- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let's take a look at whose AFC East stock is rising and falling in Week 5:
1. Buffalo Bills: I don’t know what got into the Bills. But this team has been in a major funk the past two weeks. The Bills have gone from 2-1 to 2-3 after back-to-back blowouts to the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. Buffalo lost those two games by an average of 33 points per game. The offense isn’t working and neither is the defense. Bills head coach Chan Gailey has publicly challenged his team’s toughness and questioned their psyche. Will Buffalo respond? The Bills have another tough game Sunday at the Arizona Cardinals (4-1), who have 10 days to prepare.
2. New York Jets’ offense: The Jets didn’t embarrass themselves, but the offense continues to be a group lacking talent and continuity. The Jets offense scored just 10 points in a loss to the Houston Texans. New York was shutout the week before against the 49ers. But you can’t pin this loss on quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets had dropped passes, no running game and poor pass protection. It would be hard for any quarterback to operate under those circumstances. There is no easy fix.
3. Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter: This is not as much as indication of Sunday’s performance as it is for the past few weeks. Carpenter has missed a field goal in three straight games. This is odd for a player who usually is very consistent. Carpenter missed a 53-yard attempt in a win over the Bengals on Sunday. Again, there’s no shame in that. But his four missed kicks the past three games reduce his stock.
1. Patriots’ no-huddle offense: New England is playing at a lightning-quick pace. The result is 83 points in the past two games. The Patriots are a well-conditioned and well-coached team with the rare ability to play as much no-huddle offense as they please. The pace makes it hard for an opponent's defense to keep up. New England’s improved running game and three-headed monster of Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead is a problem.
2. Dolphins defense: Miami’s front seven on defense is legit and the secondary is improving. That makes the Dolphins very tough to play against. Miami has frustrated opponents in the past month. It has resulted in two wins and two overtime losses. The Dolphins are playing consistent football in large part to their defense setting the tone.
3. Antonio Cromartie, Jets cornerback: With Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis out for the season with a knee injury, someone on defense has to step up. Cromartie stepped forward in the loss to Houston. The Jets played Cromartie on Texans receiver Andre Johnson for much of the game. Johnson only recorded one reception for 15 yards. Cromartie also recorded an interception playing tight coverage on Johnson. If the Jets’ corner can continue to play at this level, the defense has a chance be solid this season.
3dField Yates and Rich Cimini