AFC East Preview: Patriots vs. Bills,Titans vs. Dolphins and Jets vs. Seahawks
AFC East’s four teams will all take the field this week with some eyeing a win for the playoffs while others are trying to keep their coaches and jobs.
The Titans (3-6), after their huge rout by the Chicago Bears, will play the improving Miami Dolphins (4-4).
The New England Patriots (5-3) will host the Buffalo Bills (3-5) and the full of bravado New Jets (3-5) travel to the left coast to play the Seattle Seahawks (5-4).
Tennessee vs. Miami
After last Sunday’s embarrassing loss, Titans owner Bud Adams expressed his displeasure publicly and said the organization would be closely evaluated.
Titans coach Mike Munchak took the words seriously and said, “As a head coach, I am responsible for putting a team out there that is ready to play and that this city can be proud of and obviously the last few weeks we haven’t done that.”
Quarterback Jake Locker is expected to return with hopes to jump start the team.
In his last complete game against the Detroit Lions, Locker passed a career-high 378 yards and saw his first league win at 44-41 in OT. But he’s inconsistent: In the previous week against the San Diego Chargers, he was 15 for 30, 174 yards, one touchdown and one sack.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is improving and the team now sits one game behind division leader New England.Last week in their loss to the Colts, the rookie went 22 for 38, 290 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, the Dolphins could roll over the Titans as they are giving up a league-worst 34.2 points per game; this is just nine points shy of equaling its 317 total from the 2011 season.
Miami has playoff hopes and are -7 with a 44.5 over/under for Sunday’s win.
Buffalo vs. New England
It’s another dismal season for Buffalo and facing the Patriots won’t help matters.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady owns the Bills as he’s 19-2 against them. He has a 65.3 percent completion rate, 5,170 yards, 49 touchdowns (his greatest number vs. any team) and 17 picks.
One of Brady’s top weapons is tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is recovering from an ankle injury. He returned to practice this week but he’s a game-time decision for Sunday.
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is no Tom Brady but he does have running back C.J. Spiller, who has helped the team’s rushing offense land a No. 6 league ranking with its 141.3 yards per game. Spiller leads the league with his 7.2 yards per carry.
Sunday’s game is a must-win for Buffalo but history is not on its side; the Patriots have won the last 17 of 18 games between the two–11 consecutive ones in Foxboro.
Look for another Patriots win with a -12.5 and a 52 over/under.
New York vs. Seattle
The Jets will return from their bye week looking to snap a two-game losing streak and keeping their delusional playoff dreams alive.
There’s lots of improvement to be seen from this team which ranks as No. 27 in the league with its 317.4 yards per game and No. 24 with its average of 25.0 points allowed.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will be reunited with his USC coach Pete Carroll, Seattle’s head guy and to get the win, he’ll need to leave his five picks and six fumbles over his five previous games behind.
Carroll will be showing off his rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. In last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, Wilson threw for 173 yards with three touchdowns. He’s very successful at home: He has nine touchdown passes with zero interceptions.
This play has given him a NFL-leading 120.2 passer rating.
One of Wilson’s favorite weapons, running back Marshawn Lynch could rack up some big numbers thanks to the Jets defense giving up 141.4 rushing yards per game–this ranks them No. 29 in the league.
Both teams will look for the win to keep their playoff hopes alive but the nod goes to the home team at -7 with a 38 over/under.