AFC East Buzz: Aaron Rodgers, Bailey Zappe, Bills still believe, and Dolphins news

News around the AFC East this week includes a potential Aaron Rodgers return and will Bailey Zappe get the nod over Mac Jones in Week 13 for the Patriots?

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets
Miami Dolphins v New York Jets / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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The AFC East hasn’t panned out as the division forecasted prior to the season, but the two top teams can still make some noise in the AFC while the bottom two teams are dominating the headlines with quarterback news.

With Aaron Rodgers joining the New York Jets in the offseason, the AFC East looked to be a three-team race with Mac Jones and the New England Patriots at least competitive (we’ll talk about them later), but once Rodgers went down with what was believed to be a season-ending Achilles injury in the first game of the 2023 NFL season, the Jets were back to being the Jets…at least offensively.

In what was presented as another opportunity for Zach Wilson to show improvement turned into more frustration offensively for the Jets.  At 4-7, there was a chance for Gang Green to make some noise in the AFC East, but they just couldn’t score enough points, which leads back to what if Rodgers was the quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers still has his goals set on returning in 2023 (if Jets are in playoff contention)

While any type of playoff push may be out the window, Jets fans could still see Rodgers on the field in 2023.  In making a speedy recovery from repair of his torn Achilles tendon, the 40-year-old quarterback has returned to the practice field and is not ruling out leading the Jets in real game action if the team climbs back in the playoff race.

"Do you know my history?" Rodgers said, via the team’s official site. "It's never been a why try. It's been why not? From September 12, my goal was to come back to the practice field and try and play. Obviously, that was contingent on my health and also our team being in position to make a run. That's why I worked so hard for those 77 days is to get back on the field, get back out there with the guys, and I love to compete. So for me, it's wanting so badly to be out there and also to inspire other people to attack the rehab a little bit differently."

In admitting he wouldn’t be 100 percent healthy if he was back on the field before the season ended, Rogers went on to say the team wouldn’t risk it if they were out of contention.  If the Jets can get wins against the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans in coming weeks, talk of a Rodgers return may increase, but for now it looks like the Jets should just set their eyes on the 2024 NFL season with a health Aaron Rodgers.