AFC East: sacks

The AFC East blog continues its series of over/under totals for key players in the division. Next up, we have a highly-paid player for the Buffalo Bills who needs to step up for his team to get over the hump.

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Will Bills DE Mario Williams have over/under 11.5 sacks this year?

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Discuss (Total votes: 4,572)

The over/under total set for Bills star defensive end Mario Williams is 11.5 sacks. Can Williams reach that total in his second season in Buffalo?

Williams fell short of expectations in his first year with the Bills after signing a $100 million contract. He had good sack numbers (10.5) but was inconsistent, injured and disappeared for long stretches. The Bills need their highest-paid player to produce for 16 games in order to contend in the AFC East.

Williams reached double-digit sacks for the third time in his career last season. Can he get surpass 11.5 sacks in 2013?

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on Williams’ over/under sack total. You can also share your thoughts in the comment section below.
The AFC East blog continues its "Show and Prove" series for the division in 2013.

Next up we take a look at Buffalo Bills defensive end Mark Anderson.

2012 stats: 12 tackles, one sack

What he must prove: Anderson must prove that he is worthy of the free-agent contract he received from the Bills in 2012. Anderson, who came off a 10-sack season with the New England Patriots in 2011, signed a four-year, $19.5 million contract with the Bills last year but had an injury-plagued season. He played in just five games due to a knee injury in 2012. This is a make-or-break year for Anderson. If he cannot produce halfway through his four-year contract, the Bills could be forced to go in another direction.

Walker’s 2013 outlook: Anderson was a risky signing from the beginning for Buffalo. His 10-sack season with New England in 2011 had "flash in the pan" written all over it. Anderson only registered eight sacks in his previous four seasons combined. Buffalo needs as many pass-rushers as possible under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. But I am not sure Anderson is the type of player the Bills can consistently rely on this season. Despite his big contract, Anderson is probably best suited as a pass-rusher off the bench and a part-time starter if there are injuries on Buffalo’s defense.
Here are the most interesting stories Thursday in the AFC East: Morning take: The Patriots are banged up at corner. Kyle Arrington (knee) also was limited Wednesday. New England needs as many healthy defensive players as possible for their big game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Morning take: Our AFC East picks will come out later this week. We were 4-0 last week and 34-9 overall. So I expect more success.
  • The New York Jets get a chance to show what they have in prime time against the Tennessee Titans on “Monday Night Football.”
Morning take: The last time the Jets were in prime time, quarterback Mark Sanchez ran into the butt of his own teammate and fumbled.
Morning take: Williams has 10.5 sacks in 13 games. That is solid production, especially considering his slow start.

Final Word: AFC East

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
1:30
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NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 13:

Tom terrific: Even at 35 years old, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is playing some of the best football of his career. The Patriots have won five straight games and Brady put up monster numbers in that stretch, including throwing for 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has had five consecutive games of at least two touchdowns and zero interceptions, which is the second longest streak of his career according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Patriots lead the NFL in total offense and scoring, and Brady is the primary reason. He’s justifiably one of the favorites for the NFL MVP award this season.

[+] EnlargeTom Brady
Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireQuarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots take on the Dolphins in a Week 13 matchup that Miami is desperate to win.
A wild card: New England’s opponent Sunday, the Miami Dolphins, is in the thick of the wild-card race. Miami (5-6) is one game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) and Cincinnati Bengals (6-5). All three teams have tough games. The Steelers are on the road against the Baltimore Ravens (9-2), while the Bengals travel to play the San Diego Chargers (4-7). It’s possible that both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati could lose their road games Sunday, which would open the door for Miami to gain a game. But the Dolphins upsetting the Patriots is a tall task.

No shotgun for Sanchez: New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is having a poor season all around. But it may be wise for the Jets to keep Sanchez out of the shotgun as much as possible in the final five games. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Sanchez has the NFL’s second-lowest completion percentage (56.6) from the shotgun formation. Sanchez also has six interceptions and has been sacked 15 times from the formation. New York is a ground-and-pound team that’s not adept at using multiple wide receivers and airing it out.

Jets need sacks: A lot of the focus has been on the Jets’ struggling offense. However, New York’s defense also has been inconsistent. This was a group expected to finish in the top five in the NFL. But injuries and underachieving have kept New York’s defense back. One big issue has been New York’s inability to pressure the quarterback. The Jets are 30th in the NFL with only 17 sacks. Look for New York to attack the Arizona Cardinals with different blitz looks Sunday. The Cardinals are starting struggling quarterback Ryan Lindley.

Bills could face Babin: The Philadelphia Eagles created national headlines earlier this week when they released Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin. He was claimed 24 hours later by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will travel to Buffalo to face the Bills on Sunday. Babin is expected to make his Jacksonville debut against Buffalo in some capacity this weekend. The irony is Buffalo tried to claim Babin, who was one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers last season. The Jaguars (2-9) are last in the NFL with 13 sacks.

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