There may be two games left in the season, but this race is over.
We now know that the Bills will win the division, the Dolphins will take second place, the Patriots will finish third and the Jets will be entrenched in last place as they have been for a while.
However, there is still a lot of intrigue surrounding these four teams. How high can the Bills ascend? Will the rebuilding Dolphins make the playoffs? Which players from the Patriots will be a part of their future? Will the Jets really miss out on the first overall pick in the upcoming draft?
New England Patriots 6–8:
It actually happened. To go back to the last time the Patriots lost the AFC East, you have to go back to 2008. To find a time where they lost more than seven games in a season, we’re in the year 2000. a
New England lost 22-12 to an injury depleted Miami team. The Dolphins were without their starting running back, wide receiver and tight end. Nonetheless, Miami had enough to end any slim chance at the postseason that the Patriots may have been clinging to.
Next up for the Patriots:
The NFL schedule gods have done it again. The Patriots will take on the Bills (11-3) at home Monday night. The storyline here is a good one, as not only were the Patriots eliminated in Week 15, but they were officially dethroned as AFC East champions. And on the very next week, they get to face the team that took their place with the entire world watching. A win by the Patriots could send a message to the Bills that they should not get too comfortable at the top.
Buffalo Bills 11–3:
Congratulations goes out to Buffalo for winning the AFC East division. The Bills took care of business as they have done for most of the year. They defeated the Denver Broncos, 48-19, last week. They were the only AFC East team to defeat the Broncos this season.
Next up for the Bills:
While the division might be clinched, there’s a lot for the Bills to play for. It’s a long shot, but Buffalo could still get the top seed in the conference and the playoff bye. The Bills would need an absolute collapse by the Chiefs for that to be possible.
Buffalo takes on New England (6-8) on Monday night. Considering the fact that the Bills are division champs for the first time since 1995 and the Patriots have won the majority of the titles over that span, the Bills will want to win this game to make a statement. Defeating the Patriots in front of a national audience would legitimize the Bills as contenders.
New York Jets 1–13:
The Jets have found a way to keep it interesting and provide writing material each week. Last week I wrote: “The bet will be on which number will be higher after this game; Donald’s season sack total or the Jets’ losses.”
Well, not only did the Jets defeat the Los Angeles Rams, 23-20, but Donald did not register a single sack in the game. That means that even though New York’s loss total held at 13, Donald did not surpass that as he has 12.5 sacks on the season.
Next up for the Jets:
The Jets will take on the Browns (10-4) on Sunday. And just like that, Dolphins fans become Jets fans for a day. The Browns are in their own division chase, but they are also one of the Wild Card teams ahead of Miami. A win by the Jets would end any chance at the top draft pick for them and also assist their division rivals. That just seems like something the 2020 Jets would do.
Miami Dolphins 9–5:
After coming up short against the Chiefs, Miami got back on track defeating the Patriots, 22-12. Remarkably, while missing many starters on offense, the Dolphins put together their best rushing performance in years. Miami rushed for 250 yards, led by Salvon Ahmed’s 122 yards and a touchdown. A running game adds a necessary element as the Dolphins make this playoff push.
Next up for the Dolphins:
Each week in December is a playoff game for the Dolphins. After eliminating the Patriots, the Dolphins will travel to Las Vegas to attempt to eliminate the Raiders (7-7). This is a Christmas weekend primetime special set for Saturday night. The Raiders are dangerous as they are the only team to defeat the Chiefs this season. Marcus Mariota might be the starter under center, but he looked good in relief of Derek Carr and adds a different element to the Raiders’ offense.
Miami will look to continue to ride their defense to another victory. The offense will hope to get many of their weapons back healthy which should also provide a spark.