Posted by SB Nation's Jason Garrison.
After the AFC North, the AFC East has been the second best division in the conference. It's not the Patriots and Jets that have been supplying the division with most of the wins, though. It has been the Bills and the Patriots. With their high-powered offense led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills have the lead in the division with the Patriots nipping at their heels.
Here is how the AFC East breaks down as we head into Week 9 of the 2011 season.
1. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
2. New England Patriots (5-2)
3. New York Jets (4-3)
4. Miami Dolphins (0-7)
The Bills have one of the top offenses in the league and a very opportunistic defense which they were able to put to use in their Week 3 upset win over the New England Patriots. The Bills are in the drivers seat of the division thanks to Fitzpatrick's arm and Fred Jackson's legs.
The Bills have one more division win than the Bills but the Bills win over them is holding them in second place, for now. The Patriots have one of the highest powered offenses in the NFL but they have been cursed with the absolute worst defense, especially against the pass.
The Jets started off a going 2-0 but then fell into a three-game losing streak before winning again in Week 6 and Week 7. They are led by a strong defense and even though they have one of the worst defenses in the league, they still find a way to win games.
The Dolphins are by far the worst team in the division and are one of the two winless teams in the league. They started with Chad Henne behind center, which is bad enough, but when he got hurt they turned the reins over to Matt Moore, which is even worse.
The Bills and Patriots are the two most likely candidates to win the division but you can't really leave the Jets out of the conversation either. If they really turn it on and go on a hot streak, they could find themselves in the post season too.
Of course the Dolphins are out of the running to make their way into the playoffs this season. Even if they won out, which won't happen, they'd finish with a 9-7 record, which probably wouldn't be enough to win a wildcard.
Predicted Division Winner: Even though the Bills have the lead in the division and they have already beat the Patriots once this year, I don't think they can do it twice. I expect the Patriots and their high-powered offense to go to the playoffs as the AFC East winners. It wouldn't surprise me if the Bills or the Jets made it to the playoffs as well as wildcard teams. Right now I'd put my money on the Bills as the Jets can be fairly unpredictable and inconsistant.
If the Patriots do win the division and go to the playoffs, I don't expect them to make it too terribly far because of how bad their defense is.