We’ve done the North, South and West, so you guessed it; it’s time to look at the AFC and NFC East teams.
Buffalo Bills 7-2 A
The Bills long awaited changing of the guard in the AFC East is happening. The Bills are cementing themselves as the new leaders, they’re two games ahead of the Dolphins and four of their long term rivals the Patriots.
Josh Allen is firmly in the MVP conversation, his 2587 yards is 4th overall and his 19 TDs is 6th. He’s spread those TDs around, 10 (ten) different Bills players have caught a score from Allen so far. Some questioned the trade for Stefon Diggs earlier this year, first round picks are always a high price to pay. But Diggs has proved his worth, he leads the league in both receptions, 63, and yards, 813.
A big game against the Cardinals this Sunday is a chance to prove any remaining doubters wrong. If they can get a win against Kyler Murray and co. they won’t be far from booking their place in the playoffs. -Bryan Dickie
Miami Dolphins 5-3 B
A 4 game winning streak has seen the Dolphins in the playoff mix at the half-way point in the season. With a relatively favourable schedule down the stretch, could we see post-season football in Miami’s horizon?
Brian Flores has the team playing hard and moving in the right direction. Particularly impressive was the way he outschemed Sean McVay’s offence en route to an impressive win over the Rams.
Despite a fairly tentative debut, Tua Tagovailoa arrived at the party in the Dolphins last outing against the Arizona Cardinals. Displaying poise, movement and excellent accuracy, the QB position seems to have been solved in South Florida. -Stuart Taylor
New England Patriots 3-5 C+
It seems a long time since the “good old days” for Patriots fans. No longer the don of the AFC East the Pats are 4 games behind rivals Bills and on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
The Cam Newton experiment has been a bit hit and miss; he’s in line for a career high rushing scores but he’s only thrown 2 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
The Patriots defence is still their strong side, but has taken a step back from last year. They give up an average of 24.3 points a game, 10 more than their average last year of only 14.1, which lead the league. Only twice have they kept teams below 300 yards, which they did in half their games last year.
I’ve learnt never to rule out a New England team, it hasn’t worked out for people who’ve done that. But at this rate, it may be time for the Patriots to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. -Bryan Dickie
New York Jets 0-9 D-
The only team in the NFL without a win the Jets, and this is putting it politely, suck. They’re averaging only 13.4 points a game and in 5 of their 9 games have scored 10 or less. They’ve only managed 300 or more yards in 2 games this term. They’re on a bye this week so at least they can’t lose?
The advantage of being the worst team in the league is the prospect of the first pick in the draft. Next years de facto top prospect Trevor Lawrence is hell of a prize. But somewhat of a shame after using the number 3 pick on current QB Sam Darnold only two years ago. -Bryan Dickie
Philadelphia Eagles 3-4-1 C+
The Eagles currently lead the NFC East at, *checks notes*, 3-4-1. This team has been plagued with injuries on the offensive side of the ball once again. Deasean Jackson and rookie Jalen Reagor have missed games, their offensive line has been beaten up and Miles Sanders also missed the last two weeks. Heck, even tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have been injured. The impact of the Eagles’ injury woes has been reflected in their production too. Wentz is currently leading the league in interceptions, is 30th in completion percentage and the team is 27th in yards per game.
There is a silver lining though. They can still make the playoffs by winning the weakest division in football and Wentz is still a solid quarterback. They were also a two-point conversion away from orchestrating a 18 point comeback against a far superior Ravens side in week 6. Having said that, it’ll be an uphill battle for the Birds in the second half of the season as they play the Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Cardinals, and Saints as well as each of their divisional rivals once more. If they can go 3-0 against the NFC West they should be able to scrape into the playoffs, but don’t hold your breath for any late season dramatics from Philadelphia, it isn’t 2017 anymore. -Owen Widdowson
Washington Football Team 2-6 B-
For a 2-6 team, I think Washington has exceeded expectations. They’ve played some tough competition and have shown grit and determination throughout. Chase Young and Montez Sweat show the potential of this defensive line and are looking like the building blocks for the future. There’s still a lot of holes to fill, namely at offensive line and quarterback, but this team is poised to take huge steps forward over the next few seasons.
But let’s get 2020 out the way first. Washington’s week 7 beatdown on the Cowboys has been their most impressive showing yet. Antonio Gibson had a monster day with 128 yards and a couple of touchdowns whilst Kyle Allen took care of the football. The defence sacked Dallas’ quarterbacks six times and held their divisional rival to just three points. Outside of that, and the week 1 victory over Philadelphia, Washington has shown fight and have remained competitive in a lot of their games, which is about as much as you can ask for from this squad. They’ve had a revolving door at quarterback and have not been blessed with consistency at all. Having said that, it’s been great watching Alex Smith take the field, regardless of the performance he’s had. He’s my Comeback Player of the Year simply for being able to take snaps in the NFL again after the adversity he faced. The 36-year-old isn’t their answer this season or onwards, but he’s a warrior that deserves respect. This team shouldn’t have high expectations, but that’s not always a bad thing. If they can put up a fight and come anywhere but last in the NFC East, they should hold their heads high. -Owen Widdowson
New York Giants 2-7 C-
They have possibly the best ‘bad’ team in the league in the last 4 weeks. After a rough first 4 weeks, they sit at 2-7, having won 2 of their last 5, but they also haven’t lost by more than 3 points in the last 5 weeks, even having played a very very strong Bucs team. This is a team that we can deep dive in to the stats on; They look bad, after the really poor first 4 weeks but they are on the up. DJ has 8 TDs and 9 INTs, not great but he completes 62.4% of his passes. DJ also lead the team in rushing, which is an issue but Gallman and Freeman have started taking the load of him and allowed him to run play action and pass more freely in the last few weeks but it’s clear they really miss Barkley. Slayton, Engram and Shepard look like a real threat out wide and the experienced Tate adds great balance to their offence. They have the 17th ranked defense, which isn’t terrible and in a division that is really poor, having a bang average defensive unit may well be enough to compete for top spot but allowing 378 YPG probably isn’t good enough, so they’ll need to reign that in for the second half of the season.
There’s not doubt their stock is rising and with a win against the eagles this weekend, if other results go their way, they’ll top the division. A C- minus for now but be wary, they’re getting better! -Jamie Edwards
Dallas Cowboys 2-7 C
Back in our Quarter Season review the Cowboys were a frustrating 1-3. With the offence lead by Dak Prescott on pace for a record setting 6000+ passing yards. And a defence that was leaving many looking for an improved version of “as useful as a chocolate fireguard” as it just didn’t cut it! Their only win since came to the lowly Giants and included losing Prescott for the rest of the season due to a horrific ankle injury.
There was hope that veteran backup Andy Dalton could step in and continue on a similar trajectory to Prescott. Wasn’t the case. Not only did Dalton struggle in his two starts ,going 43 of 74 for 1 TD and 3 Interceptions Both of the Cowboys starting tackles were lost to season ending injuries. The offence went from averaging 488 yards and 32.6 points a game when Dak played to 279 yards and only 10.25 in the games he hasn’t appeared in.
The one silver lining for the Cowboys is that there has been an improvement in their defence the past fortnight. Too little too late probably but maybe they’ll be ready for next year??? -Bryan Dickie