Wednesday, November 24, 2010
How I See It: AFC East Stock Watch
By Tim Graham
1. Dolphins offensive line: Once the Dolphins' pride and joy, their O-line hasn't held up lately. They were forced to move guard Richie Incognito to center against Chicago last week, when backup center Cory Procter suffered a season-ending knee injury. A shoulder injury to Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long has weakened the unit further. The Dolphins averaged 3.0 yards a rush against the Bears, a lackluster pass-rushing team that also sacked Tyler Thigpen six times.
2. Dustin Keller, Jets tight end: Through the first four games, Keller averaged 4.8 receptions, 63.5 yards and 1.3 touchdowns. Since then -- and perhaps because Santonio Holmes returned from his suspension -- Keller has averaged 2.7 receptions, 37.5 yards and 0.0 touchdowns. In Sunday's victory over the Texans, Mark Sanchez targeted Keller six times, but they connected just twice for a season-low 7 yards.
3. Jairus Byrd, Bills safety: As a rookie last year, Byrd was selected for the Pro Bowl and tied for the league lead with nine interceptions in 14 games. Byrd's follow-up season has been empty so far. He has zero interceptions and just one pass defensed. He has no sacks or forced fumbles, and he never has been known for his run support.
The Jets' comeback Sunday against Houston is another example of why this is a team to watch down the stretch.
1. Jets' feeling of invincibility: There's not much in sports that stuns me anymore. I was able to assemble coherent thoughts after I watched Mike Tyson bite off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear. Any singular event can be explained as a wild occurrence or merely happenstance. But what the Jets did to the Texans on Sunday astonished me for the sheer absurdity of this hot streak Rex Ryan's team is on. In Week 10 they became the first team in NFL history to win back-to-back overtime road games, and then they went 72 yards in 45 seconds with no timeouts to score the winning touchdown against the Texans.
2. Buffalo's dynamic offense: The Bills scored 49 points -- five touchdowns in the second half -- in a rollicking comeback road victory over the Bengals. So many players are surging that I couldn't pick just one. Steve Johnson caught a career-high three touchdowns. Ryan Fitzpatrick tied a career-high with four TD passes. Fred Jackson posted consecutive 100-yard rushing games for the first time. Undrafted rookie receiver Donald Jones scored his first NFL touchdown.
3. Danny Woodhead, Patriots running back: If ever the Jets need to be reminded they're not infallible, they just need to check what Woodhead is doing for the Patriots. The Jets didn't have a spot on their 53-man roster for him. Yet he has scored a touchdown in half of his eight games for the Patriots. Woodhead scored on a spectacular 36-yard run in Sunday's victory over the Colts and then made the tackle on the ensuing kickoff. He finished with seven carries for a career-high 69 yards and had four catches for 21 yards.