AFC East Week 12 X factors

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
10:00
AM ET
Week 12 continues with a pair of weekend games involving three AFC East teams.

Here are some potential X factors to watch:

New York Jets (5-5)

Opponent: vs. Bills

X factor: CB Antonio Cromartie

Analysis: It's been a while since Cromartie has made a huge play. New York's No. 2 cornerback hasn't had an interception since Oct. 9. Buffalo will throw the ball a lot. Chance are, the Bills won't do a lot of passing in the direction of Jets top cornerback Darrelle Revis. That means Cromartie should have plenty of opportunities to make an impact. The Jets could use a big play or two from "Cro" in this must-win game.

Buffalo Bills (5-5)

Opponent: at Jets

X factor: C.J. Spiller

Analysis: This one is obvious. Spiller is making his first start of the season at running back in place of the injured Fred Jackson (leg), who is out for the season. We haven't seen enough of Spiller to know how he will fare as the team's workhorse. Spiller has just 398 rushing yards in two seasons. Can he handle 25-plus carries a game? Can Spiller be physical against a talented Jets defense? We are about to find out.

New England Patriots (7-3)

Opponent: at Eagles

X factor: OT Nate Solder

Analysis: I like what the Patriots are doing with Solder, who converted from tight end to offensive tackle in college. New England head coach Bill Belichick added a wrinkle to use Solder as the third tackle to help with the running game and pass protection. Solder has done a good job pummeling outside linebackers and defensive backs on the perimeter. He will be an underrated key against the Philadelphia Eagles' defense.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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