- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC East went 2-2 in Week 12.
Let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and falling:
1. New York Jets: The Jets have officially hit rock bottom during the Rex Ryan era. New York dropped to 4-7 and was embarrassed on national television during a 49-19 loss to the rival New England Patriots. On Thanksgiving, the Jets were just as much a circus on the field as they are off the field. They looked unprepared, lacked focus, and gave lackluster effort. The Jets will miss the playoffs for the second straight year, and after a 30-point loss, everyone in the organization is on notice.
2. Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills coach: Things are not looking good for Buffalo’s head coach. This was an important third year for Gailey and the most talent he’s had in Buffalo. Still, the Bills are 4-7 and Gailey’s baffling decisions are a big part of the equation. Buffalo lost another close game and was outcoached in the process against the Indianapolis Colts. It also doesn’t make Gailey look good that No. 1 receiver Steve Johnson says the offense is too controlled and that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to handle more of the the play-calling. The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999 and this could be Gailey's third consecutive losing season.
3. Mark Sanchez, Jets quarterback: It’s no secret that the quarterback probably gets too much blame when things go wrong. But there is a lot wrong with the Jets and Sanchez is part of the problem, not the solution. In a must-win game, Sanchez came up way short in a blowout loss to New England. He only led the Jets to three points in the first half and had a big interception and fumble returned for a touchdown. Sanchez padded his numbers in the second half to finish with 301 empty yards. But he couldn’t produce when the Jets needed him.
1. Patriots: New England is hitting its stride at the right time. The Patriots have won five straight and are improving on offense, defense and special teams. The scary thing is New England is currently playing without Pro Bowl tight Rob Gronkowski (forearm), Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins (calf) and Rookie of the Year candidate Chandler Jones (ankle). There are several good teams in the AFC. But the Patriots have to like their chances against anyone. They just need to focus on winning and have the Miami Dolphins (5-6) next week.
2. Mario Williams, Bills defensive end: It looks like Williams has officially turned the corner. Williams had his first three-sack game in more than two years during a 20-13 loss to the Colts. The season looks over for Buffalo (4-7), but Williams can still salvage a respectable first season. After a slow start, Williams has 8.5 sacks.
3. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins quarterback: Tannehill has shown us a lot in his rookie year. But one thing he hadn’t shown until Sunday was his clutch gene and ability to drive Miami down the field for the win in the final minutes. Tannehill was 3-for-5 for 59 yards and had a 15-yard scramble in the final 1:32 to lead Miami to a 24-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks. It was another sign of growth. Tannehill will have his mettle tested next week against the Patriots.