Final Word: AFC East

October, 30, 2009
10/30/09
4:00
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 8:
Jim O'Connor/US Presswire
The Jets will get Jerricho Cotchery back in the lineup at full speed.
The Miami Dolphins' offensive line isn't getting the credit it deserves. Last year, most outside observers didn't notice the high-quality play of quarterback Chad Pennington because Wildcat highlights mesmerized everybody to the point they believed it was Miami's base offense.

This year, Miami's offensive line is being overlooked. All of the talk about the offense focuses on Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, then Chad Henne and probably Ted Ginn. But the five blockers up front -- center Jake Grove, guards Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas and tackles Jake Long and Vernon Carey -- have the Dolphins tied for most rushing touchdowns and ranked fifth at 4.8 yards per carry. Blocking is necessary in the Wildcat, too, folks.

For those who believe rookie Shonn Greene alone will replace Leon Washington in the New York Jets backfield, hold on. Washington was an integral component in the Jets' passing game. Greene, by his own admission, has hands of stone.

Here are some of Rex Ryan's first impressions of Greene from May: "He hits that hole and you say 'Man, that's a big man coming through there.' He runs low. He's a big ol' rascal. They bounce off him. Unfortunately, some of the passes bounce off him. ... It was funny. In the afternoon practice, [Mark] Sanchez throws him a pass, and it just banged off of him, and Mark says 'Sorry, I should have put that on the other shoulder.' And [Greene] responded 'I just don't catch very well.' At least the kid's honest."

The Buffalo Bills look like they're headed to 7-9 a fourth straight year. In the preseason, I predicted the Bills would be a game below .500 again but be a better team than they have been in the past. The first part of that statement might be bearing out, at least.

As awful as they've played on offense, and as terrible as they are at stopping the run, the Bills can enter their bye week with an even record if they beat the Houston Texans in Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills still have winnable games against the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs and could steal another one here or there.

The New England Patriots won't run away with the AFC East. The Patriots went into their bye week atop the division after crushing the Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, victories they hope got their groove back because they're about to encounter their schedule's toughest stretch.

The Patriots' next five games include two of the NFL's elite, the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, and three divisional opponents. The Patriots will play the defending AFC East champs twice and the Jets, who beat them 16-9 in Week 2.

Jerricho Cotchery's return should inject some life into the Jets offense. Because of a hamstring injury, Cotchery hasn't been a true threat since Week 4. That was before the Jets acquired No. 1 wideout Braylon Edwards. They played one game together (the first game versus the Dolphins in Land Shark Stadium), but Cotchery was so gimpy the Jets threw two him only twice. He finished with one catch for 4 yards.

With Cotchery back, the Jets' passing game becomes more complete. We finally should get a decent idea of what the Jets envisioned when they made the Edwards trade. The Dolphins totally removed tight end Dustin Keller from the game three weeks ago, but needing to defend a healthy Cotchery could make him a better option in Sunday's rematch.

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