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Friday, October 8, 2010
Final Word: AFC East

By Tim Graham

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

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 5:

Santonio Holmes
Santonio Holmes joins a Jets offense that has been clicking on all cylinders the past three games.
Santonio Holmes won't make the New York Jets' offense better than it has been. The reason I say this is because it's close to impossible. The Jets' offense has been plenty explosive without Holmes, who was serving a four-game suspension. Over their past three games, the Jets have averaged 32.3 points. That's not inflated by defensive or special-teams touchdowns. That's all offense. With a fixed number of touches to go around, Holmes won't propel the Jets to 40 points on a weekly basis. But his presence will help the Jets maintain a high-octane offense by giving Mark Sanchez more one-on-one options.

In the young quarterback rivalry, Sanchez is crushing Chad Henne so far. One of the hottest topics on the AFC East blog throughout the offseason dealt with which second-year starter would be better. If this were a boxing match, Henne still would be on his feet, but the referee would be looking at him closely. Sanchez not only won the head-to-head matchup, but he's also 3-0 in the division and dominating statistically. Sanchez is tied for fourth with eight touchdown passes, ranks fourth with a 105.3 passer rating and hasn't committed a turnover yet. Henne is 1-2 against the division. He has five touchdowns, four interceptions and an 86.2 passer rating. But there still are 12 games left for Henne to find his groove or for Sanchez to collapse, neither being out of the question.

That said, the Dolphins need to stick with Henne. The Dolphins are in a bit of turmoil heading into their bye week. They've blown a fantabulous 2-0 road start by dropping two straight at home. They fired special teams coordinator John Bonamego this week and still seem to be searching for their offensive identity. There have been whispers about a quarterback controversy after Henne threw three interceptions and was pulled from the fourth quarter of Monday night's humbling loss the Patriots. The bye week's always an appropriate time to make this type of switch. Waiting in the wings is Chad Pennington, the veteran who fell into Miami's lap and was the driving force in turning a 1-15 team into a division champion in 2008. But the Dolphins must stand by Henne -- at least for now. To hit the panic button four weeks into the season would suggest the front office and coaching staff doesn't have faith in their program.

The Buffalo Bills would love to see Trent Edwards on Sunday. Bills fans might dread the prospect of Edwards returning to Ralph Wilson Stadium and beating his old team. But think about it: If Edwards gets on the field, then that means the Bills' defense has either chased or knocked David Garrard from the game. The Bills have recorded only four sacks so far. "If we can chase anybody out the game, that would be good," Bills nose tackle Kyle Williams said. "Getting after some guys is something we haven't had the luxury of yet. Hopefully, we can do that no matter who's playing."

The Randy Moss and Marshawn Lynch trades are going to look bad on paper all year. We can safely assume Moss and Lynch to play the rest of 2010 with chips on their shoulder pads. Each should put up big numbers. Moss is returning to the Metrodome and will be tracking down Brett Favre bombs. Lynch badly needed a change of scenery. We should expect Lynch in his Seattle Seahawks uniform will look like the Pro Bowl back the Bills selected 12th overall. Meanwhile, the mid-round picks they were dealt for won't become players until April. Fans shouldn't expect those prospects (a third-rounder for Moss, a fourth-rounder for Lynch) to pay off. Of course, if the Patriots can pull off a trade for another receiver, that might mitigate Moss' absence, but it's doubtful that replacement will match what Moss does in Minnesota.