For the third straight week, the AFC East went 2-2 as a division. The New York Jets are currently on top at 2-1 (2-0 in division). The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins both lost on game-ending field goals.
New England Patriots (1-2)
Voted: No. 8
Should Be: No. 7
As poor as a 1-2 record looks, the season is still very young. The Patriots dropped from No. 1 all the way to No. 8 rapidly after two successive losses. Considering each of the two losses came down to game-ending field goals—one made, one missed—that might be an overreaction.
Are the Patriots the team to beat in the AFC?
I would still place the Patriots ahead of the New York Giants, especially given that the Patriots have a much easier schedule coming up than the Giants do. The Patriots do have a lot to worry about on defense, as they did in 2011. However, their offense is still effective and will improve when tight end Aaron Hernandez returns.
New York Jets (2-1)
Voted: No. 17
Should Be: No. 17
The Jets only moved up one spot in the ratings despite defeating a division rival and maintaining the top spot in the AFC East. However, I cannot disagree with the votes. The loss of cornerback Darrelle Revis—torn ACL—is a huge blow and is easily worth one or two games.
The Jets' best shot at the playoffs this year is arguably through the division. The AFC East has been relatively weak so far this season, and the Jets already have a 2-0 division record. If they can go 4-2 or 5-1 within the AFC East, they might have a shot at winning the division without having a great year all-around.
Buffalo Bills (2-1)
Voted: No. 19
Should Be: No. 22
The Bills shot up three spots after beating the woeful Cleveland Browns 24-14. This seems like a case of looking at the win/loss standings and not the details of how the game played out.
How will the Bills fare against the Patriots over the next few weeks?
The Bills barely held on to beat the Browns after the game got within three points in the fourth quarter. More importantly, the Bills have lost their two best offensive weapons—running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
The Bills' next six games include the Patriots twice, the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. After those six games, we will have a good sense of who the Bills are. If they fail to beat any of those teams, they will fall to 3-6 or 2-7.
Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Voted: No. 29
Should Be: No. 28
Believe it or not, the Dolphins are a tad underrated this week. They deserve to be ahead of the Oakland Raiders, who they embarrassed 35-13 in Week 2. The Dolphins will get to take another shot at the Jets in Week 8 when they travel to New York.