The AFC East has been a roller-coaster through the first quarter of the season. The Patriots have been less-than-impressive by their own standards but are 4-0. The Dolphins got off to a perfect start but were exposed in multiple ways last week to drop to 3-1, and the Jets and Bills have been the good, the bad and the ugly yet both sit at 2-2 and very much in the mix.
The Bills have arguably the best one-two punch at running back in the NFL, but both punches have been recovering from injuries. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller were listed as probable and questionable, respectively, Wednesday as they prepare for the Bills' Thursday night bout with the Browns. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel will need at least one of his top backfield mates in the lineup if he wants to find success against a solid Cleveland defense.
Tom Brady has been without his top offensive weapons in Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen for nearly all of the first four weeks of the season. New England, thanks to stout defense, has managed to stay unbeaten despite enduring some major growing pains from its young receivers. Brady, however, found some chemistry with the youngsters the last two weeks, and the offense will be that much better off when the premier guys return.
Mike Wallace was known to be a bit of a diva during his career-opening stint with the Steelers, and things haven't changed much in his short time with the Dolphins. Wallace pouted after the Dolphins' Week 1 win because he caught just one pass but was ecstatic after amassing the most yards in a single game in his career Week 2. Miami is just a game back in the division and still considered one of the top teams in the AFC, but Wallace said Wednesday that he's "definitely worried."
The Jets are at a crossroads. They have a primetime matchup with the Falcons Monday and face the Steelers, Patriots, Bengals and Saints before the bye. Gang Green's post-bye schedule is very favorable, but they probably need to win at least two more games to have a shot at a late-season playoff run. That means there's already urgency in the Jets' locker room, which is without its top two receivers for at least this week.