The AFC East is up for grabs. That’s right, at the time I write this, we are three games into the season and there is no clear cut favorite. The Bills are 3-0 and have scored the third most points in the AFC while not allowing a 100 yard rusher, but they have been known to get their fans hopes up only to bash them away with inconsistency. The Patriots are 2-1, but the two wins are over a hapless Kansas City Squad and the very questionable New York Jets. Their loss was this past week, a 38-13 shellacking at the hands of a Dolphin’s team that only won one game last season and didn’t do much upgrading. The Jet’s are 1-2 with a close 20-14 win over Miami, a loss to New England, and a 48-29 pasting at the hands of the formerly winless San Diego Chargers. The Miami Dolphins are also 1-2, with losses to the Jets and Arizona Cardinals in weeks one and two. They followed those two emotionless defeats with the extremely confusing and utterly embarrassing dismantling of the Patriots.
A few weeks ago, when I decided to write this article, I would have said that the Patriots, Bills, and Jets all had equal chances of taking the division and the Dolphin’s didn’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell, but after week three, everything changed. I’ve added the Dolphins as…cough, a contender for the AFC East. Why not? The worst that can happen is the dolphins will lose the rest of their games and make me look like an idiot. I still think they are a long shot, but after racking up 461 yards on the Patriots, I now believe that anything is possible.
I know the season is very young, but I figured I would try to sift through some of the statistics to try to figure out who has the best chance of taking the division. It should be noted that this article would certainly not be written without the seemingly improbable loss of Tom Brady for the year. The Dolphins win over the Patriots proves just how great Brady is.
The quarterback position is obviously the most important when attempting to figure out who will distance themselves from the pack (well, the offensive line is important too, as we see…or don’t see, in St.Louis).
Buffalo-Trent Edwards: 733 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception. Edwards has been the most solid QB in the AFC East, as well as one of the most solid in the AFC, so far. He’s completed 67% of his passes and has been clutch at the end of games. He’s played not like a sophomore, but more like a seasoned veteran. Only time will tell if he can keep it up. He’s fairly unproven at this point in his career having only started 12 games. Edwards and the Bills are a mystery to me.
New England-Matt Cassel: 448 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception. Cassel is by far the least experienced quarterback in the AFC east. Up until this season, the guy hadn’t even started a game since high school. He backed up Carson Palmer and Matt Leinert at USC before holding the clipboard for Tom Brady. After a terrible preseason, the Brady ACL injury has forced him into duty. So far he is 1-1, but is only averaging 149 passing yards per game. If he doesn’t realize that he has Randy Moss and Wes Welker on his team soon it’s going to be a sad season in Foxboro. More time to watch the ‘sawks go for two in a row.
Miami-Chad Pennington: 589 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception. Pennington has been a giant step up at the quarterback position for the Dolphins. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a pro bowler or anything, it just means he’s better than John Beck, Cleo Lemon and Trent Green, who gets injured so often, he may as well be Samuel L. Jackson’s character in unbreakable. The only problem in the long run is the fact that he has nobody to throw the ball to. Ouch, that could be a problem.
New York-Brett Favre: 646 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, 3 interceptions. Favre has by far the most experience in the whole NFL, let alone the AFC east. He’s started every week since 1973 if I have my facts straight. So far he is leading the other AFC east QB’s in touchdown passes, but he also leads in interceptions, which has been a problem for him in the sem-recent past. He’s only 1-2 in his first three Jets starts and fans are starting to question whether or not Favre should have stayed retired. Too soon to slap the cookie out of the Jets fans hand you say? People seem to forget that in 2006 Favre threw 18 interceptions and only threw 18 touchdowns. I’m not impressed with Favre or the Jets. Also, he’ll be 39 in a few weeks.
There are many more important pieces to a winning team, but the quarterback is the most important piece of the puzzle. Even if you have a stellar defense, excellent special teams, and a world class kicker, you won’t win the Superbowl without a solid QB (unless you are the Baltimore Ravens). So far this season, one of the least experienced (Trent Edwards) has looked the best, but as I said before, it’s still too soon to tell how he will hold up throughout the sixteen game schedule.
Still, I’m going to go out on a limb and change my preseason pick for the AFC east champion and throw all my money (figuratively) at the Buffalo Bills. I feel it. This is the year the citizens of Buffalo have been waiting for since the 90’s glory days. The year the Bills make it back to the playoffs….and lose in the first round. I hope I didn’t just jinx them.
By the way, am I the only person in the world who can’t comprehend how this team is called the Buffalo Bills? How can you pluralize a famous cowboy to name a sports franchise? Also, why isn’t there any logo or mascot with any relation to a cowboy? This has always confused me.
Chris Osburn is a 26 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist. On top of that, he writes about professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, visit his website http://www.chrisosburnwrites.com.
30 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist and sports editor. He also writes about fine beverages for drinkingmadeeasy.com and Chilled Magazine. On top of that, he writes about college and professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, throw him an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/chrisosburn