The AFC East Notebook

A weekly look at the news, notes and quick hits from around the division.

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Today, the Patriots find themselves tied atop the conference with the New York Jets for the best record at 7-2, setting up an exciting Monday night matchup between the hooded wizard of coaching and the flappingl mouth wonder that is Rex Ryan in Massachusetts on Dec. 6.

But that may be jumping the gun a bit. A more pressing concern for New England is the upcoming campaign this coming weekend against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

The New England Patriots will not have a time to savor the decisive victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. It was back to the drawing board for the coaching staff on Monday as they look toward to coming battle against the Indianapolis Colts, another top-notch team, at Gillette Stadium this week.

Now that the Patriots (7-2) have come back from their thrashing in Cleveland by stomping Pittsburgh, dropping them to 6-3, has New England got its groove back?

ESPN reports head coach Bill Belichick says it remains to be seen whether Brady and company have found their mojo.

Until the end of the game Sunday night, the Pats did a good job of controlling the Steelers passing game. Pittsburgh's fallen angel, Ben Roethlisberger, saw his completion percentage at less than .500 heading into the fourth quarter. Then he began to heat up, but it was too little and too late to close the gap forged by the Brady Bunch.

The Sunday to come will be another test of the endurance and abilities of the Patriots defense in the presence of Peyton Manning, arguably Brady's rival for top Quarter Back in the league.

Despite leading Manning 3-1 in Super Bowl rings, Brady falls in the shadows to fellow star QB Peyton Manning who seems to be completely plastered across televisions nationwide each NFL Sunday.

This may be due in part to a different set of numbers; Manning has played with 21 Pro Bowlers in Indy. While Brady rings in a "measly" 13.

This is a rematch for New England as a risky fourth-and-two call last year doomed them to the walk of the losers in Indianapolis. That rare mis-decision by the New England head coach cost the Pats the game when a failure to convert allowed a Colts to come back for a 35-34 win.

Success against the Steelers, though, doesn't necessarily translate to success against Manning, said Belichick.

BUFFALO BILLS:

Bills Running Back Fred "Freddy J" Jackson was the star in the inaugural win for the Buffalo team last Sunday, 133 yards rushing, 37 receiving and two touchdowns. Jackson, for one, proved he has not lost his momentum from last season. He's been running an uphill battle this season with a top rated run defense paired with a not-so-much offensive line, which all adds up to a very difficult time putting up numbers and proving he is still the force he showed to be last season.

So, the winless Buffalo Bills are no longer that, although they will receive no rest for their win against D-town Sunday. Coach Chan Gailey reported practice on Monday will continue and it will be business as usual.

"Nah, we've got a lot of work to do," Gailey told the Canadian press, after Buffalo (1-8) came from its first "W" this season by beating Detroit 14-12. "It's one win. It's not like some major milestone, you know. It was a win. I'm looking for two."

MIAMI DOLPHINS:

Tony Sparano is resisting placing a definite out for the season on the head of injured quarterback Chad Henne, following an injury he sustained Sunday that caused him to leave the game.

Henne sustained an injury to his left knee in the third quarter of Sunday's 29-17 victory over Tennessee. Sparano wouldn't even say for sure that Henne was a scratch for this Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears.

That would seem a bit of a stretch as Henne left the game Sunday on crutches.

This is just the latest in a string of mishaps for the Sun Life Stadium crew.

The Dolphins signed free-agent QB Patrick Ramsey and placed Chad Pennington on injured reserve.


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