Friday, October 7, 2011
Final Word: AFC East
By James Walker
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 5:
Welker visits Revis Island: How do you stop New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker? That's been a huge topic of discussion this week as the Patriots prepare to face the New York Jets. The Jets have a trio of talented corners in Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. Although New York won't reveal its game plan, expect Revis to cover Welker, the NFL's leading receiver, for some or all of this game. The Jets love to put top receivers on "Revis Island." It would make a lot of sense for the Jets to slow down Welker with Revis and see whether other receivers can beat New York's defense. Welker does a lot of damage from the slot. But Revis is good enough to cover all parts of the field.
The Jets will likely try to put Patriots receiver Wes Welker on "Revis Island."
Mangold's impact: Jets coach Rex Ryan says ground-and-pound football is back. It starts Sunday against New England. New York is expected to get Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold back from a high ankle sprain. The Jets' offensive line has been horrendous in the two games Mangold has been out. Mangold should have an impact, even if he's not 100 percent. He won't get an easy assignment. Mangold will have to battle Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork a lot in his first game back.
Big week for Fred Jackson? Buffalo is a pass-first offense. But the Bills also have been able to run the football efficiently in the first month of the season. That might be Buffalo's best chance to beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Eagles are ranked 30th against the run and are allowing 5.3 yards per carry. Bills tailback Jackson is averaging a 5.8 yards per carry. Methodically moving the chains will keep Philadelphia's explosive offense off the field.
Winning third downs: Buffalo's offense has been very good. But third-down conversions were suddenly a problem for the Bills in last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Buffalo was 4-for-14 on third-down conversions. The Bills' offense couldn't stay on the field and mustered only three points in the second half. That helped Cincinnati overcome a 14-point deficit. The Bills have to execute a lot better at home to beat the Eagles.
Dolphins issues: Miami's bye week comes at a good time, because the team has a ton of issues to fix. The biggest is how to get last year's sixth-rated defense back on track. This season Miami's defense, which has many of the same players, has been awful. The group is ranked No. 30, a drop of 24 spots from 2010. The running game also needs to be fixed. Starting running back Reggie Bush hasn't been as effective as the team hoped. Finally, can quarterback Matt Moore do anything to spark the team? Miami is in the dumps after losing four straight. Moore needs to infuse energy into the team when the Dolphins play their next game against the Jets on Oct. 17.