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Team identities: AFC East

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Four weeks of the season is enough time to get a read on what each team is known for. Around The NFL will look at the identity for all 32 teams after the first month of the season.

Buffalo Bills' defensive line dominates


The Buffalo Bills are a promising team held hostage by a limited quarterback, and it starts up front on defense. There might not be a better defensive line trio in football than Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. They are all stalwarts against the run and get consistent push in the pass game. Their defense remains a top-10 group despite the offseason departures of coordinator Mike Pettine, safety Jairus Byrd, and the season-ending injury to Kiko Alonso. The new Williams Wall and Dareus compensate for plenty.

Bill Lazor has delivered a new Dolphins run game


Ryan Tannehill has been erratic this season, but new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has delivered dramatic improvements on the offensive line. The entirely rebuilt group has been a pleasant surprise, and Dolphins runners have found gaping holes to charge through. Lamar Miller and company are averaging five yards per carry, fifth in the NFL. That's a major improvement, especially considering Knowshon Moreno has missed two games with an elbow injury.

New England's offensive line is an embarrassment


Retired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia should win the inaugural assistant coach of the year award in absentia. The Patriots can't settle on a starting trio on the interior after trading away Logan Mankins. Left tackle Nate Solder suddenly forgot how to pass block. Both Solder and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer have been benched at various times. The Patriots are dead last in the NFL in yards-per-play, with pressure getting to Tom Brady and the team's running game quickly. Brady is struggling to lead this decaying offense, but the problems start up front.

The Jets are still riding the Genocoaster


Geno Smith's wild ride is different in Year 2, yet the Jets are still defined by their quarterback's inconsistency. The Jets move the ball between the twenties, but struggle in the red zone. They can play brilliant for a half (in Green Bay) and go on long streaks of three-and-outs (vs. Detroit.) Smith often shows great pocket movement and toughness, but his 4-5 head-scratching decisions-per-game have dragged down a team that no longer can rely on a dominant defense.

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