Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC East blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join James Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Hello, everyone. It's another big week in the AFC East. Let's discuss.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How do you think that the Miami Dolphins will do on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Giants?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Not good, Chris. I think last week's loss to Denver really took a toll on that locker room. The Dolphins pretty much had the game in the bag. I don't see them getting the energy back up to pull an upset against a better team like the Giants, who are coming off the bye. It may be a while before Miami wins its first game.
James, the Jets win vs the Chargers is their most impressive so far this year. The D looks better and the O-Line play as well. Are the Jets starting to turn their season around or do they just matchup well vs SD and will be back to looking like a .500 team? Thanks.
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Rachel, thanks for checking in again. I do like what I see from the Jets. NY is going back to the physical brand of football that Rex Ryan is known for and it's worked. Really, I don't know why the Jets thought they were a air-it-out team in the first place. The next two weeks are huge against Buffalo and New England. It's two division games that could put the Jets right back in the playoff race, or knock them out.
Joe (St. Louis)
Whats up with Kyle Williams..? It doesn't look like the Bills injuries have healed much after the bye.
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Kyle is going to be out for a bit. He tried to play through his foot injury since training camp but wasn't the same player. So Buffalo wants him to get close to 100 percent. I don't know for sure, but I would assume Williams hurt his foot worse by continuing to play on it.
How can you keep the Sanchez-Fitz-Henne/Moore Watch going? The only time Sanchez wins is when Fitz is on bye week. Time to pick a new subject...
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Okay. Next week we will go with the "Sanchez-Fitz-Losman Watch." Sounds good?
Tom (Ft Lauderdale)
Hey James, I don't get why a lot of Dolfans want our team to 'Suck for Luck' when 1. There's no guarantee he'll come out., 2. There's always a chance he is not as good as everyone says he is and 3. We have much bigger issues than the QB position. Luck will not solve all our problems.
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Tom, I understand it. The Dolphins have other issues but QB is the quickest way to turn a team around. Look at the Colts with and without Peyton Manning. That's how important the position is. If the Dolphins get Luck, and he's the stud most people expect, Miami can work with its other deficencies. A new QB and head coach are needed in Miami in 2012.
Joe (St. Louis)
What do you think the Bills chances are of sweeping both the Jets and Dolphins and being 5-0 in the division going into New England the last game of the year.?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Buffalo has a good chance to sweep the Dolphins. But I don't know about the Jets. Those games are going to be great, and I think they can go either way. Jets at Bills in two weeks is gonna be bigger than most people think. I will be in Buffalo to cover that game, BTW.
James! It has been a while my man. Just wanted to stop by and congratulate you on the move to the AFC East. You've been doing a fantastic job, and we are certainly happy to have you. Keep up the great work my friend and I hope all is well!
James Walker (4:13 PM)
Steiny! Where you been? Thanks for the kind words. The blog and Miami are treating me well.
bill (allentown, pa)
any chance miami doesnt take andrew luck and looks to grab a QB through trade or free agency this off-season?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
If they can get Andrew Luck, they will take Andrew Luck. The only way I don't see that happening is if he gets injured between now and April.
James,Does Buffalo come out this week and pound Washington? Surely that Giants loss is still fresh on their minds.
James Walker (4:16 PM)
This game is going to come down to Buffalo's defense. Has it improved from what we saw before the bye? If not, the Bills are always going to be in shootouts and close games, because the offense will move the ball but the defense will give it right back. If the defense is better, the Bills should win. Otherwise, it will come down to the final five minutes like it usually does for Buffalo.
Do you expect the Bills to improve on defense against the Redskins now that their best WR and RB are out?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
That's a hard question, Drew. I saw a lot wrong with Buffalo's defense against the Giants. When it can't force turnovers, the Bills look pretty helpless on that side of the ball. But Washington with injuries and a QB change is a favorable matchup. If Buffalo can't stop them, the Bills will have trouble stopping anyone.
Eric (Princeton, NJ)
JW--is it possible that Brian Daboll had the Browns' offensive strengths figured out better than Pat Shurmur? BTW, that very though makes me cringe.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Eric, for all the complaints in Cleveland about Daboll, I haven't seen any improvement in the Browns' offense this year. In many ways, it has regressed. At least Daboll knew how to get the best out of Peyton Hillis. I know he's hurt now, but even when healthy Shurmur seems reluctant to use him and wants to dink and dunk down the field 61 times. I don't know what Cleveland is trying to accomplish offensively.
the hooded genius (CT, New England)
Who do you think is the head coach in MIA next year? Who would your choice be?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
My choice for Miami would be Bill Cowher. The Dolphins need a big name who is established. But there's no promise that Miami will land the top guy on the market. There may be a team or two with a better roster and situation that Cowher will take instead if he comes back.
Travis (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Bills 11-5 with the 3 other losses @ NYJ, NE and SD. Will that be good enough for the wild card with so many AFC teams in the hunt?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Yes, 11-5 will be good enough for the wild card. I think 10 wins and a tiebreaker does the trick. But 11-5 is going to be tough in this division, Travis.
James...who is the best team in the AFC East right now? Who do you expect to be at the end of the year?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
I get in trouble every time I say this, but the Patriots are the clear No. 1 team in the AFC East. Buffalo fans point to the head-to-head win, but that doesn't mean everything. Buffalo played better, at home, on that day.
JW,Nice to have you on the AFCE blog. What do you think of the Pats defense recently. i think they've started to turn a corner with their first win a close low scoring game. They finally won a game with defense.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
Yes, New England's defense has finally come around. I think the lockout had a lot to do with its slow start. Learning a new scheme (4-3) is not easy, and the Patriots finally seem to know their assignments. New England is not a top-10 unit, but it should be middle of the pack with the talent it has. If Mayo comes back this week, that will be huge.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Best & the Worst NFL Game that you have seen in Week 7?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
Best game was New England at Buffalo. Very well-played by both teams. Worst game was Denver at Miami. Very ugly game by both teams.
Hey James, I really like reading your articles and think you do a great job staying neutral. What are you thoughts and CJ Spiller's expanding role at WR? In an interview he said he is getting a full load of routs.
James Walker (4:31 PM)
I like the idea in the short term, but I'm a little worried beyond that. Spiller is a talent and the Bills need to find ways to use him. Fred Jackson is tearing it up running the ball. I understand the coaches' thinking with Spiller. But you don't want to go too far. Spiller might be the future at tailback. I say use him at WR until Donald Jones comes back.
Shawn George (Lakeland, Florida)
Do you think that Buffalo has a good shot of winning the divison this year?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I don't see it Shawn. I think it's New England's division to lose, barring a significant injury.
Hey James great work on the blog this year. Have you noticed the Bills to be an almost completely different team at home then on the road?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I wouldn't say completely different. But there are a lot of details the team forgets on the road. Turnovers, missed tackles, a lot of little things that add up. I think communication on offense is much harder on the road, as well, because of the crowd noise. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is always in the shotgun and has to do a lot of talking to his WRs and O-lineman at the line of scrimmage.
Garrett (Undisclosed Location)
We just signed JP Lose-man to help the "cause". James, do you think that the cause is winning or draft positioning?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
The Dolphins are trying to win. I just don't think they will do a good job of it. Miami will have a top-five pick. The only question is if it will be the No. 1 pick?
Do you think Burress is really back? Or was this one game where they were able to capitalize on the Chargers ineptness?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Burress is getting better. It will take him some time, and he's 34. He's not going to be the WR he was in his prime. According to the Jets, he's drawn a lot of coverage and that's hurt his production.
ed (boynton fl)
James, Carlos Dansby said fans that are rooting for the fins to lose r not real fans. I have been a fans my whole life 45yrs. The season is over wins can only hurt the team gong forward. PS he also did not know Tebow was going to take the ball in himself. Is he for real?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Players and fans have different perspectives. The players are thinking now and fighting for their jobs. Fans know the season is over and thinking long-term. There's a natural disconnect there.
JStor (Valparaiso, Ind.)
Do the Dolphins really need to get the number 1 pick to take Luck? The other bottom feeders of the NFL - Indy and St. Louis - are not likely to take Luck (since they already have Manning and Bradford). Picking third or fourth might be enough no?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
Trust me, the Rams and Colts aren't dumb. If they have the top pick, they will trade it to a team willing to give up picks to secure Luck. If the Dolphins don't give up picks, plenty of QB-needy teams will. Plus, the Colts may keep Luck for themselves. No one knows how much longer Peyton Manning will play. Even if he does play, Luck can wait three years and have a natural transition.
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Many have compared Luck to Manning. Why not have Luck learn from Manning?
Travis (Poughkeepsie, NY)
After Fitz gets his new deal who gets taking care of next, Fred or Stevie?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
I think Steve Johnson would be next. RBs are not getting paid these days. Look at Matt Forte in Chicago. Similar situation where he's productive, but the Bears are paying up.
Do you think Manning will be able to return to form when he eventually comes back? He's not quite as young as he once was, and there are a lot of other issues in Indy.
James Walker (4:49 PM)
If Peyton Manning's health is no longer a question, he will be fine. His playing ability won't be an issue.
If you had to select 1 young player from the AFC East to build a team around for the next 10+ years, who would it be?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Quarterback is the only position I would consider building around for the "next 10+ years." The career span isn't long enough in the NFL. Right now in the AFC East, there is no quarterback I would consider building a team around for that long.
James does the situation in Miami point to the need for a lottery-based system in the draft similar to the NBA? Rooting for your team to lose just seems...wrong.
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Miami is not tanking games so it's not an issue. Only the fans want Miami to lose. I don't like the lottery-base system. If you're the worst team, you should get the best pick. That's fair and simple. The NFL is built to keep the league balanced.
How many wins do you think the dolphins will be able to manage this year? Could they not win a game at all?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I think the Dolphins will win this season just by catching a team by surprise. It happens. But on paper, they won't be favored the rest of the year. I think they win at least one or two games. It's a long season.
danthefan1004 (Quincy MA)
Do you see the jets missing the playoffs?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
It's certainly possible, Dan. The Jets cannot afford anymore losing streaks or they are done. I think these two games against Buffalo and New England will say a lot about New York's chances.
Jeff (NY, NY)
Jets and Bills - the team that has the better record within the division will be the team that goes as a WC. What are your thoughts on that?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
That's not a sure thing, Jeff. Two teams from the AFC East could get in this year. But there are a lot of wild-card contenders in the AFC this year. Right now, I would pick the Ravens/Steelers second-place team and the Jets/Bills second-place team to make the playoffs. But it's early.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. Keep reading the AFC East blog for constant updates.