There has always been a gap at the top of the AFC East division but that gap is closing and there is a game on the horizon that could shake it up.
The last time that the New England Patriots lost the AFC East was in 2008 when the Miami Dolphins ran away roughshod over the league with the Wild Cat formation. Patriots fans will be quick to point out that they still finished with 10 wins and did so without Tom Brady.
This year, they have Tom Brady but they may not finish atop the division.
In our weekly recap, we look at the gap that is closing on New England.
Eagles at Dolphins
The Eagles were supposed to win but no one bothered telling the Dolphins who put up 38 points on Sunday and defensively holding the Eagles almost scoreless in the second half. Miami used DeVante Parker, Patrick Laird, Mike Gesicki, and even got a touchdown pass from punter Matt Haack to kicker Jason Sanders.
Total team effort. The Dolphins played well on both sides of the ball and shook off a first drive interception that put the Eagles out in front early. At one point however the Dolphins scored on six consecutive drives sans the end of the half kneel down possession.
For the Eagles, the loss will make it hard for them to get into the post-season.
Jets at Bengals
There wasn’t much that Adam Gase could say after the game because his Jets team S.U.C.K., sucked, sucked, sucked on Sunday. The Jets were so bad that the winless Bengals looked as though they were going to win the Super Bowl. First-time head coach and former Dolphins coach Zac Taylor got a Gatorade bath after the win and no team in the NFL remains winless.
As for the Jets, it was just another blow to a team that has a lot of talent and no coaching to speak of. Of course, Miami Dolphins fans know that experience all too well.
Bills at Cowboys
This game played out on Thursday afternoon while America was enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner. After the game you would have thought that Buffalo had won the Super Bowl. Yes, they beat up the Cowboys in a stadium that rarely sees them losing in on Thanksgiving.
The Bills played a complete game but it was the defense that really took it over. Dallas was held to just 15 points but it was never really as close as it seemed. The Bills offense didn’t put much on the board, 22 points, but it was enough to move them within striking distance of the AFC East lead.
Patriots at Houston
If you stayed awake on Sunday you had to go to bed with a smile. It was a complete destruction of the Patriots defense and offense. Tom Brady looked his age and Bill Belichik had no answers for what the Texans were throwing at him.
The final score was 28-22 but entering the end of the third, it was 28-3, a familiar score that the Patriots have been in before in Houston. The Texans however didn’t let up the fight and kept pounding the Patriots and Tom Brady. The loss to the Texans had an impact on the playoff standings as well.
The Patriots are now only one game ahead of the Bills in the AFC East and are no longer holding the top seed in the AFC Playoff picture, that now belongs the Ravens. A win last night would have clinched a playoff spot for the Patriots but they couldn’t close the deal.
Miami will face the Jets, Giants, Bengals, and Patriots to finish out their season. They realistically could finish 6-10.
The Jets remaining schedule is not going to be pretty for the “gangreen”. Next week they will be at home against the Dolphins, travel to Baltimore, home against the Steelers, then wrap the season up at Buffalo. It is very likely that the Jets do not win another game this year. That would land them at 4-12.
Buffalo has a shot at taking over the AFC East title this year but they are going to have play flawlessly down the stretch. They host the Ravens this Sunday and that will be a very tough game for them to win. They will then travel to Pittsburgh and New England in back-to-back weeks before wrapping the season at home against the Jets. Reality should set in soon as they will likely finish the last four 2-2.
New England isn’t going to cake-walk into the playoffs this year as they typically do. Next week they will be at home where they will face the Chiefs and their high-powered offense. Luckily for the Patriots the rest of the schedule isn’t all that hard. They will travel to play the Bengals, host the Bills in a tough match and then wrap the season against the Dolphins.