There was only one winner in the AFC East this week, and that team did not even have to play a game to be victorious. The New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets all lost this week. This allowed the Buffalo Bills to maintain sole possession of the division lead while on a bye.
New England Patriots 4-6:
The Patriots lost to the Houston Texans 27-20 this week. Deshaun Watson was too much for the Patriots, throwing for 344 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. This makes it highly unlikely that the Patriots will repeat as division champs, being three games behind with only six games to play.
Next up for the Patriots:
All is not lost for New England. They are still in the hunt for a Wild Card berth. The quest for the postseason this week puts the Patriots up against the (6-4) Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST. The Cardinals are loaded with weapons and are coming off of a tough primetime loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Belichick will need to have a plan to stop Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and company in order to keep their season relevant.
Buffalo Bills 7-3:
Next up for the Bills:
The first place Bills will return from its bye-week to take on the (3-7) Los Angeles Chargers at 1:00 p.m. EST on Sunday. The Bills can’t just look at the Chargers record and assume this will be an easy home game. The Chargers lead the league in losses by eight points or less. This indicates that the Chargers are much more competitive than their record suggests. Buffalo needs to continue winning to outpace the Dolphins that remain on their heels.
New York Jets 0-10:
The Jets made this a game but in the end, the result was the same as it has been all season. The Jets lost to the Chargers 34 -28. Justin Herbert had another game that keeps him as the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Herbert threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns. The loss has officially eliminated the Jets from playoff contention.
Next up for the Jets:
The first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft! Okay, it might too early to say that officially. On a serious note, the Jets will have a divisional matchup against the (6-4) Dolphins at 1:00 p.m. EST at MetLife Stadium. This game gives the Jets plenty to play for. A win would allow Adam Gase to deliver a significant blow to the postseason chances of his former employer. If the Jets only win one game this season, this game would be the one they would want the most.
Miami Dolphins 6-4:
Miami was on a roll, winning five games in a row. However, the Dolphins lost to the Denver Broncos 20-13 in a game where they were favored. For a team that was so hot, this loss raised many questions. Tua Tagovailoa could not move the offense and that led to a decision to bench him in the fourth quarter. The offensive line struggled to hold protection all day and the running game was pedestrian yet again.
Are the Dolphins a true playoff competitor?
Do the Dolphins have enough to take the divisional title?
Can Tua continue to lead the Dolphins this season?
Next up for the Dolphins:
How Miami responds in their upcoming games will go a long way to answering those questions. This all starts with the game against the winless Jets at 1:00 p.m. EST. The Dolphins can use this game to get back on track and rebuild momentum for a playoff push.
This week will be Miami’s first must-win game of the season. Losing this game may make it practically impossible to make playoffs and much less win the division if Buffalo continues to roll. The loss to Denver might have been exactly what the Dolphins needed to make this playoff push.