FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — First is also worst right now in the unpredictably equal AFC East.
The New York Jets, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills are all 3-3, a rare logjam this far into the season that has coaches and players unsure if they should be happy or concerned — or both.
“It’s good news, bad news,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “Let’s face it, we’re tied for first in our division, so that’s great. We’re also tied for last. It’s a little depressing.”
Since the NFL merger in 1970, this marks only the fourth time every team in a division has the same record after Week 6 or later, and first since the AFC East was knotted up at 5-5 after Week 10 in 1987, according to STATS LLC. The division was also all tied up at 4-4 in Week 8 that same season — but things were already a bit wacky because one week was canceled because of a players strike, and Weeks 4-6 were played mostly by replacements.
The only other time it has happened was in the AFC Central after Week 9 in 1985.
“It’s crazy,” Jets tight end Dustin Keller said. “The whole division is just crazy right now.”
The gridiron gridlock will clear a bit this weekend, though, with the Jets and Patriots set for a division showdown at Foxborough. The Bills host the Tennessee Titans, while the Dolphins are on their bye-week break.
“At this point going forward, they’re all going to be important (games) and the thing about football is the next game is always more important than the previous game in the NFL,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “So a division opponent is critical.”
Next weekend should shake things up a little more with Buffalo off, New England playing St. Louis in London, and New York at Miami in another AFC East matchup.