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AFC East Roundup: Defensive ranks

The Stephon Gilmore trade gives the perfect chance to talk defense.

At this point in the NFL season, we’re beginning to see what teams are made, as each AFC East team has four games under their belt. On Wednesday, the New England Patriots traded All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers for just a sixth-round pick after failing to restructure his contract. This trade gives us the perfect opportunity to take a look at the defenses in the division. With each of the four head coaches having a defensive background, defense should be the strong point of each team.

Leading the way are the Buffalo Bills who statistically have the best defense in the league. They already pitched two shut outs to start the season (Granted against the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans). This is a unit that has only allowed a total of 216 yards per game and shows no signs of slowing down. This should come as no surprise with the Bills returning the majority of their starters from a year ago. However, the true test of this unit will come on Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs’ high-powered offense led by Patrick Mahomes.

Even without Gilmore who started the season on injured reserve, the New England Patriots are still fifth in the league, allowing just over 300 yards a game. The secondary is holding quarterbacks to just 185 yards through the air and doesn’t appear to have missed Gilmore locking down opposing number-one targets. The area where this unit needs to improve is in the running game. Up front the team is allowing 122 yards on the ground, which ranks in the bottom half of the league.

For the New York Jets, their unit has been average in the league. The problem is that the defense is allowing 23.5 points per game, which is a tough task when you have a rookie quarterback leading the offense. The Jets were able to score enough points to down the Tennessee Titians but I am sure the defense would like to get that number down. One thing New York usually has is a great run defense, but that hasn’t been the case this season as backs have rushed for 127 per game.

The Miami Dolphins had a frightening defense last season that forced a large amount of turnovers and scoring points off of them. This season that has not been the case but a forced fumble did give them the victory Week 1 against the Patriots. Miami has allowed almost 400 yards of offense and 27 points per game. That is always going to be tough to beat for an offense currently missing its starting quarterback. The Dolphins’ defense does have the potential to be a top-ten unit in the league, but it will be up to head coach Brian Flores to rally the troops.