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Friday, December 28, 2012
Final Word: AFC East

By James Walker

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:

Chan Gailey
The future of Buffalo coach Chan Gailey is murky entering the offseason.
Disappointment Bowl: The two most disappointing teams in the AFC East will face off in the regular-season finale. The Buffalo Bills will host the New York Jets, and both teams will have plenty of questions after the season. Will Buffalo fire head coach Chan Gailey? Will New York fire general manager Mike Tannenbaum? Will both teams find new quarterbacks? All of these questions will be up for discussion. But first, one of these teams must end on a high note. The Jets pounded the Bills in their first meeting in Week 1, 48-28. That seems like so long ago as both seasons went downhill.

Sanchez's success: New York's musical chairs routine at quarterback continued this week when Jets coach Rex Ryan named Mark Sanchez the starter. Former starter Greg McElroy had concussion-like symptoms and was pulled during the week. The good news is Sanchez has had more success against Buffalo than any other team in his four-year career. Sanchez is 6-1 all-time against the Bills, which includes a 48-28 thrashing of Buffalo in Week 1. This is a chance for Sanchez to finish strong during an otherwise awful season.

Tebow's role: The Tim Tebow era in New York is expected to end after Sunday's game in Buffalo. The disappointing experiment lasted just one season, and Tebow reportedly will play for his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars next season. But Tebow's role in the regular-season finale remains a mystery. Jets head coach Rex Ryan is playing coy, especially after last week's dustup that led to Jeremy Kerley taking over Tebow’s Wildcat package. Keep an eye on whether Tebow returns to his old role.

Bush for 1,000: Miami Dolphins tailback Reggie Bush needs just 40 yards against the New England Patriots to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Bush came to Miami to prove he can be an every-down back, and will enter free agency with the expectations to cash in. Bush is coming off one of his best games of the year. He had 107 total yards and three touchdowns, which includes two touchdown receptions. The Dolphins are using Bush more as a dual threat late in the season, and it is paying dividends.

Health is key: New England has to play Miami this weekend, but the Patriots' biggest concern is the following week in the postseason. New England can land anywhere between the No. 1 seed and No. 4 seed depending on the outcome of other games. The Patriots (11-4) have a shot at a first-round bye with a win and a loss by either the Houston Texans (12-3) or Denver Broncos (12-3). If not, the Patriots will host a game in the wild-card round and need to exit Sunday’s game against Miami in good health.