AFC East Breakdown: Week 13
By Brian Miller
(Brian Miller writes for Phin Phanatic, which is FSB’s Dolphins blog. Representing the rest of the AFC East are Musket Fire, The J-E-T Press and The BuffaLowdown.)
With 4 games left in the regular season, no one is walking away in the East. As it stands today, the Jets and Dolphins control their own destiny as both teams face off in week 17 and New England and Buffalo need both of those teams to drop a game somewhere. It’s the division that no body wants.
Looking back: The Bills thought they would find the winning edge back home in Orchard Park, NY. Instead they found a San Francisco team that didn’t care about weather or a cross country trip. The Bills after finally stopping their 4 game slide, dropped their 6 of the season after starting 5-1. The loss puts serious jeopardy in the teams playoff hopes.
Looking ahead: The Bills will try and get back on the winning road this week when they face the Miami Dolphins who were the only AFC East team to win this past weekend. The Bills however will not necessarily have the home field advantage as the game will be played in the frozen tundra of Toronto, Canada…in a dome. If the Bills have any chance of a playoff birth this season, it must win this game.
Miami Dolphins (7-5):
Looking back: The Dolphins once again faced off against an inferior opponent and needed all 60 minutes of the game to win. The St. Louis Rams was supposed to be a leisurely stroll but instead the Rams butted heads and the Dolphins escaped a mid-west road trip with a 4 point victory.
Looking ahead: For Miami the Buffalo Bills are a serious threat to their playoff hopes. A loss and the Phins can write off any post-season aspirations while a win sets the team up with two sub-.500 teams and then the Jets. Miami will have to win on the road in Toronto without starting WR Greg Camarillo lost two weeks ago against NE and starting LG Justin Smiley who was lost for the season in Missouri.
Looking back: It was the game that most fans worried about. Pittsburgh came into the cold drizzly northeast with the best defense in the NFL across the board and for the first 30 minutes it appeared that the battered Patriot offense was the better team. The Patriots could have left for the warmth of the locker-room with a 17-10 lead but Randy Moss dropped a TD pass in the endzone by himself. The Steelers took control of the 2nd half and the Patriots couldn’t match the 23 points scored by the Steelers. In fact, the Patriots didn’t score a point in the second half.
Looking ahead: This week begins the Patriots second west coast road trip of the season, a two-fer stop that begins in Seattle and ends in Oakland. The Patriots are not out of the playoff picture and should easily come home to Foxboro with a 9-5 record and possibly a tie in the AFC East for first. They need both Miami and NY to drop one game down the stretch to take the division. In the wildcard chase, they stay one game behind the Colts and Ravens.
Looking back: The Jets couldn’t overcome the arm of Jay Cutler and found themselves wondering what happened to the 2 game lead they would have had…had they won on Sunday. Denver put up 17 in the first quarter and the Jets climbed to with in 3 in the 2nd. Much like the Patriots however, the Jets got no closer. The Broncos posted 10 in the 2nd and added 7 in the 4th all the while holding the Jets to 3 2nd half points.
Looking ahead: The Jets are understandably embarrassed by their performance on Sunday against the Broncos. The AFC’s hottest team is a little cooler after that let down. They will travel west along with the Pats and face off against the San Francisco 49’ers who beat the Bills on Sunday. The Jets hold a one game lead in the AFC East and a loss could potentially put a 3 teams atop the division with 3 to go.