NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-0)
Offense/Defense Rankings: No. 5 (30 Rush, 2 Pass) & No. 12 (7 Rush, 15 Pass)
Turnover Department: T2 ( 7)
The Skinny:With back-to-back wins over the Jets and the Dolphins, the Patriots have created separation as they look for their seventh consecutive division title and 12th in 13 years. But beyond the division, the Patriots aren't alone in the AFC as both the Broncos and the Bengals have also raced out to 7-0 starts. While the Jets played a close contest at Gillette Stadium, that hasn't been the norm because this Pats team is 116 in points differential. That means they are pounding clubs by an average of 16.6 points a contest.
They Said It: While the Patriots offense is methodical and lethal, the New England defense continues to improve. Pats broadcaster John Rooke delivered a solid piece on Patriots.com that included these most recent stats.
"Two statistical takeaways against the Dolphins point to this sudden surge in defensive decisiveness: 1. Miami managed a mere 15 rushing yards, the 4th lowest total allowed in team history and the fewest allowed in a single game in nearly 10 years. 2. With five QB sacks against the Dolphins, New England now has registered 26 through seven games – putting the defense on a franchise-record pace for sacks in a single season."
Up Next: vs. Washington (3-4)
NEW YORK JETS (4-3)
Offense/Defense Rankings: No. 7 (7 Rush, 16 Pass) & No. 3 (1 Rush, 8 Pass)
Turnovers: T8 ( 3)
The Skinny: The Jets are suddenly hurting at quarterback. After Ryan Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his left thumb early during the Jets' 34-20 loss to the Raiders, Geno Smith suffered a painful bruise to his non-throwing left shoulder. While their status is questionable for Sunday, the Jets could give rookie Bryce Petty the ball for his first NFL start. Todd Bowles said the club is exploring all their options and that may include re-signing veteran Matt Flynn.
They Said It: Veteran linebacker David Harris expressed his displeasure in the defense's effort after the Jets surrendered 451 yards to the Raiders. "We watched the film and it was disgusting to look at," Harris told reporters on a conference call. "Everybody in that room had the same feeling. We just did a poor job of tackling. The effort was poor all the way across the board. We had way too many guys not hustling on every play and it hurt us."
Up Next: vs. Jacksonville (2-5)
BUFFALO BILLS (3-4)
Offense/Defense Rankings: No. 24 (11 Rush, 25 Pass) & No. 13 (6 Rush, 20 Pass)
Turnover Department: T17 (0)
The Skinny:After a bye, the Bills are getting healthier. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has the green light for a return while WR Sammy Watkins, RB Karlos Williams and RT Seantrel Henderson could be back as well. And the Bills should get a boost in the secondary and on special teams as Leodis McKelvin (broken fibula) is scheduled back following nearly a year absence. McKelvin has actually practiced at safety and the former corner could see some time there vs. the Dolphins.
They Said It: The Bills will probably be without the services of Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams (knee) for at least the next two games. "I'm getting better. It's going to take a little time," he told reporters this week. "Compared to where I got hit and how I got hit, I actually got pretty lucky with the injury I had. It's going to take a little bit of time working every day because I'm definitely not wired or made to watch – I think I can help and I think I'm going to be a big part of what we could do."
Up Next:vs. Miami (3-4)
MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-4)
Offense/Defense Rankings: No. 15 (17 Rush, 15 Pass) & No. 24 (T25 Rush, 19 Pass)
Turnover Department: T24 (-3)
The Skinny:Not only did the Dolphins lose to the Patriots last Thursday night, they lose star DE Cameron Wake in the process. Wake, who had amassed seven of the 'Fins 13 sacks, tore his Achilles and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
They Said It: Andy Cohen, a columnist for Dolphins.com, says Miami has to get Lamar Miller going in order to succeed over the team's final nine games.
"The numbers clearly tell the story. In the three victories, Miller has averaged over six yards a carry," Cohen says. "In the four defeats he has averaged just below three yards a carry. Think that makes a difference? You bet it does."
Up Next:@ Buffalo (3-4)