AFC East Round-Up; Jets Down, Pats UpBy Marc U.
If you listen closely, I think you can hear the New England Patriots scoring again in Buffalo. It may seem that way at least as the Pats’ went off on the Bills to the tune of 52-28 in Orchard Park, New York on Sunday. New England scored on six straight possessions at one point taking a decently competitive game to a complete laugh-er. QB Tom Brady had a ‘typical Brady Day’ throwing for 340 yards and three touchdowns while his counterpart Ryan Fitzpatrick would best him by ten yards and one TD, Fitzpatrick also threw four interceptions on the day.
For all the talk of this revamped and dynamic defense in Buffalo, it sure didn’t look that way as New England was literally toying with them in the second half. High-priced defensive end Mario Williams was nowhere to be found in terms of rushing the passer and it got so bad for the Bills that the Patriots had not one, but two 100-yard rushers on the afternoon (Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley). Back to the drawing board for Dave Wannstedt’s defense.
The Standings: New England Patriots 2-2, New York Jets 2-2, Buffalo Bills 2-2, Miami Dolphins 1-3
San Francisco 34 at New York 0 – If you’ve been searching for a low-point in the Rex Ryan-Era in New York than I give you exhibit A. The Jets were absolutely brutal on both sides of the ball as the 49ers completely dictated the play. New York could only muster 145 yards of total offense and while Ryan claims that QB Mark Sanchez is QB going forward, I have to believe Tim Tebow’s opportunities are right around the corner. The Jets also lost wideout Santonio Holmes to a foot injury which could be a season-ending injury.
Miami 21 at Arizona 24 (OT) – Last time the Arizona Cardinals franchise was 4-0, the nation was led by Gerald Ford and I can guarantee you gas was under a dollar a gallon. The Dolphins continue to play their hearts out yet fell to 1-3 on the season. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill was just 10 yards shy of breaking Cam Newton’s record for passing yards in a game by a rookie as he totaled 431 in the desert. The other big Miami performance was turned in by receiver Brian Hartline who had a huge day with 12 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown. Miami had the game won but Cards’ QB Kevin Kolb found a receiver with 22 seconds left on 4th and 10 for the tying score and then Arizona won it in overtime on a Jay Feely 46-yard kick.
Looking ahead to Week Five
Miami Dolphins (+4 1/2) at Cincinnati Bengals – Cincinnati returns home after two weeks on the road that also meant two victories. The Dolphins come in off a tough overtime loss to Arizona in a game that they led a great deal of in University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bengals now find themselves in a situation where they are neck and neck with the only team to beat them the Baltimore Ravens at 3-1 in the AFC North. What that means is that each game is crucial even this early in the season. The Dolphins will not be a walkover. They’ve been competitive each week and will be again against the Bengals. Look for more of the ‘lawfirm’ to help balance out the passing attack. I like Miami to keep it close, but not close enough. Take the Bengals even giving the points.
Denver Broncos (+7) at New England Patriots – Last week, Peyton Manning was excellent as he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, but not one pass was for longer than 10 yards. Look for Bill Belichick to give his old nemesis something to think about as the Pats will force Manning into throwing deeper than he may want to in order to truly test his arm. Offensively, look for more balance by the Pats which only makes Tom Brady more dangerous. This is not the old Colts-Pats games of 10 years ago, I like the Pats to win big in Foxboro.
Buffalo Bills (+10) at San Francisco – The 49ers got a much-needed does of reality in losing to the vikings two weeks ago and it showed as they dominated the Jets in New York on Sunday. If Buffalo wants to be in this game at all they’ll need to re-establish their running game which is far less than 100% and they’ll need to make the Niners one-dimensional on offense and I don’t like their chances of accomplishing that. Anytime you get a line over ten in the NFL, you need to be cautious but not here. Take the Niners with confidence this week.
Houston Texans (-9) at New York Jets – Houston is giving nine points in New York? Not a number I dreamed of seeing at the beginning of the season and as well as Houston is currently playing, this may well be the Jets’ season. Ryan gave his team two days off after their humiliating loss to San Francisco in order to get their head’s on straight and their minds clear. That’s all fine and good but will it help stop a powerful rushing attack and timely passing game? No, but I do like the Jets to stay within the nine as they return to more running and less passing in an effort to shorten the game and keep pressure of Mark Sanchez.