Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Power Rankings: AFC East
By James Walker
Here is how the AFC East fared in ESPN.com's latest Power Rankings:
New England Patriots (5-1)
Power Ranking: No. 2 (same)
Walker's vote: No. 2 (same)
Analysis: The Patriots are the clear No. 2 team in the NFL for the second straight week. They received a unanimous, second-place vote from our panel. New England's defense is coming around, which makes the Patriots dangerous. Quarterback Tom Brady will have the offense clicking in most games. But in the few that Brady struggles, the defense needs to be ready. The AFC doesn't look very deep this year. The Baltimore Ravens (4-1) are a legitimate threat to the Patriots. But, other than that, there is clear separation between the Patriots, Ravens and the rest of the AFC thus far.
Buffalo Bills (4-2)
Power Ranking: No. 10 (down four spots)
Walker's vote: No. 10 (down three spots)
Analysis: Buffalo remains in the top 10 after a good effort against the New York Giants. The Bills are 1-2 on the road. They are a young team that can't seem to pick up a quality win away from Ralph Wilson Stadium. The offense is fine. Buffalo isn't playing perfect offensively, but that cannot be expected. The Bills still are scoring enough points to win and make big plays. It's the defense that needs to hold up its end. Until that happens, Buffalo will continue to be in nail biters every week.
New York Jets (3-3)
Power Ranking: No. 16 (up one spot)
Walker's vote: No. 13 (up two spots)
Analysis: I might be overrating the Jets a bit. They're not playing well, but I like the talent on this team. I keep waiting for New York to put it all together. The Jets did some good things against the winless Dolphins. But you have to consider the opponent. Maybe the Jets will show more against a good team next week in the San Diego Chargers (4-1). The Jets can't afford any additional losing streaks if they want to make the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins (0-5)
Power ranking: No. 30 (same)
Walker's vote: No. 30 (up one spot)
Analysis: No doubt about it, the Dolphins are one of the worst teams in the league. The defense has drastically underachieved and the offense is awful on third downs and in the red zone. Quarterback Matt Moore (204 yards, two interceptions) is not the long-term solution in Miami. The team needs to find its future at quarterback before it can turn the team around. The "Tony Sparano Watch" also will be hovering over the team the rest of the season.