman Richie Incognito in the face and was ejected.
2. C.J. Spiller, Bills running back: Spiller gets an unexpected and late audition to be the main running back in Buffalo. Fred Jackson's leg injury has the 2010 first-round pick in the spotlight. Based on Spiller's first two starts, he is making progress. He had his best game as a pro against Tennessee, running for a career-high 83 yards and a touchdown. Spiller could have done more. But Buffalo went away from the running game too early, despite Spiller's averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
3. Aaron Maybin, Jets linebacker: "Mayhem" continues to get to the quarterback for the Jets. Maybin recorded his third sack in two games in Sunday’s victory over Washington. Maybin, signed by the Jets in late September after he was released by the Bills, has quietly been a solid pickup for New York. Maybin's sacks are making an impact — he has five in New York's victories and just one in New York's losses.
FALLING1. Buffalo Bills' defense: Buffalo has lost five consecutive games, and the biggest reason is its inconsistent defense. The Bills can't stop the run or rush the passer.