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Audibles: AFC East Week 8 Preview


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Audibles: AFC East Week 8 preview

October 24, 2008 4:05 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills (5-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-4), 1 p.m. ET

Eight weeks into the season, the Bills finally get to play a divisional game, and the matchup is more significant than it might appear.

Buffalo has been the AFC East's most consistent team, but a loss on Sunday would disrupt the lone constant.

The Dolphins have lost two straight, but they proved with back-to-back victories over the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers that they can compete against anybody.

Sunday's outcome will come down to the run game. The Dolphins are concerned about Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, and it doesn't look like they'll have nose tackle Jason Ferguson, who suffered an oblique injury and barely has practiced this week.

Miami's success has been dictated by a run-first-pass-when-convenient philosophy. The Baltimore Ravens eliminated Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams last Sunday, and the Dolphins simply don't have any gamebreakers in the passing game to compensate.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) at New York Jets (3-3), 1 p.m. ET

The Jets desperately need to win. They emerged from their Week 5 bye with the NFL's most enviable upcoming schedule. They kept the Cincinnati Bengals winless and then had games against the Oakland Raiders, Bills (it looked like a potential showdown for first place at the time) and St. Louis Rams.

The Jets fell to the Raiders in overtime and the Rams aren't the same team they were two weeks ago.

If the Jets want to keep pace in the division, they need to handle the Chiefs, who are having trouble at quarterback and running back and in the front office. A loss would drop the Jets below .500 with only nine games to play.

The Jets have been concentrating more on establishing a ground attack behind Thomas Jones in recent weeks, and Sunday should fall in line.

Kansas City ranks 31st in total defense, dead last in rushing defense and 13th in passing defense because opponents don't throw in the second half.

St. Louis Rams (2-4) at New England Patriots (4-2), 1 p.m. ET

Welcome to the Anybody's Guess Bowl presented by Dow Jones.

The Patriots have experienced wild swings. They haven't won or lost consecutive games since Weeks 1 and 2. They have either scored or surrendered at least 30 points their past four games.

While the Rams are pulling themselves together under new coach Jim Haslett, the Patriots are losing players left and right.

In the past week, they've placed running back Laurence Maroney and safety Rodney Harrison on season-ending injured reserve. Running back Sammy Morris probably won't play because he hurt his knee after rolling up 138 yards in the first half of Monday night's victory over the Denver Broncos. Several other injuries dot the roster.

But the Patriots are coming off their most dominant overall game of the season -- most points scored and fewest allowed. They ran for 257 yards and looked equally devastating with Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis once Morris was out of the game.

The Rams rank 30th in run defense, giving up an average of 5.0 yards per attempt, 161.5 yards a game and 10 juicy touchdowns.

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