In case you haven't caught on yet, the way I plan to work things for most of the season is to cover the NFC one week and the AFC the next. I think this does 2 things, one, it gives a 2 week perspective rather than the overheated game to game overreaction every other outlet gives you, and secondly, well, it's just easier for me that way.
So without further Apu, here's the AFC East Week 2 Rubdown!
I Wear My Sunglasses Indoors
1. MIAMI DOLPHINS 2-0
WK 1 W at Buffalo 15-10, WK 2 W at Minnesota 14-10
Offense Yards Rank 27th; Defense Yards Rank 5th
All of the AFC East drama swirls around the Jets (Hard Knocks, daily Rex Ryan bloviating on ESPN), and Patriots (last week's cover of SI), but thru two weeks the best team in the AFC East is the Miami Dolphins. True, they beat a Buffalo team that might not win a game this year, and a Minnesota team who has been offensively inept so far, but still, two road wins and they both count. They've done it with defense, particularly pass defense, in which they rank 4th in the league in Y/A. That could be a function of playing the Bills and Vikings, but so far so good. The offense has been just good enough to win. Chad Henne's taking care of the ball, with no INTs so far, and Ronnie Brown is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. We'll find out a lot about this team when they play their home opener against the Jets next week, in what should be a case of immovable object meeting immovable object.
We Won! This Calls For a Drink!
2. NY JETS 1-1
WK 1 L v. Baltimore 9-10, WK 2 W v. New England 28-14
Offense Yards Rank 29th; Defense Yards Rank 11th
The Jets are a great case for covering teams every other week, like I'm doing, rather than every week. After the Week 1 loss the Jets were the worst team in the world and the J-E-T-S fireman was ready to set himself on fire. A week later they beat the Patriots, who everyone was throwing hosannas at after week one, by 2 touchdowns and now the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl again. There is not enough lithium in the world to calibrate the emotions of NFL followers.
In reality, this team is severely challenged on offense. Mark Sanchez was fantastic against New England, terrible against the Ravens. He's a second year QB, and giving him the benefit of the doubt that he's actually good, which I'm still not convinced of, at the very least he's going to be inconsistent. Shonn Greene has been ineffective at 3.5 yards per carry, and LaDanian Tomlinson looks rejuvenated so far but you have to wonder how long that will last. The defense looks good, not once in a generation good like they were being hyped as, but still very strong. So, to me, in essence what the Jets look like is a lot what they looked like last year, which was a 9-7 team. That's not a Super Bowl team.
3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 1-1
WK 1 W v. Cincinnati 38-24, WK 2 L at NY Jets 14-28
Offense Yards Rank 13th; Defense Yards Rank 26th
Until they prove otherwise, my opinion of the Pats remains set by their preseason game against the Rams, in which they gave up 36 points, to the Rams. They've done nothing so far to change my view that this team has no defense. Carson Palmer and TOchocinco roll up a bunch of yards against you when you're playing prevent with a huge lead, that's one thing, Mark Sanchez torches you for 3 TDs, that's a very different thing. I think you can hold out some hope that they'll get things fixed and turn in another 10 win season, because defenses can be a lot easier to fix than offenses, but at this point the Patriots look like nothing more than a fringe playoff team.
No, You Can't Hand It Off to the Defensive Lineman
4. BUFFALO BILLS (0-2)
WK 1 L v. Miami 10-15, WK 2 L at Green Bay 7-34
Offense Yards Rank 32nd; Defense Yards Rank 20th
After a spunky week 1 in which they took the Dolphins down to the wire, the Bills looked a lot more like we all expected in a Week 2 slaughter at Lambeau. They've already hit the eject button on Senator Trent Edwards and are back to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for Week 3. CJ Spiller, who was really the only hope for anything worth watching on this team, is averaging 1.1 yards on 8 carries. Will they go 0-16? They have home games against Cleveland and Detroit, so it's unlikely, but I'm not ruling it out.