Final Word: AFC East

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 6:

Dolphins face Jeff Fisher: The Miami Dolphins were very close to landing Jeff Fisher as their next head coach. Upon returning to the NFL, Fisher narrowed his choices to the Dolphins and St. Louis Rams. Fisher eventually picked the Rams, and now his team will travel to Miami to face the Dolphins for the first time. This is a chance for Miami (2-3) and rookie head coach Joe Philbin to beat Fisher, who believed St. Louis (3-2) was a better job. Fisher said the Dolphins made the right choice in Philbin, who is proving to be solid in his first five games.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
Andrew Weber/US PresswireDolphins QB Ryan Tannehill will need plenty of protection at the line in Miami's game vs. St. Louis.
Protecting Tannehill: The Rams are coming off a season-high nine sacks last week in a win over the Arizona Cardinals. Pass protection will be important for the Dolphins if they are to hold off the Rams. Miami rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill continues to improve and has been sacked nine times all season. The Rams will bring a lot of pressure, and Miami's offensive line needs to hold up. Tannehill has been prone to rookie mistakes under pressure. He has six interceptions in five games.

Little guy, big target: New England Patriots Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker jabbed head coach Bill Belichick this week after catching a season-high 13 receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. Welker was not a big part of the offense at the start of the season, but his targets have skyrocketed in the last few weeks. He has been targeted 36 times in the last three games. That has put his total targets up to 50 for the season, which is tied with Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline for seventh in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The injury to Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez contributed to Welker's becoming a big part of New England's offense again. But Welker has stepped up when his number has been called.

Jets grounded and pounded: The New York Jets have scored only one touchdown in the last eight quarters. It’s hard for New York to win with that kind of production from the offense and quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets aren't clicking on the ground or through the air. New York is ranked 28th in total offense and averaging just 12.5 points in its last four games. The good news is that starting tight end Dustin Keller and rookie receiver Stephen Hill are both expected to return from hamstring injuries in Sunday's matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.

Fitzpatrick's missing deep ball: The Buffalo Bills' offense is getting very predictable and easy to defend, in part because quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is struggling with the deep ball. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Fitzpatrick is one of the NFL's worst deep-ball passers. He is just 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) on passes more than 20 yards, which ranks 27th in the league. Three of Fitzpatrick's interceptions have also come attempting to throw the deep ball. He passed for a season-low 126 yards in last week's 45-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. If opponents do not respect the deep pass, it is difficult to get the passing game going underneath.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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