AFC East: NFC East

AFC East, NFC East tie season series

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
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It was a surprisingly down season for both the AFC East and NFC East in 2011. Both most likely will have just one team represent each division in the postseason.

That’s also why it was no surprise that the AFC East and NFC East finished with an even 8-8 record against one another this year. Here is how the division battles played out:

New England Patriots (12-3)

Record vs. NFC East: 3-1

Wins: Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia

Losses: Giants

New York Jets (8-7)

Record vs. NFC East: 2-2

Wins: Dallas, Washington

Losses: Philadelphia, Giants

Buffalo Bills (6-9)

Record vs. NFC East: 2-2

Wins: Philadelphia, Washington

Losses: Dallas, Giants

Miami Dolphins (5-10)

Record vs. NFC East: 1-3

Wins: Washington

Losses: Dallas, Giants, Philadelphia
Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Nor should he be. Fitzpatrick's $59 million extension virtually guarantees he will be Buffalo's quarterback for at least two seasons. But Fitzpatrick, as the face of the franchise, needs to play much more consistently next season.
  • New England Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco said it was "cool" to finally catch a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady.
Morning take: The Brady-to-Ocho connection has been a disappointment this season. But that doesn’t mean the pair can’t get more production down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Morning take: Miami is 5-2 in its last seven games and could give the Patriots a scare. But I don’t think the Dolphins have the explosiveness to keep up with New England on the road.
  • Coach Rex Ryan says if the New York Jets lose to the Giants and don't make the playoffs, he accepts the blame.
Morning take: That’s noble of Ryan, but I can think of plenty of reasons the Jets are in this situation. Ryan could have toned down the talk a bit, but he’s not the biggest reason the Jets are down to their last strike.

Morning take: Sanchez or Eli Manning?

November, 25, 2011
11/25/11
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Here are the most interesting stories Friday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Manning has the Super Bowl and the numbers so that gives him the edge. Sanchez still has a lot of room to grow and a lot to prove.
Morning take: After losing star tailback Fred Jackson, Buffalo needs as many offensive weapons as possible. Johnson and Nelson are the team’s top two receivers and will play big roles against the Jets on Sunday.
Morning take: The Dolphins weren’t expected to win the game, so give them credit for making it competitive. But shaky play down the stretch caused Miami to blow two fourth-quarter leads.
Morning take: The Eagles are desperate and dangerous because they are as talented as any team in the NFL. This will probably be New England’s stiffest test remaining in the regular season.

Wrap-up: Dolphins 20, Redskins 9

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
4:01
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Here are some thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 20-9 victory against the Washington Redskins:

What it means: After an awful 0-7 start, the Dolphins have won two straight. The victory against the Redskins also was Miami's first home win at Sun Life Stadium this season. The Dolphins are playing hard in the second half of the season under embattled head coach Tony Sparano, who continues to audition for his job beyond this season.

What I liked: Miami running back Reggie Bush continues to have his best stretch of the season. Bush didn't register a lot of yards. But he scored both of Miami's touchdowns on the ground, including a fourth-quarter score with 6:17 remaining to seal the game. The Dolphins' defense also took advantage of Washington's rotating door at quarterback. Former Dolphins quarterback John Beck didn't play in his return to Miami. He was benched Sunday in favor of Rex Grossman, who struggled and threw two costly interceptions for Washington.

What I didn't like: There's not much to complain about with Miami's performance. But if I had to nitpick, Miami starting quarterback Matt Moore didn't play as well as last week. He had two key turnovers in the first half (one interception, one fumble) that kept Washington in the game until the fourth quarter. Moore finished with 209 yards and two turnovers. He needs to be more consistent in taking care of the football.

What's next: The Dolphins (2-7) will host the Buffalo Bills (5-4) in their first of two meetings this season. With Buffalo struggling and Miami playing its best football of the season, it could be anyone's game next week at Sun Life Stadium.

AccuScore predicts Pats to bounce back

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
4:30
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Many AFC East blog readers scoffed at AccuScore last week after predicting the New England Patriots would lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It turns out AccuScore was on the money.

This week, AccuScore likes the Patriots to bounce back pretty convincingly. After running 10,000 computer simulations, New England (5-2) came out on top 72 percent of the time at home against the New York Giants (5-2).

It's a big game for New England. With a New York Jets (4-3) win over the Buffalo Bills (5-2) this weekend, the Patriots would be back in first place in the AFC East.

Patriots' defense catches a 'break'

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
12:42
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The New England Patriots might have a caught a break, via some unfortunate injury news regarding New York Giants tailback Ahmad Bradshaw.

Mike Garafolo of the Neward Star-Ledger reports Bradshaw suffered a cracked bone in his foot and will be out indefinitely. This severely hurts New York's running game. Brandon Jacobs most likely will start Sunday against the Patriots and has been disgruntled and unproductive this season.

New England (5-2) is coming off another poor defensive performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots rank last in the NFL in yards allowed.

Bradshaw's injury should make New York's offense less balanced and easier to defend. The Patriots need all the help they can get defensively.
No team roots for injuries. But the impact of players getting hurt in the NFL is undeniable.

With that said, the Buffalo Bills (4-2) will host a banged-up Washington Redskins (3-3) team missing several key players Sunday. Redskins leading rusher Tim Hightower and second-leading receiver Santana Moss will both sit out against Buffalo.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Hightower has a torn ACL and will be out for the year. Moss broke a bone in his hand Sunday against Carolina and will miss 5-7 weeks.

Washington's offensive line also is hurting. ESPN.com's NFC East blogger Dan Graziano has the full rundown of Washington's various injuries.

Buffalo, coming off its bye, had two weeks to get healthy and is trying to rebound from a tough loss to the New York Giants. The Bills have a tough stretch of games upcoming. They could do themselves a big favor if they take advantage of a depleted Washington team and improve to 5-2.

Poll: AFC East No. 1?

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
5:35
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The NFL Power Rankings are in. The AFC East did well with two teams in the top three and a 6-2 record overall.

In our latest SportsNation poll, we ask is the AFC East the best division in football through two weeks? It has three undefeated teams (New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills) rated in the top 16 of ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

The NFC North also is off to a good start. The division is 5-3 and has the No. 1 team in the defending champion Green Bay Packers. The NFC East also is deep with zero winless teams.

The AFC North has two clubs -- the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers -- in the top 10. The AFC South also has the Houston Texans in the top five. Should either be considered the best division in football?

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on whether the AFC East or another division is the NFL's best after two weeks. You also can share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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