AFC East: 2013 Week 8 QB Watch

QB Watch: Jets' Geno Smith

October, 30, 2013
10/30/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the New York Jets' quarterback position:

Smith
Rewind: Geno Smith can be mentioned in the same sentence as Peyton Manning, but this isn't the kind of sentence the rookie wants to be in. Smith became the first quarterback since Manning, in 2010, to throw three pick-sixes in a two-game span. He was intercepted twice by the Cincinnati Bengals, both of which were returned for touchdowns. The same thing happened to him once the previous week against the New England Patriots. Continuing his up-and-down pattern, Smith struggled in Cincinnati, completing 20 of 30 passes for only 159 yards in the 49-9 loss.

Fast-forward: Smith faces the New Orleans Saints (6-1), who have improved considerably under new coordinator Rob Ryan, Rex's twin brother. The Saints are tough on quarterbacks, having limited opponents to a 76.3 passer rating, the fifth-lowest in the league. Teams like to throw deep on the Saints (9.17 air yards per attempt, the fifth-highest in the NFL), and that happens to be Smith's specialty. Maybe there's hope.

A reflection of their quarterback: Everybody knows quarterback play is vital in the NFL, and it's especially true with the Jets. Smith has a plus-3 touchdown/interception differential in the team's four wins, and a minus-8 differential in its four losses. So there you go.

Prediction: Smith has demonstrated the ability to bounce back from bad games, but this will be a challenge. The Saints are playing great defense, having allowed only 13 touchdowns in seven games. They sack the quarterback and they force turnovers. It could be another long day for Smith.

QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill

October, 30, 2013
10/30/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback play.

Tannehill
Rewind: Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill continues to be turnover-prone. He threw two interceptions and lost a key fumble in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the New England Patriots. Tannehill now has 10 turnovers during Miami’s four-game losing streak. He is clearly suffering through a sophomore slump in his second season.

Fast-forward: Things do not get easier for Tannehill and Miami’s offense. The Dolphins will host the first-place Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) on Thursday, which is Halloween night. Cincinnati has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. But the Bengals have a particularly aggressive and talented defense that poses a lot of problems. Cincinnati rattled and confused New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith this past Sunday during a 49-9 blowout.

Losing targets: Tannehill lost one of his favorite receivers in Sunday’s defeat to New England. Slot receiver Brandon Gibson will be out for the season with a knee injury. Gibson was a reliable target for Tannehill over the middle of the field and recorded 30 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Tannehill has now lost two safety valves for the year due to knee injuries: Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller.

Prediction: Cincinnati is coming into this game with a lot of momentum. The Bengals are on a four-game winning streak, and the Dolphins are on a four-game losing streak. These are two teams heading in opposite directions. It will take a big performance from Tannehill to change that. Although it is possible, Tannehill is on a bad turnover streak and could continue that against a good Cincinnati defense.

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