AFC East Breakdown: Week 15
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.)
A month ago it seemed like the division nobody wanted to win. 2 weeks left in the season and it appears to be the division nobody wants to lose. 3 teams sit tied at the top at 9-5 and two of those teams control their own destiny. Only one team, the Bills are out of it.
Looking back: The Bills held slim hopes of resurrecting a once promising season when they faced off against the Jets on Sunday. They kept the Jets at bay and rallied to take the lead late in the 4th quarter when a fumble that was returned for a touchdown slammed the door on their playoff hopes and their season. The Bills are no longer alive for a post-season birth and will now turn their attentions to the roll of spoiler.
Looking ahead: The Bills will travel to Colorado to face the Denver Broncos in an otherwise meaningless game. The Broncos need only one win and/or one San Diego loss to lock up the AFC West and while the Bills may in fact do their best to help out the Bolts, in reality they will be looking at possibly squashing the hopes of Patriot fans in week 17.
Miami Dolphins (9-5):
Looking back: The Dolphins are playing very solid defense giving up no touchdowns in the last 9 quarters or 3 games. The bad part is their offense is doing only enough to squeek out wins. On Sunday the Phins were outplayed by the 49’ers in time of possession by a 17 minute margin yet the 9’ers could only score field goals. It was yet another mediocre game from an offense who controls their own playoff fate.
Looking Ahead: The Dolphins will travel to the mid-west to face a Kansas City team that has only won 2 games all season. They will do so with the knowledge that it’s a classic trap game. The Chiefs lay down for no one and the KC fans could care less who is on the field, they revil in disrupting the other team as much as possible. This is as close to a playoff game as one can get and should the Phins lose, they will need the Patriots to drop a game as well to get their week 17 match back into their own control.
Looking back: The Patriots were the only AFC East team to dominate their opponent beating the Oakland Raiders out in Cali. The Patriots posted over 40 points but they still are no closer to making the playoffs than they were last week. The Patriots do have one thing in their favor and that is the play of Matt Cassel who is not cracking under the pressure of getting the team back to the playoffs. He only threw for 4 touchdowns and has Patriots fans saying “Tom who?”.
Looking ahead: The Arizona Cardinals will come to town in what is a must win game for Cassel and company. A loss by the Pats here would take them out of divsion contention and put any hopes of a wildcard in serious jeapordy. The Cardinals pose little threat on defense but their offense can be explosive. Patriots fans should start calling “Old Man Winter” now…just in case.
Looking back: 3 weeks ago the division belonged to the Jets, now, the Jets are struggling to win at all. It took a late defensive TD to beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after consecutive losses. Brett Favre has looked pedestrian over the last 3 weeks and will have to get the offense back into a winning groove before they final weekend arrives or they could be playing from behind.
Looking ahead: It’s a West Coast trip for the New Yorkers as they fly off to Seattle for week 16. The struggling offense will try and take advantage of a poor Seahawk defense that allows solid rushing games and sold aireal assaults as well. This is the tune up to Miami in week 17.