Even though the Patriots have a 4-1 record, there is a new leading team (at least for now) in the AFC East. The Buffalo Bills have surprised the league with a powerful offense led by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson. The Patriots, at least on offense, have looked like the same old Patriots. The Jets have struggled at times and the Dolphins have struggled at all times.
The Bills are 4-1, their only loss coming at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals and their top-ranked defense, and they're in the lead in the AFC East. They are 1-0 in the division, having beaten the Patriots at home in an amazing game that put them in the driver seat in the division. If they continue to do what they're doing now all season, they'll definitely go to the playoffs.
The Patriots are also 4-1 and they have two division wins but that one loss to the Bills has them in second place in the division. They have the best offense in the NFL but they also have the worse defense in the league, thanks to a terrible passing defense. The Patriots are still finding ways to win despite their defense and there's really no question that they'll make it to the postseason, but there is a question of whether they'll make it to the postseason as a division winner or a wildcard team.
The Jets are in third place in the division and even though they have a tough defense, their offense has let them down at times. They haven't been able to run the ball like they have been in the past and Mark Sanchez and the passing game has been just mediocre at best. The Jets will need some help at this point if they want to make it to the playoffs, especially considering how well the Bills and Patriots have been playing.
That brings us to the Dolphins, which is arguably the worst team in the NFL. Chad Henne's season-ending injury has taken the team from a bad quarterback situation to a worst one and without a running game or much of a defense, the Dolphins are in prime position to end up with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. That could be good news in a weird way because it could bring Andrew Luck to Miami.
With the trade deadline looming, here are some moves each AFC East team could make that would help them better their situations moving forward.
Team Needs: wide receiver, outside linebacker
Donald Jones is injured for the next few weeks and Roscoe Parrish is out for the season. The Bills have one of the best offenses in the league but soon Steve Johnson won't see the light of day and Fitzpatrick could find a hard time finding people open.
We all know that Brandon Lloyd is on the trading block in Denver. He could be very useful in Buffalo, helping Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills' passing offense.
On the other side of the ball, depending on how the Giants feel about their situation coming out of week six, maybe Kiwanuka or possibly Osi Umenyiora could be available for the right price. The Bills could use that outside linebacker/defensive end type of player to help the Bills defense get to the quarterback.
Team Needs: cornerback, safety
The secondary of the New England Patriots is the reason the team isn't in first place and it could be the reason that the team doesn't win the division or gets eliminated early in the playoffs. It's so bad that it has brought a mediocre run defense all the way down to the bottom of the barrel. If the Patriots don't get help in the secondary, they could be in big trouble moving forward.
Trade Possibility: Asante Samuel
The Eagles have dug themselves a pretty deep hole and it's likely that they won't be able to dig themselves out of it. They just haven't looked good. They're also loaded at the cornerback position and may look to put themselves in a better situation next year. Samuel could go for the right price and considering how much the Patriots need help and that they always have extra draft picks to throw around, they may try to make a move.
Team Needs: offensive lineman
The Jets need help on their offensive line, especially according to Santonio Holmes, to help move the ball down the field on the ground and through the air. It doesn't matter how good their defense is if their offense can't score enough points to win. The Jets have been one of the more disappointing teams at this point so far this season.
The Bengals don't have the greatest offensive line in the NFL but they have a solid left tackle in Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith at right tackle, who they have too much invested in to allow him to sit on the sidelines. Anthony Collins is the team's other tackle and barring an injury, he won't get time on the field. When he has played, he's been solid and he could help the Jets.
The Dolphins could attempt to better their situation next season by trading away players for 2012 picks. Incognito could be traded to a team looking to boost their offensive line play and even though the Jets and the Dolphins are in the same division, a deal could be made considering how bad the Dolphins are right now.
Team Needs: Quarterback
There isn't a team in the league that needs a quarterback like the Miami Dolphins do. Even before Chad Henne was lost for the season, the Dolphins could have used an upgrade. Now that they have Matt Moore, guys like Brandon Marshall are pretty much useless.
The Broncos have decided to hand over the reins to Tim Tebow after Kyle Orton struggled, passing Brady Quinn right up. I'm almost positive that if the Dolphins made an offer for Quinn, even if it was for a box of Twinkies and two free movie tickets, the Broncos would send Quinn packing. That would likely be good news for both the Dolphins and Quinn. Quinn would get a chance to jump-start his career and the Dolphins would get an upgrade from Moore (maybe).
The other option is for Carson Palmer, who would rather retire early than play for the Bengals anymore. Palmer is just sitting on his couch right now and he is by far the best option for any team looking for a quarterback. The only problem is Mike Brown, who has said over and over and over again that he won't be trading Palmer.