Friday, December 9, 2011
Final Word: AFC East
By James Walker
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 14:
Feeding frenzy: No team has been dominated by the AFC East this season more than the Kansas City Chiefs. They are 0-3 against the division and have been outscored an astounding 106-13. The Patriots (34-3), Buffalo Bills (41-7) and Miami Dolphins (31-3) all crushed Kansas City this year. The New York Jets get Kansas City on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are 7-5, fighting for their playoff lives, and could do themselves a favor by completing the AFC East sweep.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has just 208 rushing yards in the Patriots' past six games.
Disappearing running game: One of the things lost in the New England Patriots' four-game winning streak is the sudden disappearance of their running game. New England has dropped to 21st in the league in rushing and hasn't had a 100-yard rusher since Week 5. The Patriots were successful running the football in the first half of the season. Naturally, they rely a lot on quarterback Tom Brady's arm. But it would help if the Patriots found some balance again before the playoffs.
Brady, others chasing Marino: Speaking of Brady, he has 3,916 yards passing and remains on pace to surpass Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards. But Brady is not alone. Both New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (4,031 yards) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (3,844 yards) are on pace to pass Marino. Whoever throws for the most yards this year will own the NFL record by season's end. But the next two quarterbacks could be second and third all-time.
Moore's winning formula: Want to know the biggest ingredient for Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore's success? It's avoiding turnovers. In Moore's four wins as a starter, he's thrown seven touchdowns, one interception and has a 110.1 passer rating. This week the Dolphins play a Philadelphia Eagles team that has plenty of talent but struggles on defense. Philadelphia will have trouble beating Miami if Moore continues to take care of the football.
More Spiller: Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller continues his late-season audition against the San Diego Chargers. The season-ending leg injury to Fred Jackson has given Spiller, a former first-round pick, his first chance to be a full-time starter. Spiller is coming off the best game of his career last week against the Tennessee Titans, when he rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. He could have had more, but the Bills went away from the running game too early. The Titans led throughout but were never too far ahead. Buffalo needs to run well to have a chance for the upset in San Diego. The Chargers have the NFL's 26th-ranked run defense. Spiller has a chance at his first 100-yard game if Buffalo sticks with the run.