Final Word: AFC East

November, 16, 2012
11/16/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Here are five nuggets of knowledge about Week 11:

Hot playoff contenders: Sunday’s matchup between the New England Patriots (6-3) and Indianapolis Colts (6-3) could be a playoff preview. If the season ended today, both teams would be in. The Patriots would be the AFC East champions with a home playoff game and the Colts would be a road wild card. The Patriots and Colts are hitting their stride at the right time. Indianapolis is on a four-game winning streak and New England has won three in a row. One of these streaks has to end at Gillette Stadium.

[+] EnlargeRob Gronkowski
Christopher LeeGetty ImagesRob Gronkowski has scored five touchdowns in his past three games.
‘Gronk’ more involved: Patriots Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski set the NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end last year. But he got off to a slow start this season. Gronkowski appears to be finally hitting his stride and has five touchdowns in the past two games. He is Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's favorite option in the red zone and is looking to extend his touchdown streak to four games.

Are the Jets focused? Do the New York Jets realize they have a game this weekend? It’s hard to tell considering how much the zany Jets have focused on backup quarterback Tim Tebow this week. There have been anonymous quotes, Tebow’s response of “sadness” and coach Rex Ryan’s ire. Tebow has dominated the headlines this week over New York’s opponent: the St. Louis Rams. The circus-like atmosphere makes you question how it impacts New York’s focus and preparations going into this game.

Sanchez under pressure: New York Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez has a lot on his plate. But one of the most glaring issues for Sanchez is struggling against the blitz. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Sanchez has a NFL-worst 48.7 completion percentage against the blitz. He’s also thrown four interceptions and has been sacked 10 times. New York has little supporting cast around Sanchez and teams are not afraid to bring extra rushers.

Moving forward: The Buffalo Bills (4-6) beat the Miami Dolphins (4-6), 19-14, on Thursday night. Both teams are relagated to the spoiler role the rest of the season and will try to make it tough on playoff contenders. It starts next week. Buffalo will have extra time to prepare to play the Colts on Nov. 25. The Dolphins will host the Seattle Seahawks (6-4).

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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