The NFL faced another challenge in the attempt to conduct a season amidst a pandemic in Week 4. The Tennessee Titans suffered a COVID-19 outbreak in their facilities, forcing its meeting against the Pittsburgh Steelers to be postponed. The AFC East was directly impacted also and in a big way. New England Patriots starting quarterback Cam Newton tested positive this week and was ruled out of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Let’s review how the AFC East performed Thursday, Sunday and Monday.
New England Patriots 2–2:
With Newton out, Brian Hoyer got the nod over Jarrett Stidham for New England. Surprisingly, the Patriots defense kept the Chiefs in check and made them look beatable. Unfortunately, Hoyer made too many mistakes. Kansas City got rolling late in the third quarter and the Patriots switched to Stidham looking for a spark. While the rookie signal-caller looked promising early with a touchdown, he was not much more effective by throwing two interceptions. Kansas City defeated the Patriots 26-10 to become the first team to start four consecutive seasons 4-0.
Next up for the Patriots:
This game gave us a glimpse of what the Patriots would have looked like before the Newton signing. New England most likely will be without Cam next week again as they return home to take on the Denver Broncos at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday.
The Broncos (1-3) are suffering from numerous injuries and picked up their first win this week against the New York Jets. The Broncos showed some flashes of life Thursday but will need to be better to have a chance against New England’s defense. The Patriots will need a win to not lose any more ground in the race for the AFC East title.
Buffalo Bills 4 – 0:
The Buffalo Bills now have a two-game lead in the AFC East. The formula of letting Josh Allen sling it to his wideouts is working. The Bills are averaging 30 points a game this season. The defense is good enough that if they keep this up they’re going to run away with this division. The Las Vegas Raiders were supposed to be a challenge, yet the 30-23 Bills victory was not as close as the score indicated.
Next up for the Bills:
The plan at the moment is for Buffalo to travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST. This game could be in question depending on the Titans’ COVID-19 test results this week.
The time off could be an advantage for the Titans. However, the pandemic related activities could serve as a distraction for Tennessee. This game will be a battle of the unbeaten. The 3-0 Titans, while undefeated, have not looked sharp this season, but they have weapons to grind out wins. The Bills will need to find a way to take Derrick Henry out of the game-plan for the Titans. Tennessee is 10-0 when Henry has more than 25 carries in a game.
New York Jets 0 – 4:
This was another week and another loss for the New York Jets. They allowed the Broncos to garner their first win, beating the Jets 37 – 28. The Jets played their best game of the season but were undisciplined, racking up 11 penalties. The Jets picked off Brett Rypien three times and still managed to lose this game.
Next up for the Jets:
Things do not get any easier for the Jets as they return home for a 1:00 p.m. EST matchup against the Arizona Cardinals (2-2). Quarterback Kyler Murray is playing at an elite level and is coming off of a three-touchdown performance in the loss against the Carolina Panthers. DeAndre Hopkins, Murray and crew could have a big game in this one.
Miami Dolphins 1–3:
After four games, the Dolphins appear to be much improved from 2019. However, their record states that they’re only marginally better. Miami lost to another bonafide Super Bowl contender in the Seattle Seahawks (4-0) 31 to 23.
Miami’s defense played Russell Wilson better than any other team so far this season. His 24 of 34 pass completions for 360 yards, two touchdowns and one interception is respectable, but it’s nowhere near the MVP numbers he put up in the previous three games. Miami lost this game by a couple of mistakes on defense and an inability to score touchdowns in the red-zone.
Next up for the Dolphins:
The Dolphins will head west to take on the San Francisco 49ers (2-2) at 4:05 p.m. EST. The 49ers have been dealing with many injuries to key players. Regardless, San Francisco still boasts of the NFL’s 10th ranked offense and 3rd ranked defense.