Spiller time: If the Buffalo Bills have any chance of pulling off a monumental upset of the New England Patriots, the Bills must get C.J. Spiller involved. Spiller is Buffalo’s most dynamic player but doesn’t get enough touches. He leads the NFL with 7.2 yards per attempt but had only six carries in last week’s loss to the Houston Texans. Spiller is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the football. New England’s defense must account for him.
Several injured Patriots, including Wes Welker, were helped by the bye week.
Healthy returns: The bye week helped the Patriots with several injuries. Receiver Wes Welker (ankle) and cornerback Kyle Arrington (head) were injured in a win against the St. Louis Rams. Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins (hip) and tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle) didn’t play in the game. The time off should help the Patriots get back most of these key players Sunday against Buffalo.
New and improved Tebow: The New York Jets said that during the bye week, they would figure out how to get backup quarterback Tim Tebow more involved in the offense. New York (3-5) plans to unleash more Tebow in a tough road game against the Seattle Seahawks. Tebow was mostly a dud in the first eight games. He hasn’t done much on offense but successfully converted on several fake punts on special teams. On Sunday we will see what the Jets came up with.
Rookie vs. Rex: Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a longtime defensive coordinator who has made a habit of battering rookie quarterbacks. Look no further than Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who lost his first meeting against the Jets and was knocked out of the second game in the first quarter. Ryan’s defense gets another rookie this weekend in Seattle’s Russell Wilson. Expect plenty of blitzes and exotic looks to confuse and get in the face of Wilson, who has won five games this season. The Jets’ best chance to pull the upset is to stop the run and bring the kitchen sink at Wilson to see whether he can beat New York with his arm.
Quick turnaround: The Dolphins (4-4) have an important two-game stretch that could determine their season. Miami hosts the Tennessee Titans on Sunday and travels to play Buffalo on Thursday. The Dolphins have a chance to take two winnable games in five days. The Dolphins could quickly be 6-4 if they take care of business. Miami also could be 4-6 if it loses focus.