Here we are nine weeks into the NFL season, and what better way to summarize the year so far than to assign theme songs to each team in the AFC East:
Miami Dolphins- “Better Life” by Keith Urban
“Someday baby, you and I are gonna be the ones, good luck's gonna shine.
Someday baby you and I are gonna be the ones, so hold on, we're headed for a better life.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the Dolphins aren’t having a ‘better life’ right now. I mean, as the far as the standings go today, the Dolphins are tied for the top wild card spot in the AFC! I am simply saying that at 4-3, not only are the Dolphins finding a lot to be happy about right now, but they also have a lot to look forward to. Currently, their young defense is giving up 18 points per game, which is good for 5th in the league, and they seem to have finally found their future Quarterback in Ryan Tannehill; they even have some offensive playmakers in Bush, Hartline, and Bess. Granted, Now, Tannehill is almost certainly going to experience some growing pains (as well as some physical ones after he left Sunday’s game with an injury), but he has already shown poise in his brief career when it comes to learning from his mistakes and improving week to week.
So, while the Dolphins are certainly enjoying what most would consider unexpected success this year, they also have much to look forward to. After all they appear headed for a much “Better Life”.
Buffalo Bills- “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood
“Shatter every window ‘til it’s all blown away”
Despite being 3-4, the Bills still have reason to remain optimistic.
Most of the reason for their optimism is their very talented backfield (which currently ranks 4th in the NFL), which consists of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t been incredible, but he has been good enough to win games with the running backs that the Bills possess. The Bill’s problem this year though, is that half the time they can’t utilize their backs, because when they lose, they lose BIG. Their supposedly improved defense has given up over 32 points per game and given up over 40 points, three different times. It becomes hard to stick to a run game when, as Mrs. Underwood puts it, you’re always being “Blown Away” and trying to play catch up. Who knows, maybe the Bills could bring in Carrie as a defensive consultant? She obviously knows how to mess up Quarterbacks (See Tony Romo!).
New England Patriots- “Some Nights” by FUN
“Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck, some nights I call it a draw. Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle, some nights I wish they'd just fall off.”
Just take the word “nights” and replace it with “Quarters”. That’s the story of the Patriots season thus far. One quarter they can look absolutely unstoppable (see second half versus the Bills); the next, completely lost (second half versus the Seahawks and Jets). They have made a habit out of playing an awesome half or quarter to build a lead, and then watching their offense stall, defense struggle, and special teams choke all at the same time. The good news for the Patriots, is that they still posses the most efficient offense in the NFL, which they will rely heavily on to protect their young, injury plagued, and sputtering defense. Much like they did against the Rams this past week, the offense took over early, set the pace, and let their young defense have plenty of room to breathe.
In the end, if Tom Brady is still at Quarterback and Bill Bellichick is still on the sideline, it’s safe to say that the Patriots best ‘nights’ are still in front of them this year.
New York Jets- “One More Night” by Maroon 5
“So I cross my heart, and I hope to die, that I'll only stay with you one more night and I know I said it a million times, but I'll only stay with you one more night.”
This song perfectly describes Rex Ryan’s quandary this year. The Jets knew exactly what they were getting into when they traded for Tim Tebow this offseason. Rex, along with the rest of the organization, knew all along that if they struggled out of the gate with Sanchez as QB, all kinds of questions would be raised. Now that the team (and Sanchez) has struggled, and number #15 is still spending the majority of his time on the sideline, what do they do? If they stay the current path, they are spending over 2 million dollars and 2 draft picks on a personal punt protector. On the other hand, if they start giving more snaps to Tebow (even his harshest critics believe he is being misused), they risk crushing the confidence of Sanchez forever.
Either way, Rex has some serious decisions to make and they won’t be easy if the Jets continue to struggle. Bottom line is, if you’re a Jet’s fan, your worst nightmare is unfolding as we speak. If you’re the rest of the league, this is exactly what you were hoping/expecting when the NFL’s most intriguing athlete ended up in the big apple.