Monday, October 15, 2012

3-3 AFC East deadlock 1st since new divisions in '02


If you're a fan of any of the four AFC East teams, chances are you're pretty happy with the first six weeks of the season.

Why? Because your team is in first place.

Through six games, the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots have all registered a 3-3 record. This is an occurrence that has not happened in any division since the NFL established its current alignment in 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN.

Going into Sunday, New England held a single game lead over the rest of its rivals, all sitting at 2-3. All, except the Patriots, would win their games on the day, pulling the quartet into the rare four-way tie atop the division.

The most elated of these fanbases is those of Miami and Buffalo, the perennial also-rans that are undoubtedly pleased to be in such a position this deep into a season.

The Jets, who own the tiebreaker for the division lead on account of their 2-0 division record, must be happy that the AFC East race hits the reset button after a roller coaster start to the season.

Of all the teams, the Patriots should be the most unsettled by the parity that has suddenly struck the division. After all, their fans are accustomed to be ahead by sizable distance at this point and may start to feel the pressure that their 10th division title in 11 seasons could be in jeopardy.

From here on out, it's a shortened season with the division lead available to the team that is able to find its mid-season rhythm. But amongst the unprecedented uncertainty, one thing is for sure: it'll be an exciting race to the finish for fans of all four teams.