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Tuesday, November 8, 2011
AFC East Stock Watch

By James Walker

» NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

Tom Brady
Tom Brady hasn't been bad, he just hasn't been himself in the past two games.
1. New England Patriots: The Patriots went 14-2 last season. They already have eclipsed last season's loss total after a two-game losing streak against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. New England showed several flaws from the beginning, particularly on defense. But those flaws have been magnified the past few weeks, because Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hasn't been his usual self (we will get to that later). New England looks very beatable when Brady isn't throwing for 400-plus yards and four touchdowns. That's not a good sign, because the blueprint is out there for every team to follow. The Patriots need to find a way to adjust.

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills quarterback: Fitzpatrick is having a solid season. But according to the Total Quarterback Rating, no quarterback had a worst game than Fitzpatrick did in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. He registered a measly 2.9 QBR after completing 15 of 31 passes for 191 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Fitzpatrick looked confused against New York's blitz and coverage schemes. He gets a chance to rebound against another tough defense this week in the Dallas Cowboys.

3. Tom Brady, Patriots quarterback: Brady hasn't been bad. He just hasn't been Brady -- and that's a problem for New England. The Patriots rely on Brady too much. He needs to play great football every week, or New England is an ordinary team. Brady has thrown for six touchdowns and four interceptions the last three games. Those aren't bad numbers. But New England is 1-2 in that span, proving that Brady needs to do more.

RISING

1. The New York Jets: The hottest team in the AFC East is the Jets. They have won three straight and picked up a pair of big wins over the Bills and San Diego Chargers in back-to-back games. New York deserves a lot of credit for picking itself up after a rough stretch of three straight losses. Now, the Jets can claim sole possession of first place in the AFC East with a win this week over the rival Patriots. It's a stunning turnaround for a Jets team that is going in the right direction in November.

2. Matt Moore, Dolphins quarterback: Moore played his best game as a Dolphin -- and perhaps of his career -- in a 31-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Moore completed 17 of 23 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns. He registered the highest QBR of any quarterback in the league in Week 9. Credit Moore for coming into a tough situation and putting the previously winless Dolphins in a solid position. Miami has been competitve in its last three games but blew a pair of fourth-quarter leads before beating the Chiefs.

3. Kevin Burnett, Dolphins linebacker: Burnett and Miami's defense have been criticized for not making enough plays this year. But that certainly wasn't the case against the Chiefs. Burnett led Miami with 12 tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks. Burnett and fellow linebacker Karlos Danby (11 tackles) were all over the field. This pair was expected to play at this level all year. Perhaps the performance against Kansas City will be a jump start for more good games.