The AFC East storyline for last week was a tale of the quarterback matchups.
There was a matchup of two quarterbacks in the 2020 MVP Race. A matchup between two quarterbacks that will be the future faces of the league. And a matchup of two former Rookie of the Year quarterbacks that were successful with their original teams but have struggled to replicate that success in their new homes.
New England Patriots 3–5:
The winless Jets are just what the Patriots needed. That might have been the thought going in, but after a 30-27 victory for New England that wasn’t decided until the final seconds ticked off the clock; it’s hard to think that they gained much confidence in the game. Cam Newton was smiling postgame but it will be interesting to see if that smile remains in next week’s matchup.
Next up for the Patriots:
The Patriots will be playing in prime-time for the second consecutive week. The Ravens (6-2) will be traveling to Foxboro for a Sunday night matchup. The will be a game between two of the best rushing teams in the league, as Baltimore is currently first and the Patriots rank fifth. The Ravens defense also is one of the best in the league.
Even though New England has underachieved so far, this is still an intriguing matchup. The Ravens don’t look as invincible as they did in 2019. Lamar Jackson also has a chip on his shoulder as people expected more from the reigning MVP. The Patriots have also played up and down to their competition. If they win this game, there could still be hope to make something out of this season.
Buffalo Bills 7–2:
Josh Allen got his groove back. Allen led the Bills to a 44-34 victory over the Seahawks. Buffalo continued to give up a lot of points, as this was the fifth time this season a team scored more than 25 points on them. However, their defense ultimately got the job done. The Bills had four takeaways and kept Russell Wilson uncomfortable all day.
Next up for the Bills:
The Bills will now travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals (5-3). The Bills may try to execute the same strategy that was successful with Seattle against Arizona. The challenge is Kyler Murray will be tougher to contain than Wilson. The Cardinals are also going to be trying to avoid losing a second straight game. Both of these teams are in tight divisional races and can’t afford to give up any ground.
New York Jets 0–9:
The Jets played like a respectable NFL team for three quarters. This Monday Night matchup between two teams with a total of two wins was actually fun to watch.
The Jets were up by two possessions entering the fourth quarter, and there was at that point in which it felt as if they were reminded to throw the game. The Patriots dominated the time of possession in the fourth quarter and Joe Flacco threw an interception that was equivalent to a punt with the first snap of the quarter. The Jets lost 30-27 to remain winless.
Next up for the Jets:
Miami Dolphins 5–3:
The Dolphins played in a thriller which resulted in the NFL’s game of the week. The matchup between Murray and Tua Tagovailoa did not disappoint. They both made mistakes, but they both also made big plays in a game that went back and forth.
This matchup ultimately came down to which team played better. In the end, the Dolphins’ defense and special teams provided the edge once again. Miami’s defense had another defensive touchdown and placekicker Jason Sanders remained perfect including setting a new career-long. Meanwhile, Arizona’s kicker came up short on a kick that would have tied the game potentially forcing overtime. Miami prevailed 34-31.
Next up for the Dolphins:
The exciting matchups continue for Miami. The Dolphins will return home to take on Chargers (2-6). Tagovailoa was drafted one spot ahead of Chargers starting quarterback Justin Herbert. At this point in this season, Herbert is playing well and is in the running for offensive rookie of the year. Many have speculated that Miami should have selected Herbert over Tua. The quarterback comparison will be on full display as they share the field on Sunday.
The Chargers have lost more games decided by eight or fewer points over the past two seasons than any other team. This makes them a dangerous out each week. The Dolphins are on the heels of the Bills but will need to extend the win streak to five games to keep pace for the divisional crown.