Friday, October 14, 2011
Final Word: AFC East
By James Walker
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 6:
Can Rex Ryan beat the Dolphins? Surprisingly, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has had more success against the New England Patriots in the AFC East than the Miami Dolphins. Ryan is just 1-3 against Miami since joining the Jets in 2009. Ryan has never beaten the Dolphins at home. Miami has come into East Rutherford and beaten the Jets two years in a row. That streak has to end for New York, because this is a must-win game for the Jets (2-3). New York is on a three-game losing streak and is falling behind in the AFC East and playoff races.
Jeremy Kerley has earned the chance for more playing time with the Jets.
Kerley's time: The Jets believe they got a steal in fifth-round pick Jeremy Kerley. The rookie from TCU has shown promise in the return game and at wide receiver. That is why the Jets were not hesitant this week to trade unhappy veteran receiver Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans. Kerley will get a chance to play Mason's former role as the No. 3 receiver against the Dolphins. Kerley caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown last week after Mason was benched in a loss to New England.
Battle of No. 28s: Miami's defense entered the season with high expectations. It was ranked No. 6 in the NFL last year. But not much has gone right for this group in its first four games. The Dolphins (0-4) are ranked No. 28 in total defense but have a chance to get back on track against the Jets' struggling offense, which also is ranked 28th. Something has to give between these two underachieving units. Miami's biggest issue is giving up big passing plays. The Dolphins are ranked 31st in passing yards allowed. New York hasn't made many big plays in general in recent weeks.
Pats face a second Ryan: One week after beating Rex Ryan and the Jets, the Patriots host his twin brother, Rob Ryan, who is the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. Both brothers have similar philosophies. Therefore, expect heavy blitzing and attempts to confuse and batter quarterback Tom Brady. Rob Ryan had success against New England's offense last year. As defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, Ryan and Cleveland pounded New England 34-14 last November.
Rookie contributions: The Buffalo Bills are getting strong contributions from their rookie class. It's been a quiet part of Buffalo's 4-1 start. First-round draft pick Marcell Dareus has been a force on the defensive line all season. Third-round pick Kelvin Sheppard is starting to come on at linebacker, and fourth-round pick Chris Hairston is expected to start his second game at left tackle in place of the injured Demetrius Bell. Rookie defensive back and second-round pick Aaron Williams also contributed before his collarbone injury in Week 3.