AFC East: audibles AFC 12

Audibles: AFC East Week 12 preview

November, 21, 2008
11/21/08
4:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New England Patriots (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (6-4), 1 p.m. ET

  

Here is a classic revenge showdown with first-place implications.

If the underdog New York Jets can't beat the unblemished Tennessee Titans in Nashville, then the winner of the Patriots-Dolphins rematch will be tied for first place in the AFC East. The loser could be tied for last place.

"It's a really huge game this week," Dolphins receiver Greg Camarillo said. "This really is the biggest one for us. It's a division game, a division rival. We're fighting to work our way up to first place.

"It probably will have the feel of a playoff game. We know that we need this victory to move forward in our season, and they feel the same way. It's going to be a 60-minute battle."

When the Patriots have something to prove, that's usually bad news for the opponent. The Dolphins humiliated the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Week 3.

The Dolphins unveiled their entertaining Wildcat offense and won 38-13. The Patriots looked helpless against a team that had won a single game in its past 20 tries.

"This moment has finally come," Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said of the rematch. "We kind of put it to the back burner until this week. Now, it's occurring. So now we have a chance to do something that we didn't do the first game."

Miami has won four straight games, while the Patriots have treaded around .500 since opening the season 2-0.

New York Jets (7-3) at Tennessee Titans (10-0), 1 p.m. ET

  

I could try to break down the matchup, but there's no way I can do it better than ESPN analyst Floyd Reese, the Titans' former general manager.

I spoke with Reese on Friday morning and asked him what he thought. He likes the Jets' chances of being the first team to beat the Titans.

"All of the things the Titans do well, the Jets are a little better," Reese said. "The Titans are good at stopping the run. The Jets are a little better. The Titans really know how to run the ball. Thomas Jones right now is one of the best running backs in the league. The Titans are really good at sacks. I think they have 28. The Jets have 34 sacks.

"In a lot of major categories the Titans excel at, the Jets are as good at them if not better. Even in takeaways. The Titans have 20. The Jets have only one fewer than that."

The Jets have the fourth-ranked run defense, which should neutralize rookie running back Chris Johnson and LenDale White. That means the game might come down to how well the quarterbacks throw it.

Reese pointed out Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles have 48 and 46 receptions, respectively, and rookie tight end Dustin Keller is being integrated as a dangerous weapon. The Titans' leading target, meanwhile, is no-name tight end Bo Scaife with 44 catches. Justin Gage is the top wide receiver with only 21 grabs.

"The biggest area is Brett Favre and his receivers that are much better than Kerry Collins and his receivers," Reese said.

"It will come down to the interceptions Brett throws or does not throw. The Titans' secondary is so good at coming up with loose balls, whether the balls are tipped or badly thrown.

"Bad Brett has a tendency to do that. Even one interception can cost them the game. But if good Brett's in there and uses his receivers, this can be the big upset."

Buffalo Bills (5-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9), 1 p.m. ET

  

How far have the Bills fallen? Heading into Week 7, they were the AFC darlings. Now they're playing in the dog game of Week 12.

Although most Bills fans already have given up on the playoffs because of their team's recent nosedive, the postseason is possible -- albeit remotely -- with six games to play.

A Buffalo loss in Arrowhead Stadium, however, would make any negative assumptions crystal clear and start talk about whether there has been a general regression from 2007.

The Bills and second-year quarterback Trent Edwards are reeling. They've lost four games in a row and five of their past six.

The offensive line is playing poorly. Injuries have decimated the defense, particularly the secondary, because the Bills have lackluster depth.

To post stats on where Buffalo ranks in various team categories compared to Kansas City would be useless. Buffalo's recent play is so ghastly, the 4-0 start and all that propelled it are a distant memory.

The Chiefs do own the worst defense in the NFL, but the Bills on Monday night failed to beat the Cleveland Browns' 26th-ranked defense at home. Now the Bills go on the road with a short week of preparation.

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