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, AFC East fans. It was an exciting Week 10 of football. Let's discuss.
With D.Thomas back does Miami RB situation turn into a shared backfield or does Thomas emerge as weeks go on?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
David, there's no reason to rush Daniel Thomas in the "bell cow" role. Reggie Bush is playing some of the best football of his career, and it looks like the Dolphins' coaching staff finally knows how to best use his skills. With running backs, you often go to the hot hand. Bush is hot right now. Until that changes, he should get most of the carries.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How Could the Patriots Beat the New York Jets Twice & Lose to the New York Giants?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Every game and every matchup is different, Chris. Both the Giants and the Jets are playoff-caliber teams. But they have different styles. The Giants are more dangerous on offense because their quarterback and running game are more consistent. I think in both games New England took advantage of the Jets' incosnsitency on offense.
Hi James. I promise to save the " I knew its" this week so I can have a shot. :-) I really feel Sanchez played like a fool sunday night. He really needs to cowboy up. A special teams fumble here and a lucky INT there. No excuses though the Jets were outplayed. Do they bounce back for thursdays game in Denver? Are they the type of defense that will give Tebow fits? Thanks.
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Rachel, I wouldn't put all the blame on Sanchez. The O-line didn't protect and the D looked disorganized. But Sanchez had a chance to duel with Tom Brady and try to keep the Jets in the game and didn't come close. Sanchez simply isn't the type of QB who can carry a team on his back when other areas struggle. The elite QBs like Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers can do that. Sanchez is not on that level.
Rich (New Jersey)
With the Patriots two wins against the Jets, that puts New England in the drivers seat for the AFC East division title. Any chance the Bills or Jets come close to beating out Mew England or are they just wild card bound?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Yes, Rich. The AFC East is gift-wrapped for the Patriots at this point. That's the column I wrote from Sunday's game. New England's schedule is too easy for them to blow essentially a two-game lead with seven left. I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Patriots ran the table or went 6-1 the rest of the regular season.
James Walker (4:10 PM)
The Patriots play six consecutive games against teams with losing records. The seventh game is a rematch against the Buffalo Bills, who are 5-4.
Now that Schaub is out for the season will the Titans or the Jaguars step up and take the East?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
That's more of a question for our AFC South expert: Paul Kuharsky. But in my book the Texans have enough to hold on. I voted them pretty low on the Power Rankings because without Matt Schaub and Mario Williams, I think they're a middle-of-the-pack team. Still, the Texans already have seven wins and probably need three more to win the division.
Travis S (Jamestown, NY)
Whats wrong with the Bills? They have been getting destroyed against the blitz the past few weeks. Also, they have no blitz to give back! do you think its more of the sceme they are putting on the feild or the players?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Opponents have caught up to Buffalo's offense, Travis. Teams were playing back initially and allowing short passes and Fred Jackson to have running room. But the Jets and Cowboys were blitzing and attacking the Bills, while covering the WRs man-to-man on the outside. Buffalo needs to find a way to counter what teams have done lately. The blueprint is out.
Bill (Waterbury, CT)
Hi James, I would like to see the Bills draft a defensive end in the next draft. I think they need a pass rusher and I would like to see them go back to a 4-3 defense.. Your thoughts please....thanks.
James Walker (4:16 PM)
It's a bit early to talk about the draft, Bill. I think Buffalo needs several things, but most are on defense. A pass rusher would be great. It probably has to come from outside linebacker since the Bills play a 3-4. I don't see the Bills switching to a 4-3 next year. There are too many growing pains and personnel issues that come with that. Look at New England's struggles switching this year.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Were the Bills wrong to give Fitzpatrick that big contract?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
That will play out in time, Dr. H. I wrote when it happened that it's up to Ryan Fitzpatrick to prove that he's not the next Kevin Kolb. Quarterbacks get paid a lot of money and when teams make them the franchise, they have to be right. Fitzpatrick didn't have a long track record of playing great football for 16 games. But the Bills were confident in him.
Prince (Albany, Ny)
Is Buffalo making the playoffs realistic this year?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
The Bills are still in it. It just doesn't feel that way because of the beatings they took the past two weeks. These next two weeks will be crucial for Buffalo. The Bills travel to play at Miami and at the Jets. I think Buffalo needs to win both games to have a shot. The Jets-Bills game could be a playoff eliminator.
steve ambrose hotsaucesteve (asheville nc)
Thanks for the frequent coverage of the East!
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Hotsaucesteve, thanks for being a frequent reader. Glad you enjoy it.
Do the Pats really have a two game lead? Bills are only back a game and have a 1-0 advantage.
James Walker (4:24 PM)
The Patriots have a two-game lead on the Jets because of the sweep/head-to-head tiebreaker. If both finish with equal records, the Patriots win the division. New England only has a one-game lead on the Bills. I never mentioned otherwise with Buffalo and New England.
Although highly unlikely, would finishing the season 9-7 save Sparano's job?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
I can't even go there, Dustin. Miami would have to win nine straight to finish the season. They're two games there but still a long way to go. I don't see that scenario ever being a factor.
Am i crazy for thinking m Dolphins make it 3 in a row this weekend against Buffalo?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Every week people ask me for game-by-game predictions and I tell them I'm trying to avoid that this year. Should I change that? Do AFC East readers want me to make predictions every week?
Andy Hanson (Hollywood, CA)
Any word on Devin McCourty's injury? Also, why hasn't Belichick called in the safety free agents he saw in the offseason? Is Ventrone really better than an elderly Darren Sharper?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
McCourty has a shoulder injury. The Patriots aren't saying if it's separated or not, but it looks like he will miss some time. The crazy part is, I noticed Patriots fans aren't up in arms about this, especially compared to when Mayo or Hernandez went down. McCourty is really struggling.
Would the talk of firing Sporano still be this strong had they beat Cleveland and Denver? 4-5 right now would seem like striking distance enough to still make a playoff run.
James Walker (4:33 PM)
It's all "what if" at this point. But the expectation was that Tony Sparano would get this team over the hump and to the playoffs. Once the team started 0-7 the postseason was out the door. That's why the hot seat talk was so strong. There's no way he could meet expectations at that point.
Thomas (New Jersey)
Fitzpatrick is struggling and Matt Moore is playing his best football ever. Is Moore actually the better quarterback or is it just a bad two games for Fitzpatrick and a lucky stint for Moore?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
This is why he have the "Sanchez-Fitz-Moore Watch" every week. There has been a lot of debate before I got here and who's the No. 2 quarterback behind Tom Brady. So I decided I'm going to let the entire season play out before I make my decision. Ryan Fitzpatrick won the first quarter, Mark Sanchez took the second quarter, and one game in Matt Moore leads the third quarter. So we will see at the end of the year.
Andrew (Miami )
Does Matt Moore have any chance of starting next year. He has played pretty well so far
James Walker (4:40 PM)
This is always a dangerous situation for teams. It's easy to play quarterback when you're the backup, the season is over and there is no pressure. I'm not saying Matt Moore isn't playing well, but he's playing with nothing to lose. It's very different. I've seen it happen plenty of times before and the quarterback goes into the next season and can't duplicate that success. I think Miami needs to find a long-term solution in the draft or free agency.
Chris C (Florida)
Will the Pats win the superbowl?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Whoa, whoa, slow down Chris. Just last week, people were saying the Patriots can't win the AFC East.
Matt Moore (KC, MO)
Is the 'phins recent surge in point scoring more attributable to their opponents lack of D, or better red zone play calling/execution?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
The execution has been much better. I also think Miami's defense is playing better and putting the offense in good situations.
What do you think Miami would have to give up to get the 1st pick in the draft?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
It depends on where the Dolphins end up. Most teams use a point chart that I will put in the blog around draft time. But if Miami is higher than No. 2 or No. 3, the bounty will be very high to move up.
Jason (New York)
Is chan the problem in Buffalo??.. because it seems his playcalling has been off lately and he seems to be confused.
James Walker (4:49 PM)
The Bills haven't been sharp. But I think the players are being outplayed, first and foremost. The Jets and Cowboys have the personnel to defend the Bills. Chan Gailey's play-calling hasn't been great. But it doesn't matter if the team isn't winning its one-on-one matchups.
Does the new rookie scale make it tougher for the Colts to trade Manning... in other words, does the price become affordable enough that Miami or the NYJ might make a bid?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
I think the No. 1 picks becomes extremely valuable. A team can get Luck for four years at a bargain rate. That will be great for any franchise. But I'm not sure if impacts player trades.
What is Buffalo's biggest need on defense?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
The Bills need a playmaker. Maybe that's an outside linebacker who can rush the QB or a shutdown CB to help the pass defense. But I want to see someone who can make plays consistently on defense that can change a game.
Do you see the Patiots defense improve enough to make a deep palyoff run? What needs to be done, in your opinion?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
If the Patriots get a bye, and I think they will, they only have to win one game to make it to the AFC Championship. I would consider that a deep playoff run. I think it's possible for New England, depending on the matchup.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Can the Dolphins play the Bills the way Jets and Cowboys did, and have some success, or do they lack the personnel?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Miami can be physical at times but doesn't have the same caliber of athletes as the Jets and Cowboys. Miami's CB have underachieved but can play well when they have their act together. That will be huge.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. Remember to check out the AFC East blog and AFC East Twitter throughout the week.