The AFC East seems a little tougher than one would have thought when the season began and the Miami Dolphins are at the top.
Buffalo Bills fans hate to see it, it will only serve to cry and whine some more about the design of Hard Rock Stadium. Poor Bills Mafia. They should just be thrilled that John Harbaugh isn’t the smartest coach in the NFL. They were pretty close to staying one game behind the Dolphins.
For now, the AFC East is a two-team race in reality but the Jets are not the pushovers they have been for most of a decade. The Patriots, well, Bill Belichick is getting an idea of what it’s like on the opposite side of the spectrum and everyone in the NFL is loving it.
After the first month of football, the Dolphins and Bills are tied at 3-1 with the Dolphins holding the top spot based on head-to-head…sorry Mafia, not really.
The Jets, who were expected to start 1-9 potentially, are at .500 and are one game back of the Dolphins and Bills with the 1-3 Patriots bringing up the rear.
This week, on paper, shouldn’t change much. The Dolphins could remain at the top and put another game between themselves and the Jets. The Bills will likely win in their return back to Orchard Park. The next month will be interesting as both the Dolphins and Bills have favorable schedules.
The Dolphins and Jets will go toe-to-toe and an upset win by the Jets will have a big impact on the division race. Miami could find themselves a game back of Buffalo or in a three-way tie with the Jets and Bills.
The Bills will return home to face the reeling Steelers and I would be shocked if the Bills gave up that game at home, especially with rookie QB Kenny Pickett getting likely getting his first NFL start.
The Patriots will face a surprisingly tough Detroit Lions team that has been in every game this year. The Lions can put points on the board and are no longer a pushover.
Miami will host the Vikings in a tough out-of-conference game. The Dolphins should be favored by there will be questions about the health of the Dolphins.
Buffalo will face a rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s the toughest on-paper game left on their schedule.
New York Jets will be tested on the road against the Packers.
New England will travel to face a Browns team that is inconsistent.
Miami will play on Sunday Night Football hosting the Steelers at Hard Rock Stadium. It will feature the return of Brian Flores to Miami.
The Jets will travel to Denver to play the Broncos.
New England will play on Monday night hosting the Bears.
Buffalo will be on their bye week giving the Dolphins an opportunity to potentially add a 1/2 game of separation should they find themselves remaining at the top of the division.
Miami will face the Lions in Detroit in a great game that will feature a match-up against the former interim coach, Dan Campbell.
The Jets will face the Patriots in New York in a game that could put the Patriots further out of the chase.
Buffalo will return from the bye week to take on the Packers Sunday night at Orchard Park.
The month ahead
The next four games will take us from early October to Halloween. The Dolphins, on paper, should be able to make a great run through the month. They will have two home games and two road games and face teams that they will likely be favored to beat.
If the Dolphins can come through this month 3-1, they will put themselves at 6-2 heading into November. If they can win all four, well, let’s take it week to week. Injuries will be key but so will the team’s preparation and execution. Regardless, they are in a good position to keep control in their grasp.