The Philadelphia Eagles are one of only three teams with a perfect preseason record. Coincidentally, those Eagles fans like myself who will actually watch the finale on Aug. 30 will see Philadelphia face one of the only three winless teams. The New York Jets have made all the wrong headlines for their exhibition futility - but the rest of their division hasn't been any better.
While the Eagles are perfect along with the Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers, the Jets have been winless along with two of their divisional rivals. The Jets, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills have all gone 0-3, which may be a sign that no one is ready to knock the New England Patriots off yet.
After their AFC championship last season, the Patriots look even more secure as the class of the AFC East for some time to come. The Jets had their window, but it appeared to slam shut on their fingers last year, and the start of this season has been no better. Meanwhile, the Bills and Dolphins are still perpetually rebuilding and haven't looked any closer to real progress.
Miami is being led by rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, so its goal this year is to just make him NFL ready. Buffalo made a splash by trading for Mario Williams, but it needs more offense - and former Eagle Vince Young is no longer a backup option after being released. And as for the Jets, the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow experiment hasn't yielded a single preseason touchdown between them.
For those who glance at preseason standings, the AFC East looks pretty sad, with the Patriots leading the way at 1-2 while everyone else is winless. But if the Jets, Bills and Dolphins are far below .500 in the regular season, it is all but guaranteed that the Patriots will be far better than 1-2.
The Eagles are in for a big fight in the NFC East, as they must contend with the world champion New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and the new-look Washington Redskins. As such, 3-0 records and perfect perfomances will be harder to come by for Philadelphia. Yet while the NFC's East may be ready to take its place as a top heavy division once more, the AFC's East is looking like it just has the Patriots and everyone else again.
Standings in August will undoubtedly be different from those in October, November and December. Yet if the AFC East turns out to look about the same as it does now, with the Jets, Bills and Dolphins buried far behind the Patriots, few will be too surprised. At the rate the Jets are going, it certainly won't be a shock if they are buried pretty quickly, even if they score a touchdown or two.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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