AFC East: Kansas City Chiefs

Live blog: Chiefs at Bills

November, 3, 2013
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Join our ESPN.com NFL experts as they break down the Kansas City Chiefs' visit to the Buffalo Bills. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. And, be sure to visit our NFL Nation Blitz page for commentary from every game, as well as fan photos and the latest buzz from Twitter. See you there.

NFLN says: 3-0 Super Bowl contenders?

September, 25, 2013
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Smith, Cutler & BreesGetty ImagesAlex Smith, Jay Cutler and Drew Brees have led their teams to a 3-0 start.
The danger in getting excited about a 3-0 start is that pesky little thing known as "The Other Thirteen Games." Victories in the first three weeks can lead to a 15-1 season, as they did for the Green Bay Packers in 2011. Or they could mean a 2-11 finish and a fired coaching staff, as the Arizona Cardinals found out last year.

So let's keep our wits as we analyze the seven teams that have started this season 3-0. It has been four years since that many teams were still perfect after three weeks. The 2009 season offers another lesson in early conclusions: One of the seven (the New Orleans Saints) won the Super Bowl but two finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs altogether (the New York Giants and Denver Broncos).

So who is this year's version of the 2009 Saints? Are there any candidates to emulate the 2012 Cardinals? NFL Nation has some thoughts.

If there is anything to glean from the first three weeks of this season, it's the emergence of two early powerhouses. The Seattle Seahawks and the Broncos have outscored opponents by a combined 213-98, and their individual point differentials of 59 and 56, respectively, are by far the best in the NFL. (The next best is the Kansas City Chiefs at 37).

The Seahawks' path to Super Bowl XLVIII seems clear: Clinch home-field advantage at CenturyLink Field, where they have won 10 consecutive games, and book their ticket to New York. The Broncos, meanwhile, have scored the second-most points through three games in NFL history and only figure to improve as defensive stalwarts Von Miller (suspension) and Champ Bailey (injury) return to the lineup.

What about the rest?

Has Andy Reid built an instant Super Bowl contender in Kansas City, or will his Chiefs level off? Has Ryan Tannehill really developed into a championship-caliber quarterback for the Miami Dolphins?

Are the Chicago Bears for real after two fourth-quarterback comebacks followed by two defensive touchdowns in their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers? The New England Patriots are fortunate to be 3-0, right? And has Sean Payton restored the Saints' magic? Let's take the pulse of NFL Nation.

Which 3-0 teams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

The Saints should definitely be considered as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, based on their offensive track record under coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. Not only did they win the Super Bowl in 2009, but their offense was even better in 2011, when they finished 13-3 and set the NFL record for yards gained in a season (7,474). I don't expect an exact repeat this year, but I think that's closer to the norm than last year's 7-9 season.

Especially with tight end Jimmy Graham healthy again and back to being one of the most difficult matchups in the league. Clearly, however, the Saints need to improve a run game that has been practically non-existent to keep defenses honest and keep Brees upright.

Meanwhile, the Saints' young defense has been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this year under new coordinator Rob Ryan. I still expect a few growing pains before the season is over. But they don't need to be dominant for the Saints to succeed. And I think they can continue to come up big in some big moments. Players are clearly responding to Ryan's energetic approach and versatile schemes. And they have some bona fide talent to work with in every unit -- including emerging young pass-rushers Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette. That was the biggest question mark heading into this season. If the defense can keep playing anywhere near this level, the Saints could run away with the NFC South title.

The undefeated Miami Dolphins are arguably the biggest surprise in the NFL.

But can the Dolphins be serious Super Bowl contenders? Let's temper those expectations. The Dolphins absolutely have playoff potential. This is a franchise that hasn't made the postseason since 2008. Ending that streak and having a winning season should be Miami's primary goals.

A 3-0 start is terrific, especially after beating the talented Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons in back-to-back weeks. But the Dolphins certainly have holes.

Depth is an issue in several areas and will be tested. Miami could be without several defensive starters -- defensive end Cameron Wake (knee), defensive tackle Paul Soliai (knee) and cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin) -- against the New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football." The Dolphins also face issues such as pass protection (14 sacks allowed) and having the 28th-ranked rushing attack.

In addition to the undefeated Saints, Miami has tough games against the defending champion Baltimore Ravens (2-1), New England Patriots (3-0) and Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) before the end of October. The Dolphins cannot rest on their early success. They must continue to improve.

The health and production of second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill is the biggest key. However, the Dolphins have a lot to prove over the course of 16 games.

Miami has a perfect record, but it's far from perfect.

Judging strictly from the numbers, the Kansas City Chiefs are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. They are No. 1 in the AFC in scoring defense, No. 2 in the conference in scoring differential and, most importantly, tied for first place with a 3-0 record.

But it's another number, one that will be impossible to sustain, that's feeding the Chiefs' success and threatens to reveal them as pretenders once it begins its inevitable correction.

The Chiefs are leading the league in turnover differential at plus-9. They are one of two NFL teams yet to commit a turnover. That's a statistic capable of making a good team look great as long as it lasts. The trouble is, it never does last, at least not at this rate. Once their turnover differential starts to balance out, here is the advantage the Chiefs will lose:

The Chiefs have started 10 possessions on their opponents' end of the field. Their opponents have started one in Kansas City's territory, and even that drive began at the Chiefs' 49.

Such consistently favorable field position can make life easy for a team, and credit to the Chiefs for enjoying the ride while it lasts.

It won't forever. When it ends, the Chiefs will have to make their own way.

Their defense looks capable of doing that, but their offense needs a boost. When it doesn't get one, the Chiefs will suddenly look mortal.

This 3-0 team is better than the Bears squad from 2012, which started 7-1, and is a legitimate Super Bowl contender for a variety of reasons. The Bears have already scored three defensive touchdowns, but the major difference is the club is getting contributions from both sides of the ball and special teams.

Chicago provided evidence of that with quarterback Jay Cutler engineering back-to-back, come-from-behind victories over Cincinnati and Minnesota to start the season, before coming through in the clutch on the road Sunday, bailing out a struggling defense to clinch a victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bears racked up nine defensive touchdowns last season, which tied for the second most in NFL history. But at this juncture last year, the unit had only one score, yet basically carried the entire team through its impressive first half.

Through the 7-1 start in 2012, skepticism existed because the Bears simply hadn't played good teams. This year, the combined record of the teams first three opponents is 2-7. But don't be fooled, this is a better Bears team.

Cutler is one of the main reasons for that. He's matured. He's accepted the coaching. He's putting in more time to sharpen his craft, while shedding the enigmatic gunslinger persona for a more controlled approach. His protection is better. The front office has surrounded him with more weapons and an offensive-minded coach in Marc Trestman, who is the architect of a system Cutler believes in.

If there has been one constant of Bill Belichick-coached Patriots teams since 2000, it's that they usually get better as the season progresses. Surely, there have been exceptions (2009 comes to mind), but there are no indications this year's team is headed down that path at this point.

The defense has exceeded expectations through three games, although a lingering question is how much of the unit's success is a result of playing weaker competition. Sunday night's game on the road, against the fast-starting Atlanta Falcons, should tell us more about the unit. And while the offense has struggled to find its groove, the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski should provide a boost and with Danny Amendola saying he envisions being 100 percent shortly, big-time reinforcements are on the way.

So if you're judging on the present picture, it's understandable that one would say this team isn't a Super Bowl contender. In a game against the Denver Broncos, right now, you would have to pick the Broncos. But this is about projecting what the Patriots could be, and at this point, there's no reason to think they won't evolve as past Belichick teams have. Many of those clubs have been Super Bowl contenders. 
The Miami Dolphins passed on a left tackle after trading up Thursday night to the No. 3 overall pick. Instead of taking former Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, Miami selected former Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan. Miami filled a need by finding their pass-rushing threat to pair with Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake.

But the Dolphins still need a quality player to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. Will the Dolphins still draft a left tackle or facilitate a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs for veteran Branden Albert?

Miami still has one second-round pick and two third-round picks at its disposal Friday. There is tremendous value still available in these rounds. But many of the top offensive linemen are already off the board.

Albert is a proven commodity, but he could require a second-round pick and a large contract extension. Although a lot can change Friday, Ireland didn’t seem too optimistic after the first round.

“Well, the Kansas City deal I can say is nowhere right now and neither is the [Davone] Bess one,” Ireland said. “Information gets out, but sometimes they’re not what they appear.”

If trade talks fall through and the Dolphins plan to draft a potential starter at left tackle, they must act fast. Scouts Inc. ranks Florida State’s Menelik Watson (89), Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Terron Armstead (85) and Colorado’s David Bakhtiari (72) as the best available offensive tackles. There will be mostly projects available after the second round.
The Miami Dolphins may be coming to the realization that they cannot land a top left tackle with the No. 12 overall pick. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder and Adam Schefter, the Dolphins have re-opened trade talks with the Kansas City Chiefs for veteran tackle Branden Albert.

There is a lot of momentum for this trade to get done in the next 24 hours. The Chiefs hold the No. 1 overall pick and are expected to take one of the top two left tackles: Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher. The third-rated tackle, Lane Johnson, also is expected to go into the top 10 and would not be available to the Dolphins.

It’s no secret that Miami is desperate for a left tackle. Instead of giving up multiple picks to move up, which I did in this week’s blogger mock draft, the Dolphins may feel it’s best to give up a second-round pick for an older, proven left tackle.

Albert, 28, has 71 career starts in five years for Kansas City but has never been to the Pro Bowl. The Dolphins have been very aggressive in free agency. Albert currently has the one-year franchise tag and reportedly wants $8 million or $9 million per season.
The Miami Dolphins appear one step closer to filling their vacant left tackle position. According to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton, the agent for Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert was given permission to talk to the Dolphins about a potential trade.

Albert
Is Albert a good match for the Dolphins? Let’s examine the pros and cons.
  • Pros: Albert’s skills fit in well with Miami. He’s started 71 games the past five years and is a former first-round draft pick. Reportedly, Kansas City was willing to lower its asking price to Miami’s lowest second-round pick, which is No. 54 overall. That has jumpstarted trade discussions between the two one week before the NFL draft. Albert lives in Miami and is very comfortable in the area, which is important. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill also needs a reliable, blindside protector after four-time Pro Bowler Jake Long left Miami in free agency. Kansas City is expected to take a left tackle with the No. 1 overall pick, which makes Albert dispensable. For a low second-round pick, the move makes sense from a football standpoint for the Dolphins. Albert is more proven than any left tackle Miami could get in the draft, especially in the second round.
  • Cons: The Dolphins would lose more than a draft pick in a swap with Kansas City. Albert, who is currently on a one-year franchise tag, is seeking long-term security and wants a big contract extension. Miami entered the offseason with more than $40 million worth of cap room. But sizable contracts for free agents Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler and Brian Hartline lowered that number significantly. Albert would be another big contract to add to Miami’s list during this busy offseason. The Dolphins’ cap will be tied up even further for the next few years with this 2013 free-agent crop. Is it worth losing a draft pick and paying a large extension to fill the offensive tackle position? We are about to find out in the next week.

Overall, this is a tricky decision for the Dolphins. Some may feel Miami would be better off drafting a younger left tackle (Lane Johnson?) who will be more affordable. Others may opt for the sure thing in Albert, even if it impacts Miami’s salary cap for the next few years. This is one of the toughest decisions Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland will make this offseason.
As the Miami Dolphins continue their search for a starting offensive tackle, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports a new development out of Kansas City.

The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly seeking a second-round pick in this year’s draft and an additional pick in 2014 for starting left tackle Branden Albert, according to Schefter. Albert was recently given the franchise tag by the Chiefs, but they are also the favorites for Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel with the No. 1 overall pick. So Kansas City is looking to move Albert.

But is the asking price too much for Miami?

The Dolphins have the draft capital and cap space to work out a trade with Kansas City. Miami is looking for a replacement at left tackle for former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long, who signed with the St. Louis Rams. However, Albert would be costly.

Not only would Miami have to trade a second-round pick and an additional pick next season, Albert is looking for a sizable, multi-year extension. The Dolphins just handed out big contracts to receiver Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe in free agency. A third to Albert would further tighten Miami's salary cap for the next 2-3 years.

The Dolphins have more cost-effective options currently on the free-agent market, such as offensive tackles Eric Winston and Sebastian Vollmer. Both play primarily on the right side. That means Dolphins 2012 second-round pick Jonathan Martin would be a candidate to move to left tackle. But with this option, the Dolphins would keep their two draft picks and sign a starting offensive tackle at a more affordable rate.

Miami general manager Jeff Ireland has been free spending this offseason. But at some point the Dolphins need to pull back and tighten their pocketbooks. Albert is a good player, but the compensation and ensuing contract extension may be too costly for Miami.
The Miami Dolphins quickly went to work this week to find a replacement for four-time Pro Bowler Jake Long. One day after re-signing versatile backup offensive tackle Nate Garner, Miami is meeting with unrestricted free agent Eric Winston, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Winston would be a good fit in Miami for several reasons. He's a former University of Miami alum and knows the area well. Winston also is very durable. He has 103 career starts and has not missed a game in six seasons. Winston played in all 16 games last year for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The biggest question: Can Winston play left tackle? He's played most of his career at right tackle, and asking Winston to switch to the left side full time might be asking too much.

Miami's 2012 second-round pick, Jonathan Martin, is currently the favorite to replace Long on the left side. If Winston is signed, perhaps Martin and Winston would have to compete at left tackle in training camp, with the loser getting the right side.

Schefter also reports the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are interested in Winston.
The Miami Dolphins' already-thin cornerback position took another hit on Thursday. The Kansas City Chiefs signed former Dolphins corner Sean Smith to a three-year contract, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Like the Dolphins, Kansas City has been very aggressive in free agency. The Chiefs signed various free agents the past three days, including two former Dolphins in Smith and tight end Anthony Fasano. Both were former starters in Miami, and the Dolphins need to plug both holes in the starting lineup.

Miami’s pass defense was suspect last year even with Smith in the lineup. The Dolphins ranked 27th against the pass last season. Smith was the most talented of the group but he's also inconsistent at times. Still, Smith has the ideal height, size and athleticism for the position. Miami would have liked to keep Smith but only at a team-friendly rate. That’s why it’s no surprise another team swooped in and signed Smith in free agency.

The Dolphins' top remaining cornerbacks on the roster include Richard Marshall and Dimitri Patterson. Both have starting experience but neither is a shutdown corners . Miami needs to dig deep in the draft and/or free agency to shore up its pass defense.

The Miami Dolphins appear just a day away from landing their most coveted free agent. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the "league-wide expectation" is that Miami will sign former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace when free agency begins on Tuesday.

Miami has been the favorite to land Wallace all along. The Dolphins have the cap room and are in desperate need for a No. 1 receiver and a deep threat. Wallace fills those roles.

Most expect Wallace's contract to be in the range of $11-$12 million per season. That’s a lot of coin, but it’s also the price of doing business with quality wide receivers. Dwayne Bowe recently signed a five-year, $56 million contract to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs. That is the bar Miami and Wallace are currently working with.

Is Wallace a lock for Miami? You can never be 100 percent sure with free agency until pen hits the paper. However, Miami signing the top receiver on the open market appears to be one of the safer bets this offseason.

Will Geno Smith fall to Bills or Jets?

February, 27, 2013
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The San Francisco 49ers dropped a huge domino Wednesday when they agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round pick and future pick in 2014. This takes the Chiefs, who hold the No. 1 overall pick, out of the quarterback market for April's NFL draft.

Kansas City was one of the teams often linked to West Virginia's Geno Smith. Now that is no longer the case, it opens the door for the top-rated quarterback prospect to fall down the draft board.

Could Smith fall to the Buffalo Bills at No. 8 or New York Jets at No. 9? Both AFC East teams are desperate for quarterbacks and would be intrigued with a chance to draft the West Virginia product.

No team in the top five has a strong need for a quarterback. The Chiefs, Jaguars, Raiders, Eagles and Lions all have starting options.

Once the draft gets to the sixth pick, that's when things get tricky. The Cleveland Browns could be in the market for a quarterback. Yes, Cleveland drafted Brandon Weeden in the first round last year. But Weeden, who turns 30 in October, had an uneven rookie season and was the pick of a previous regime. The Browns are under new leadership and may want to choose their own franchise quarterback.

The Arizona Cardinals are desperate for someone who can throw the football. Kevin Kolb was a often-injured disaster and the Cardinals need anyone who can get receiver Larry Fitzgerald the football.

If Smith makes it past Cleveland and Arizona, he could land in the AFC East. The Bills, at No. 8, need a long-term solution to replace the inconsistent Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets hold the No. 9 pick and will add competition to embattled quarterback Mark Sanchez.

I'm not convinced any quarterback in this year's draft is worthy of a top-10 pick. But if Smith falls to the bottom of the top 10, the Bills and Jets should at least consider the possibility.

Bowe to Miami would have risks, rewards

October, 18, 2012
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Trade rumors are swirling that the Miami Dolphins might be interested in Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe. Keep in mind this is only speculation. Nothing official is coming from the Chiefs or the Dolphins, who are on a bye week. But now that we got that disclaimer out of the way, let’s explore the possibilities of Bowe to Miami. It would be a high-risk, high-reward move for the Dolphins.

Here are pros and cons of a potential trade for Miami:
  • Pros: The Dolphins need a true, No. 1 receiver to take their passing game to the next level. Bowe has proven over his career that he can put up good numbers, despite inconsistent quarterback play in Kansas City. Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has done a great job developing with the thin group of receivers he has. A big, athletic target like Bowe would speed up Tannehill's learning curve even more. The trio of Bowe, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess in the slot could be formidable. The AFC East is wide open with four teams, including Miami (3-3), in a tie for first place. This is a good time for the Dolphins to make a move and push for the playoffs. The Dolphins have plenty of draft capital to trade, including five picks in the first three rounds. Bowe is a Miami native who reportedly wants out of Kansas City.
  • Cons: Bowe is playing on a one-year franchise tag, and there is no guarantee that he would stay with the Dolphins for the long term. The Dolphins have about a half-dozen pending free agents who are important to the team. Players like left tackle Jake Long, tailback Reggie Bush, cornerback Sean Smith, defensive tackle Randy Starks and Hartline all will seek raises and contract extensions this offseason. Trading for Bowe would add his name to the list. Miami can’t keep everyone and may be trading away the future to rent Bowe for 10 games. Bowe also comes with baggage. He was suspended for four games in 2009 for taking a banned weight-loss supplement. Bowe also has been in and out of the doghouse various times in Kansas City and wants a big payday. The Dolphins just traded troubled receiver Brandon Marshall. They also cut Chad Johnson after he got in trouble this summer. Can Miami take in another troubled but talented receiver?

That is the good and the bad of Miami going after Bowe. The Dolphins have to make a decision before the Oct. 30 trade deadline if they’re interested.

Should Miami make this move?

Dolphins have tradable assets

October, 10, 2012
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The Green Bay Packers are in the market for a running back. The Kansas City Chiefs might need a veteran quarterback.

Could either team call the Miami Dolphins?

The Dolphins aren't deep at many positions. But they do have tradable assets at two positions on offense. Teams like Green Bay and Kansas City could be potential dance partners before the Oct. 30 trade deadline.

Miami has depth to spare at running back, where Reggie Bush is the unquestioned starter ahead of Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller. The team also has veteran quarterback Matt Moore, who went 6-3 in his final nine games last season, behind rookie first-round pick Ryan Tannehill.

If I'm general manager Jeff Ireland, I would shop both Thomas and Moore to prospective teams to see what kind of value the Dolphins could get in return. Trading one or both wouldn't affect the Dolphins' roster all that much. Thomas is inconsistent at times and Miller could do well with increased reps. Moore is in the final year of his contract and probably won't return now that Tannehill has taken over.

For example, if Miami can get a quality cornerback or draft pick in return for Moore and Thomas, that would be ideal. The Dolphins have a chance to improve their present or future roster by trading either of these players.

Morning take: Aaron Hernandez update

September, 17, 2012
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Here are the most interesting stories Monday in the AFC East:
  • New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was seen on crutches and in a boot after the team's loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Morning take: It's easy to see why the Patriots signed Hernandez to a contract extension. The offense looks ordinary without their vaunted two-tight end combination of Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. The boot is not a good sign. I wouldn't be surprised if Hernandez misses Sunday's huge game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Morning take: You almost forget about Hartline because he was injured during training camp and the preseason. But his nine receptions for 111 yards were big for the confidence of rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
  • New York Jets receiver Santonio Holmes says the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary did not give the Jets problems.
Morning take: Pittsburgh was much more physical than Buffalo in Week 1, and that seemed to throw off New York’s timing. It also didn’t help that Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez went cold the entire second half.
  • Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus thanked the Buffalo Bills and the fans for rallying around him after the passing of his brother.
Morning take: Football can be a respite for some players during a tough time. Dareus grieved the passing of his brother and decided to play in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded two tackles and a sack.

Wrap-up: Bills 35, Chiefs 17

September, 16, 2012
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Here are some thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 35-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs:

What it means: It means the Bills won a key game to get to .500. There are high expectations for this Buffalo team, which could not afford to fall to 0-2. The Bills took care of business against a Chiefs team they match up very well against. Buffalo jumped out to a 35-3 lead and cruised the rest of the way.

What I liked: C.J. Spiller finished Week 1 as the NFL’s leading rusher. He continued his hot streak with another stellar outing against Kansas City. Spiller rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 47 yards. Spiller is a dynamic weapon getting his opportunity to start now that Fred Jackson is out with a knee injury. But Spiller is making a strong case to be the permanent starter. The 2010 first-round draft pick produced the third multi-touchdown game of his career.

What I didn’t like: There wasn't much not to like in this game from Buffalo’s perspective. The Bills pounded the Chiefs for the second straight meeting. Perhaps the two touchdowns Buffalo allowed in garbage time weren't ideal. But that’s being nitpicky. It was a good, all-around performance by the Bills.

What’s next: The Bills have a chance to win two in a row next week when they travel to play the Cleveland Browns (0-2). Buffalo cannot have a letdown against a bad team like Cleveland. The Bills have to win these kind of road games to pad their record and stay in the postseason hunt.

Final Word: AFC East

September, 14, 2012
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NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Here are five nuggets of knowledge about Week 2:

Fight for legitimacy: The New York Jets silenced some -- but not all -- of their critics with a convincing 48-28 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. But the Bills are a team the Jets have owned the past several years. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be a much stiffer test for New York in Week 2. The Jets have a chance to show they are for real if they can go into Pittsburgh and get a win at Heinz Field. A 2-0 start with wins over Buffalo and Pittsburgh would make the Jets legitimate contenders for a wild-card spot in the AFC.

[+] EnlargeMario Williams
Kellen Micah/Icon SMI Mario Williams had a very quiet Bills debut, recording just one tackle.
Super Mario must produce: Bills defensive end Mario Williams was correct in his assertion that unknown Jets tackle Austin Howard illegally used hands to the face in Week 1. However, there is no more time for excuses. This is a big-game opportunity for Williams to bounce back at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills signed Williams to a franchise-record $100 million contract this offseason. With that comes the pressure to produce on a weekly basis. He registered just one tackle against the Jets, and the Bills certainly need more from him.

Impact of Wildcat: The much-anticipated debut of the Jets' Wildcat package with Tim Tebow was a dud in Week 1. Tebow rushed for just 11 yards on five carries in the win over Buffalo. However, Tebow had much more success using a similar read-option offense last year in a playoff win over the Steelers, who host the Jets on Sunday. Tebow rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in the Denver Broncos’ 29-23 playoff win over the Steelers. Tebow also threw for 316 yards in that game, against last year’s No. 1 defense. Pittsburgh clearly had issues defending Tebow. So the Jets must find the right balance to get Tebow on the field while not hurting starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Dangers of falling to 0-2: If the Bills and Miami Dolphins aim to make the playoffs, it would be in their best interest not to lose Sunday. Since 1990, teams that start 0-2 have made the postseason only 12 percent of the time, according to ESPN Stats & Information. A win and 1-1 record would increase their chances to 41 percent. Buffalo entered the year with playoff aspirations and an improved roster. Miami is rebuilding this season and will host the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium.

Brady Bunch: Do the Arizona Cardinals have a chance at pulling off an upset over the New England Patriots? Based on the numbers, it doesn’t look good. New England quarterback Tom Brady is an amazing 35-1 in his previous 36 home starts, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Brady also is 10-0 in home openers. The Patriots, with Brady, know how to get off to fast starts at home and will be heavy favorites against the Cardinals, who will start Kevin Kolb at quarterback.

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