Around the AFC
Quiet Patriots. Given its history and needs, it was surprising to see New England not make a trade at Tuesday’s deadline. In the past, the Patriots have acquired Aqib Talib, Kyle Van Noy, Akeem Ayers and Akiem Hicks (and also traded Jimmy Garoppolo). The Patriots are gambling tight end Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy, receiver Josh Gordon can stay out of trouble and running back Sony Michel can return soon.
Broken Bills offense. Buffalo is last in scoring, averaging 10.9 points per game, but it’s not even close to an eight-game record for NFL futility. Since 1970, it is only tied for 27th-fewest. We covered the 2013 Jaguars that started 0-8 and scored 86 total points, but that offense looks downright sensational compared to the product being presented in Buffalo.
Browns reset … again. Coach Hue Jackson’s time ended in Cleveland after last week’s loss to Pittsburgh. He finished 3-36-1 with the Browns. Combined with his 8-8 year in Oakland, Jackson’s winning percentage of .205 is 218th out of 219 all-time coaches with least 40 career games. Who was worse? Philadelphia’s Bert Bell was 10-46-2 (.179) from 1936-41 but he also owned the team. The Browns turned to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as interim coach. General manager John Dorsey’s first call should be to Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley to see if he wants to reunite with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Cross-out teams. Teams in the AFC we’ve crossed out from playoff consideration because of their record, division and quality of play: Oakland (1-7; the Raiders quit on Thursday night), Buffalo (2-6), Cleveland (2-5-1), Jacksonville (3-5) and the Jets (3-5). The Broncos (3-5) are hanging on. Indianapolis (3-5) is still in because it is two games out of first place but have Andrew Luck. That leaves 11 teams for six spots.
1,000-yard pace. Nine running backs are on pace for 1,000 yards rushing, including Pittsburgh’s James Connor (599 through seven games). He should get there since there is no Le’Veon Bell resolution in sight.