As week 5 of the NFL comes to an end the AFC East has been less then stellar and yet the Jets are left to bring a glimmer of hope to a 0-3 division record this week.
The week started with the Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller finally showing some of the breakaway ability Thursday night that had fantasy football experts sky-high on the former Clemson star heading into the season. Spiller made a nice cutback and outran the defense on a 54-yard touchdown run in the Bills’ 37-24 loss at Cleveland. The game was costly for both the Bills and Browns as quarterbacks Brian Hoyer of Cleveland and EJ Manuel of Buffalo reportedly suffered sprained knees. Hoyer’s injury appeared to be more serious as he was seen after the game on crutches and not putting any weight on his left leg. Manuel was hit in the right leg on a scrambling play, walked off on his own power and jogged on the sideline, but didn’t return.
On Sunday as part of a double header, Tom Brady and the Patriots had another tough game in a 13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals to fall to 4-1. Brady was not sharp on the afternoon, as he completed 18-of-38 passes for 166 yards and an interception. Also, his streak of 52 games straight with a touchdown pass was snapped. Contributing to Brady’s up-and-down play has been the lack of weapons around him. Between this season, and 2006 and maybe 2001 when he came in, these are the biggest challenges he has had. Not only that, but you have no Rob Gronkowski, no Shane Vereen, no Stevan Ridley today, another guy in a jailhouse in Dartmouth, [Mass.], that they anticipated having on the team. But one thing is for sure – you can never count Bill Belichick and Tom Brady out as the two always seem to find a way to stay on top.
The second part of Sunday’s dismal AFC East display came via the Dolphins loss to the Baltimore Ravens on a missed field goal that left the Baltimore the winners with a score of 26-23. After Justin Tucker’s 44-yard field goal put the Ravens ahead, Tannehill converted a fourth and 10 by escaping pressure and hitting Brandon Gibson for 46 yards. Two plays later, he was sacked for a league-high 24th time. If the glaring Dolphins problems weren’t exposed last Monday against the New Orleans Saints, they certainly are now. The only bright spot in this game was the Dolphins defense and it’s ability to maintain for 60 minutes of play, if ony we could get the same from the offense.
Now all we have to look forward to are the Atlanta Falcons hosting our last hope, the New York Jets to at least give us a win in an otherwise pitiful weekend. The Falcons offense is completely one-dimensional, and as we have seen in the past, that isn’t a way to win football games. The defense is allowing 393.2 yards and 26.0 points per game. The team is averaging just one forced turnover a game, a full turnover per game off of where it was at last season, and QB Matt Ryan is spending a lot of time on his back thanks to an offensive line that is awfully beaten up. (The lack of a ground game isn’t helping either.) All this should at the very least help the Jets stay in the game. The Jets have a good rush defense that is holding teams to just 3.0 yards per carry this year, and we see an offense that is at least taking strides. The offensive line hasn’t been as bad as advertised, as a lot of these 14 sacks against this year have been the fault of the receivers and of QB Geno Smith, who hasn’t quite looked the role of a legit starter yet. Still, Smith isn’t going to have to be remarkable to win this game. So lets at least root for a 1-3 for the AFC East and let the intra-divisional rivalries take a break until next weekend.
By Sergio Peralta