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Friday, December 21, 2012
Final Word: AFC East

By James Walker

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

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 16:

McElroy
Greg McElroy will get a two-game audition to make his case to be the starter next season for the Jets.
Time for Big Mac: New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy has a chance to cap one of the most unexpected seasons in the AFC East. The former third-string quarterback will make his first career start Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. McElroy played well in spot duty and was able to beat the Arizona Cardinals with a second-half touchdown in Week 13. These next two weeks McElroy has a chance to put his claim on New York's starting job. The Jets have come to the realization that quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are not the long-term solutions.

Rex and Norv: An interesting development could be in the making when Rex Ryan faces Norv Turner. This most likely will be their final meeting with Turner as head coach of the Chargers. Multiple reports indicate Turner will be fired after another disappointing season. The two coaches have a history of facing each other in big games, which has led to some heated comments in the past. However, the Jets could be in the market for an offensive coordinator next year and Turner may be at the top of the list. New York offensive coordinator Tony Sparano struggled mightily in his first season. The Jets are 30th in total offense and both quarterbacks -- Tebow and Sanchez -- have regressed.

Showing up: Which Buffalo Bills team will show up Sunday against the Miami Dolphins? Will we see the listless Bills team that was thrashed last week by the Seattle Seahawks, 50-17? Or will we see the Bills group that played hard and beat the Dolphins in their first meeting in November? The Bills have been a schizophrenic team all season. They only put together one winning streak of two games all season in Weeks 2-3. Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey is on the hot seat and needs his team to play hard in these final two games.

Dolphins D vs. Spiller: One of the better matchups in this game will be Miami's stout run defense against dynamic Bills tailback C.J. Spiller. The Dolphins are eighth against the run and have a disciplined front seven. Spiller is coming off his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season in a loss to the Seahawks. He rushed for 91 yards against Miami in the first meeting on Nov. 15. Spiller certainly will be the focal point for Miami's defense on Sunday.

Hope for the best: It looks more likely that the AFC East champion New England Patriots (10-4) will be playing in the wild-card round. The Patriots are hoping that the Denver Broncos (11-3) can lose one of their final two games to the Cleveland Browns or Kansas City Chiefs. But that's a long shot. The Patriots should be able to dispatch their next two opponents. They play the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday and host the Miami Dolphins in the regular-season finale. However, those games don't improve New England's standing unless Denver loses.