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 Walker Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Everyone is in first place this week. So it should be a fun chat. Let's talk about the AFC East.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
What did you like most about the Bills win? Was it by luck or just believing?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
I liked Buffalo's toughness. The Cardinals are not a super-talented team. But they win on toughness and wearing teams down. The Bills matched Arizona's physicality for five quarters and didn't back down. After getting pounded the previous two weeks, I certainly questioned Buffalo's toughness. But the Bills answered some questions on Sunday.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
When do you think that the New York Jets will bench Mark Sanchez & Start Tim Tebow?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Not happening right now, Chris. Sanchez was pushing to the brink of getting benched. But he's responded with good performances at just the right time. I think if Sanchez had an awful game against the Colts at home, the Jets would have seriously considered a QB change. It would have been Sanchez's third loss at home. But Sanchez had an efficient game. The Jets are going to do everything they can to protect him. But if he has another two or three bad games in a row, the Jets could go back to considering it.
Straight Cash Homie (Rand, WV)
Why haven't the Pats worked Shane Vareen more into the game plan? After Bolden left with injury, he could have provided a spark in Seattle.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
I thought it was interesting too, Big Homie. As you know, it's hard to get explanations out of the Patriots. But what I do know is you must earn the trust of the coaching staff. Stevan Ridley had to go through it last year when he was benched and inactive during the playoffs. My theory is Vereen hasn't earned that trust just yet.
Is New England vulnerable against the Jets this week?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
I'm not buying into the "Pats are vulnerable" talk, Alex. Yes, they are 3-3. But New England lost its three games by four points. I think, if anything, the Patriots are struggling in the final seven or eight minutes of games. That's the problem they have to worry about.
If you look at miami's schedule, they have a pretty good chance to go 7-3 by the time they get to the Seattle game. What do you think the chances are the miami wins 4 straight?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
I don't like to look months ahead when predicting game-by-game, Jacob. I leave that to the fans. It's hard enough predicting games each week. I went 2-2 last weekend, but I'm still (a stellar) 17-4 overall.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
I will say that Jets game coming off the bye week is huge. It's a division game against a team that already beat Miami earlier. Miami gets two weeks to rest and prepare for this game.
Thoughts on the "Tuck Rule?" Miami had a few questionable replays keep the momentum from swinging their way, but Wake's strip sack was definitely the biggest.
James Walker (4:14 PM)
The Dolphins had a few questionable calls that went against them against St. Louis, in my opinion. The sack-fumble by Cameron Wake that was switch via the "Tuck Rule" was the right call. But the rule is bad. I think it needs to be changed.
Mike (OKC )
Can the Bills stop Chris Johnson?...Did his last performance make him become a big enough factor that it opens the passing game for the Titans?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
This is a dangerous game for the Bills, Mike. The Titans, on paper, are a mediocre team. However, this team just beat the Steelers and had 10 days to prepare for Buffalo. The Bills are going to get Tennessee's best effort, which includes running back Chris Johnson. Buffalo better be ready.
Bret (Ann Arbor, MI)
Was Chan Gailey's play call with Brad Smith one of the worst you have ever seen considering when it was called? I surely think so.
James Walker (4:19 PM)
It was a mind-boggling call, Bret. Sometimes coaches try to outsmart the opponent and they outsmart themselves. But the Bills were lucky enough to survive it. So there isn't much to talk about with that anymore.
Chris (San Diego)
Why doesn't Danny Woodhead play more? He is my favorite player
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Woodhead has a role on the team and fits it well as the third RB. He will get more playing time with injuries, but otherwise he's best where he is.
Will Ryan Fitzpatrick ever live up to his franchise quarterback expectations?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
I never thought it was a good idea to pay Fitzpatrick franchise QB money last year before he earned it. It was a premature move. Fitzpatrick is too streaky, in my opinion, to win consistently. But the Bills like him and think he's the answer.
Matt (Stratford, NJ)
Last week I asked you if I should jump ship on the Bills. All I can say now, especially after the end of regulation this past week is "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!!"
James Walker (4:26 PM)
And I told you, Matt, not to jump ship. Fans should stick with their teams through good and bad. I know it's a lot of bad with the Bills. They haven't been to the playoffs since 1999. But if you're a fan, stay with the team you chose.
jon (ocala, fl)
Sanchez getting the raw end of the deal? his o-line is horrid, he is being pulled from the game for Tebow, his only "real" WR is out...
James Walker (4:28 PM)
These are legitimate points. Sanchez doesn't have a great supporting cast. However, it's been four years of excuses for Sanchez. I don't want to hear anymore. Sanchez needs to raise his level of play to improve the team.
matt (miami, fl)
i know its early, but based on some of Miami's top free agents for next year, who would you say is a MUST to keep and why? Thanks!
James Walker (4:30 PM)
I think everyone has a price. Jake Long would be first on my list. But do you make him the highest-paid lineman now that he's been injured and his play declining? I don't know. Hartline, Bush, Starks and Smith are all important players. But you can't keep everyone.
Still not enough credit for the Bills in my opinion. They beat a team that had won its last 9 at home, after 2 straight blow outs, and with depleted lines on BOTH sides of the ball.
James Walker (4:33 PM)
You want credit for the Bills? They gave up 97 points the previous two weeks. The Bills needed to win that game and they did. Now the Bills must earn respect by continuing to win. They can start by winning some division games.
Dan ((Somerset, NJ))
If NE doesn't win division who does and why?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
The Patriots will win the division, Dan. Don't worry about it.
Betty (New York)
Give me something to look forward to with my Jets! Puuullleeeaaassseee!
James Walker (4:35 PM)
The Patriots like to throw over the middle. Jets S LaRon Landry should get some opportunities to light people up.
Brian (Secaucus, NJ)
Your comment "With the exception of Revis Mario Williams is the most dynamic defensive player in the AFC East." drew a lot of criticism from Dolphins fans. Many think Cameron Wake deserves that title. Care to elaborate?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
I will have a blog on this later today. Check for it.
The Bills D-line stepped up against a horrendous offensive line in Arizona. Is it the jump start they needed to wake up the defensive line and play how Bills fans think they should be playing?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
If the Bills played against the horrid Cardinals offensive line every week. But the Bills are going to play against better groups. They need to keep that momentum.
Dan ((Somerset, NJ))
Who has best chances of getting a wild card spot? Miami, New York, or Buffalo? Why?
James Walker (4:39 PM)
I discussed the topic in the AFC East blog today. Check it out.
Kyle (New York)
James, you claim you have a 'stellar' track record when it comes to pick games.... I may be jumping the gun here, but this is a massive game between the Jets/Patriots this week, and im not buying that it will be easy for either side to come away with the win. Who do think will win, the risky underdog? or the expected?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
I don't "claim" to have a stellar record. I do have a stellar, 17-4 record. It's a fact. As far as predictions, I'm going to continue to wait until later in the week. Check for my stellar picks in the blog in the next few days.
Adam (West Palm Beach, FL)
How much of a role does Shawne Merriman have now that he is back in Buffalo or was this strictly a depth move by the Bills?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Some of it depends on how much in shape Merriman stayed since being released in the summer. The Bills will find that out this week. But all things considered, Merriman should fill Kelsay's old role as the defensive end off the bench. Kelsay and Williams are the starters until Mark Anderson returns.
James, what are the chances that Spiller sees more carries than Jackson going forward. He's much more dynamic!
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I called for in the first few weeks of the season. But the Bills are staying loyal to Jackson, a team leader. At some point, it think Spiller will make it pretty clear he needs more carries. It should be the case already.
Chris (San Diego)
Do you see Welker getting targeted less now that Hernandez is back on the field?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
It's natural to say yes. Hernandez is going to get balls that Fells wouldn't get as the No. 2 TE. But Welker is the hot hand right now, and it may be a mistake to go away from that.
can the fins go the whole year w/o any injuries?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
They've already had injuries to CB Richard Marshall, RB Reggie Bush and RB Daniel Thomas. But the Dolphins have been fortunate not to have any significant, season-ending injuries. That is the key, because Miami doesn't have much depth on its roster.
TakingMyTalents2SB (ATL, GA)
Why does Ryan Tannehill not get any of the love that RG3, Luck or Wilson get in the media?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
My column in the AFC East blog after the Dolphins game was Tannehill deserves to be mentioned with Luck and RGIII.
Jeff (NY, NY)
You wrote an article about the Dolphins trading a RB - what about the Bills looking to trade F-Jax? He's looking better, Spiller deserves a full time shot and the team definitely has holes to fill.
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Jackson is a 31-year-old running back who just got an extension and has been injured the past two seasons. Few teams would want to trade for Jackson. Besides, he's a leader in Buffalo's locker room and the Bills wouldn't want to move him.
any prediction on the Dolphins vs Jets in 2 weeks?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Let's see how the Jets play Sunday against the Patriots.
I still believe the bills are the second best team in the afc east. They are just having trouble bringing everything together. On paper they could be lethal if fitzpatrick can find a hot streak.
James Walker (4:54 PM)
A case can be made for the Bills, Jets and Dolphins as the No. 2 team in the division. That's why the debate is so interesting. All those teams have strengths and weaknesses. Jets fans can say their team beat both Miami and Buffalo head-to-head.
JMitch (Ocala, Fl)
Pretty gutsy call by Miami doing the fake punt... what was your thoughts on that play they called?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
I thought it was a bad call. It worked, so you can debate against it only so much. But a failed conversion there would have virtually guaranteed overtime with a field goal and maybe a touchdown by the Rams that would have lost Miami the game. The risk wasn't worth it, in my opinion.
Why don't the Bills run more plays with Brad Smith in the backfield? It seems like he sure has underwhelmed compared to the expectations they had of him when they signed him. I don't know if I should blame him or the coaches?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
Did you see the Brad Smith play in the fourth quarter? You want more Brad Smith plays?
Think there's any chance the Bills trade Spiller to a team in need of a RB while he still has trade value?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Don't talk silly, Kyle. Spiller is the best thing Buffalo has going on offense.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Thanks everyone for the great questions, everyone. Be sure to check out the AFC East blog throughout the week.