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Friday, October 16, 2009
Final Word: AFC East



NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 6:

 
 AP Photo/Jim Prisching
 Rookie Jamon Meredith, who was cut earlier this year by the Packers, might make his first NFL start for the Bills on Sunday.
If the New York Jets' defense doesn't feast on the Buffalo Bills, then Rex Ryan needs to re-examine his troops. The Jets are coming off two straight losses. The Miami Dolphins embarrassed them defensively on "Monday Night Football." Ryan's pride and joy has something to prove. The Bills are on their way to the Meadowlands to help them out.

The Bills have a chance, albeit a slight one. The aggressive Jets defense is tied for last in sacks with four, but the Bills rank 30th in sacks per pass play. Their offensive line will be even weaker Sunday. Their second starting right tackle, Jonathan Scott, is out with an ankle injury. That means rookie Jamon Meredith, who wasn't good enough to make the Green Bay Packers roster, might get his first NFL start. The Packers lead the NFL in sacks allowed.

I don't know what's harder to fathom: the New England Patriots losing two games in a row or the Tennessee Titans being 0-6. The Patriots haven't dropped consecutive games since 2006 and have won 18 straight at home with Tom Brady on the field. While the Patriots' offense still is searching for its identity and Brady is trying to locate his 2007 mojo with Randy Moss and Wes Welker, the Titans might be the perfect opponent. The Titans are great against the run, but they have the NFL's second-worst pass defense.

The Miami Dolphins probably would rather be playing this weekend, but a bye won't hurt them either. The Dolphins are full of life after winning back-to-back divisional games and climbing within one game (for now) of first place in the AFC East. They're also the only AFC East club without a division loss. But an extra week for second-year quarterback Chad Henne to take first-team reps will help him make the transition from understudy to NFL leading man. He's 2-0 as a starter, but the Dolphins didn't plan on Henne assuming the leading role so soon. Henne could use all the snaps he can get.

Buffalo's defense should be noticeably better with linebacker Paul Posluszny and safety Donte Whitner back. Buffalo's defense didn't tank last Sunday's game against Cleveland. The Bills gave up only six points and have been decent in some areas. For instance, they rank ninth in average yards allowed per play.

Of course, they've been atrocious against the run. Having Posluszny and Whitner on the field again will help. Opponents have shredded the Bills on the ground. All they needed to do was get into the second level, and a large gain was all but guaranteed. Posluszny, out since breaking his forearm in the season opener, was Buffalo's leading tackler last year.

That said, Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez could have a quiet day. With new toy Braylon Edwards, the Jets opened up their passing game on Monday night. But the Jets' preferred method of moving forward remains the run. They rank seventh in rushing yards per game and 24th in passing yards. The Bills' defense ranks 29th in rushing yards allowed and sixth in passing yards allowed.

What should further deter Sanchez from throwing will be Jerricho Cotchery's absence because of a hamstring injury. That will allow defenses to double tight end Dustin Keller, who had one ball thrown his way and zero receptions against the Dolphins.