AFC East: Miami Aims For First Place

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 01, 2012



by Kennedy Ross

Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)

Well, well, well, look what the tuna net dragged in. The Miami Dolphins and a shot at the top spot. The Dolphins put themselves in this position with defense and a steadily maturing rookie quarterback. The Bills put themselves in a position to be in the dungeon with the Jets. They will have to overcome the Texans in order to rise above their losing record. 

Here are five things you should be aware of:

1. It won't be lonely at the top. (Dolphins vs. Colts)

An opportunity to be in first place in the AFC East was supposed to happen a long time ago, with another Dolphin quarterback. Remember when Chad Henne was supposed to finally be the heir to the Marino throne? Remember when the debate on the east coast was who was better, Chad Henne or Mark Sanchez? 

Well it seems that question has been answered. Sanchez is bad and Henne was horrible. Now, there isn't even a question with the current Dolphin quarterback. Ryan Tannehill has shown the fortitude and pedigree unsustained by either of the aforementioned ball slingers. 

Now, the only question is whether or not Tannehill will be ready to play on Sunday. He suffered a hyper extended left knee in conjunction with a thigh bruise on a sack early in the Jets game last week. He has been practicing but not cleared to play as of yet. 

Assuming he plays, the Dolphins will have no trouble securing the win they need to share first place in the east with the New England Patriots. Without Tannehill, the Dolphins were able to embarrass the Jets last week. Granted the Jets are not only bad, but in total disarray. However, the Dolphins still won handily with their backup quarterback.

They were able to do this with defense. A run choking defense that maintains its number one status on our Defensive Hog Index. They are also tops on defense in shutting down third down conversions. 

The Dolphins defense also handles air traffic control. They are top five in our Defensive Passer Rating and Defensive Real Quarterback Rating. Those number will have a direct impact on number one overall pick Andrew Luck. 

Luck has had his normal growing pains as a rookie. If the Dolphins can help it, he will have a lot more pain to deal with. That and a steady diet of a recuperating Reggie Bush should be more than enough to dispatch the Colts. 

2. A buffalo getting stampeded just seems wrong. (Bills vs. Texans)

The kindest way to put this is the Bills will be defeated. The accurate way to put this is the Bills will be completely over matched and outplayed. But really, you should not let your kids watch the slaughter that is about to transpire.

The Bills twitchy, schizophrenic play all season has yielded numbers near or at the bottom of just about every stat we have on the shelf. In fact, the only stat where they equally match the Texans is in the running game. They both are ranked number four on our Offensive Hog Index.

Other than that, the Bills can't pass or stop the pass consistently. Nor can they stop the run. So the Texans will attack them from both angles and the Bills won't be able to do anything about it.

Best case scenario is they try and control the clock with the running game. However, the Texans are third on our Defensive Hog Index. So that strategy will be minimally effective. 

All they can hope for is that the two other stars of the team have exceptional days. That would be quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on offense and defensive end Mario Williams on defense. While Fitzpatrick has been up and down most of the season, Williams has just been down. 

If they don't want to wallow in the gallows with the rats and roaches and Jets, those two better rally behind their running game and produce like the high priced players they are. Sadly, with Williams coming off of a wrist injury, it will be his ongoing excuse for futility. Sorry Bills, say hello to the Jets.

3.Williams still a Texan at heart.

When the Bills signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a $59 million contract extension with $24 million guaranteed, the reaction was mixed. Some thought it was a good move to lock Fitzpatrick up because he was hot and on a roll. Some thought it was too early because there wasn't enough history of top flight quarterbacking from him to base that contract on.

When he crapped out at the end of last year and continued struggling into this year, the consensus was pretty much in a agreement. The Bills pulled the trigger way too soon. Now here comes Mario Williams and his new $100 million deal. Judging by his production so far, the Bills need a financial advisor to guide them in their investments.

The difference between the two players however is that Fitzpatrick seems to want to be in Buffalo. Williams on the other hand would rather not be if he had his druthers. With his former team lining up across from him this Sunday, Williams told a Houston television station he never wanted to leave Houston.

That might not be what the Bills organization or the fans want to hear if he was tearing up the league. But when you were paid one tenth of a billion dollars and produced 13 tackles and 3.5 sacks in eight games, you really are spitting in the face of your current team.

Now the wrist injury and cheating opponents Williams used as reasons for his poor play seem even more hollow with this latest declaration. Pretty sure the Buffalo fans will site a lack of loyalty and allegiance as the culprit for his less than stellar play. 

Maybe the Texan fans will cheer for Williams again, because the Bills fans certainly won't anymore. 

4. More ready for Moore.

Dolphins back up quarterback Matt Moore didn't wow anyone last week as the Miami closer against the Jets. Moore completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown. Simply put, Moore was serviceable.

Would he have done more if the Dolphins didn't have total control of the Jets offense? The six year veteran believes he would have. Moore believes in being prepared.

He played 13 games last year for the Dolphins where he threw 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions. That's almost a two to one ratio, which isn't the most horrible thing in the world. Being that the Colts have the 30th ranked Defensive Passer Rating in our stats, Moore should fare well if called upon.

5. You should sleep well knowing . . .

 . . . Mario Williams claims he was forced into free agency and a $100 million contract. Poor bastard.

 . . . Hopefully now that Jets and Dolphins have played their two games for the year, Reggie Bush can concentrate more on running the ball better as opposed to memorizing the hexes he has been wishing on the Jets for the past month.

 . . . Miami hasn't won four straight games since 2008. They picked the right team to break that trend this Sunday.


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