AFC East at a Glance: Week 3 Edition

Green and White Report's Nick St. Denis takes a look across the division at the noteworthy performances through the first two weeks of the 2013 regular season.

The Bills and Jets are in about as much of a must-win situation as you can have entering a Week 3 game. The loser will drop to 1-2 and 0-2 in the division and would further distance themselves from the Dolphins and Patriots, who are both 2-0. New England already has a pair of divisional wins in hand and will only improve as it gets its offensive weapons back from injury.

UPTEMPO DEFENSE

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin installed an uptempo offense last year when taking the reigns in Miami, and now his defense is catching on. The Dolphins are much faster in 2013 and are getting stellar production from a pair of free agent linebackers in Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe. The two have combined for 38 tackles, a sack, three passes defensed and four quarterback hits.

Miami looks to extend its early-season win streak to three games when it hosts the Falcons Sunday.

STAGNANT OFFENSE

The Patriots' usually high-powered offense has hit a wall thanks to a handful of injuries to its best skill position players. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been out, and No. 1 receiver Danny Amendola and top utility back Shane Vereen were both injured Week 1 and have been sidelined since. Tom Brady is completing passes at the second-lowest rate in the NFL. The defense, however, has been stout and is a big reason the Patriots are still atop the division this early. New England beat up Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith early and intercepted him late last Thursday in earning its second win.

New England will host former foe Darrelle Revis and his Buccaneers Sunday.

CLASH OF ROOKIES

The inevitable headliner of the Jets' and Bills' divisional bout is the duel of the 2013 draft's top two quarterbacks. E.J. Manuel comes to MetLife Stadium off a last-second game-winning touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson, while Smith tossed three interceptions in the fourth quarter in a tight loss to the Patriots. Both young signal-callers have been mostly impressive, with Manuel being steadier and Smith flashier. They'll be up against tough defensive tests given by Jets coach Rex Ryan and former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who now serves that role in Buffalo.


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