Week 13 was almost a clean sweep for all of the AFC East teams.
The Bills, Dolphins, and Patriots all handled business this week. The Jets would have joined the party also if not for the worst situational football defensive play calls in the history of the NFL that cost them the game and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams his job.
New England Patriots 6–6:
The Patriots are desperate and they are now playing like it. New England defeated the Chargers 45-0, which is significant because Los Angeles was known for losing close games this season.
Bill Belichick is known for embarrassing rookie quarterbacks and that part remained true. Justin Herbert had his worst game of the season with two interceptions and obviously no touchdowns in a shutout.
Next up for the Patriots:
The division title is out of reach this year for the Patriots. They would have to win all their remaining four games and the Bills would have to lose all of theirs, as a result of Buffalo owning the tiebreaker. However, a playoff berth is still within New England’s grasp.
The Patriots are playing chicken with the rest of the teams on the AFC playoff bubble and are refusing to blink. Week 14 will kick-off with a rematch of Super Bowl LIII. New England will face the Rams (8 – 4) in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The stakes in this game are almost as high as if they were in the Super Bowl. New England needs to keep winning to stay in the playoff hunt. Meanwhile, the Rams are currently tied with the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West division title and need to win to keep pace.
Buffalo Bills 9–3:
Under the bright lights of Monday night, the Bills continued to shine, defeating the 49ers, 34-24. Josh Allen threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns. This is the sixth time Allen has gone over 300 yards passing this season and the Bills are undefeated in those games.
Next up for the Bills:
Buffalo will take on the Steelers (11-1) at home in primetime on Sunday night. The Steelers are going to be a tough out for the Bills. Pittsburgh is coming off its first loss of the season in a failed pursuit of the elusive perfect season. Pittsburgh also needs to keep winning to hold onto the No. 1 seed and the first-round playoff bye.
On the other hand, Buffalo is hot once again. They also have everything to play for, because Miami remains within striking distance for the division lead. A Steelers-Bills matchup could also be a 2020 playoff preview.
New York Jets 0–12:
Winless teams find ways to lose. With 13 seconds left in the game, the Jets were leading the Raiders, 28-24. The Raiders had no timeouts remaining, on 3rd down and were at midfield needing a touchdown.
The Jets called about the only defensive play that could result in a loss in that situation. New York dialed up an all-out blitz leaving their corners out on an island and Las Vegas made them pay. The Jets’ 31-28 loss came as a result of Derek Carr’s game-winning touchdown strike to Henry Ruggs III.
Next up for the Jets:
New York played well enough to give a playoff contender a scare. Adam Gase has coached teams to improbable wins in the past. The Jets will travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (8 – 4) on Sunday. This game will be a chance for the Jets to show that the fighting spirit against the Raiders was not just an “any given Sunday” moment or if these are the same old Jets.
Miami Dolphins 8–4:
The Dolphins won an ugly game, 19-7, over the Bengals. While Miami hoped for a more dominant outing, a lot was gained in this game. If not for one lapse in defensive execution, this game would have been a shutout. Also, as tempers flared, the Dolphins coalesced even more as a team, which is something that could prove valuable on a playoff run.
Next up for the Dolphins:
There might not be a harder game this season than this one. Hard Rock Stadium will welcome back the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (11-1) on Sunday.
The Chiefs have an explosive offense. There are superstars at about every position on the offense and they’re led by two offensive masterminds in Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy. As a result, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs find different ways to win each week.
Despite all of this, the Dolphins still have a chance to pull an upset. The defense has only allowed 17.7 points per game to opponents. Only the Steelers have allowed fewer at 17.6. The Special Teams unit is one of the league’s best in scoring. Miami will need these units to continue their consistent play as well as a spark from the offense.
The running game showed promise against the Bengals with Myles Gaskin. Tua Tagovailoa also looked comfortable in the no-huddle offense.
Can the Dolphins build on that and deliver a complete game? If the answer is yes, Miami has a chance to hang with the Chiefs.