GWR's AFC East 6-pack: Week Two Edition

Green and White Report's Nick St. Denis takes a look across the division and identifies the six things to keep an eye out for entering this weekend's action.

Mario Williams' encore. How does Williams respond this week against the Kansas City Chiefs after failing to record a sack against the New York Jets in his Buffalo Bills debut? Fans aren't going to be patient in waiting for him to earn that $100 million contract, and they weren't too fond of his post-game complaining about the refs not calling illegal hands to the face by Jets tackle Austin Howard, who handled Williams very well.

Mark Sanchez's confidence. The Jets quarterback came out firing on all cylinders against the Bills last week, tossing three touchdowns to one interception and amassing 266 yards. He looked very confident at home against a divisional rival. Can he carry that attitude into Pittsburgh? He's been pretty good at the Steelers in two games, though the Jets fell to Pittsburgh in the teams' last meeting -- an AFC Championship bout in 2010.

Sanchez strolling in the end zone

Patriots' run-vs.-pass ratio. The Patriots ran the ball 35 times to its 32 pass plays, and second-year tailback Stevan Ridley didn't disappoint, gaining 125 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts. The run-heavy (relative to New England) approach is interesting given the Patriots' usual weapons in the passing attack. You wonder if a not-as-good-as-usual offensive line in pass protection is the reason.

Ryan Tannehill's batted passes. The Miami Dolphins' rookie signal-caller had a plethora of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the team's season-opening loss to the Houston Texans. Two of his three picks, in fact, were off of batted passes. His low release point is something that could be an issue, as the Dolphins are trying to complete short passes in giving him confidence. That can't happen if opposing defenders are ready to swat everything down.

Emergence of C.J. Spiller. Fred Jackson, the Buffalo Bills' starting running back, injured his knee against the Jets, opening the door for Spiller to take the full-time reigns for at least the next four weeks. Spiller gained more than 160 yards rushing against the Jets, including a touchdown run that covered more than half the field. He's hard to take down once he gets steam, simply because he's just too fast. Another big game could further complicate Buffalo's tailback situation when Jackson returns.

Hightower/Jones tandem. Rookie front-seven defenders Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones, both drafted in the first round by the Patriots, wasted no time proving their worth last week. The pair teamed up for 10 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a touchdown. This will be a beastly pair for years to come, and they should entertain against Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb and his mediocre offensive line.


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