Oct 20, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) dives for a first down against the New England Patriots during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won the game 30-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

AFC East Mid-Season Report: Part 1


 

After 9 weeks of the NFL, the AFC East has been one of the most intriguing divisions in the NFL this season, with top stories ranging from Aaron Hernandez, Mark Sanchez, and, most recently, Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. News aside, on the field all four teams have been an enigma in each team’s own way. As of now here are the current standings in the AFC East.

AFC   East

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

STRK

Patriots  

7

2

0

.778

234

175

W2

Jets  

5

4

0

.556

169

231

W1

Dolphins  

4

4

0

.500

174

187

W1

Bills  

3

6

0

.333

189

236

L2

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: 7-2

Starting at the top, the first place Patriots are debatably much worse than their schedule says they are. Although they are 7-2, their 7 wins came against teams with a combined winning percentage of .379%, with their only impressive win against the New Orleans Saints which came off a last second touchdown that only happened due to poor pass coverage. However, the Patriots two losses thus far, which were to the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals, have a combined record of 11-7.

The Patriots have struggled against good teams, especially teams with good defenses. Both their losses came against top 7 defenses, and this does not bode well for their upcoming schedule. Their remaining games are against Carolina, Denver, Houston, Cleveland, Miami, Baltimore, and Buffalo, four of those games being against top 10 defenses including the 1st, 3rd, and 4th ranked defenses based on yardage. Even more threatening is the success of these teams compared to the teams New England has previously played. Their remaining schedule has a combined winning percentage of .482% which still isn’t phenomenal, but is much better than the pathetic .379% of their previous opponents.’

One of the main concerns for the Patriots is there lack of offensive dominance, which has been their reason for success in recent years. However, Tom Brady has been anything but dominant this year, which can be seen clearly in the stat line. Brady ranks 17th in the league for yards per game (232), 18th in Passer Rating (82.7), and a disappointing 28th in Completion Percentage (57.1). Part of his lack of success is due to the inexperience in his receivers and his team’s inability to have a consistent rushing attack, although both these dilemmas seem to be vanishing. Now that Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola are back from injury, Aaron Dobson has emerged as a phenomenal deep threat, and Stevan Ridley has regained his swagger, the offense is clicking. This was clearly on display Sunday when the Patriots demolished the Pittsburgh defense, scoring 55 points. If things keep going well for the offense, the team should have great success.

PROJECTED RECORD: 11-5

NEW YORK JETS: 5-4

The New York Jets have quite literally been the most up and down team in the NFL, failing to win or lose consecutive games. While they have looked phenomenal at times, they have also looked like a team at the same caliber as Jacksonville. Fortunately, certain players on the Jets have recently emerged as playmakers, including RB Chris Ivory, WR Josh Cribbs, who has been an integral part of the offense because of his Wildcat Quarterback ability, and K Nick Folk, who is a perfect 23-23 for field goals on the year. The Jets as a team has played well in the clutch, and Geno Smith has led the offense down the field in the final moments to set up a game winning field goal on 4 occasions.

However, at other times in the season the Jets have looked absolutely atrocious, specifically their 49-9 loss to the Bengals and their 38-13 loss to the Titans, a team they had no business getting blown out by. Geno Smith has been inconsistent at best, and the offense lacks a top player at any position to bail out Geno, making his mistakes more constant. Interesting enough, the Jets have been completely dependent on Geno Smith, winning every game he’s played well and losing every game he’s played poorly. In Jets’ losses, Geno Smith has a TD-INT ratio of 1-9, one of the most frightening stats for any QB in the NFL. In Jets’ wins, Geno has a TD-INT ratio of 7-4 along with 3 rushing touchdowns in wins. If Geno Smith can become more consistent, the Jets have the potential to end the season on a good note.

This will not happen, however, if the offense continues to get little help from the pass defense. The entire secondary has been playing awful, even CB Antonio Cromartie, who is supposed to be the best player on the defense has been playing poorly. Thus far, the Jets have allowed 17 TDs (27th in NFL), 251 passing YPG (21st in NFL), and have only picked off the opposing quarterbacks 5 times (25th in NFL). Dee Milliner has been a bust this year, but unfortunately we can’t replace him with anyone better considering their other corners include Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls. Antonio Allen is a workhorse at safety, although effort and hustle can’t completely make up for his below-average to average talent. Dawan Landry is nowhere near as good as his brother, whose success we basked in last year. We can get by with their current safeties, although if the cornerbacks don’t get better the defense is going to struggle and their playoff hopes will be hampered.

PROJECTED RECORD: 9-7

Part Two, which will include mid-season reports and projections for the Dolphins and Bills, is coming shortly, so be sure to check back later for more AFC East reports.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Afc East Chris Ivory Geno Smith New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Tom Brady