Monday, January 18, 2021

AFC East Watch Week 10: Bills lose heartbreaker

Another AFC East Watch and another Dolphins victory. It’s been a while since we were 6-3 and filled with quite this much hope. It was a mixed back for the rest of the AFC East with the Patriots winning, the Bills losing, and the Jets having their best weekend of the season so far.

AFC East Watch: Miami Dolphins

It was another great win for the Dolphins with a 29-21 home win against the LA Chargers. While the Chargers may not be the toughest team in the league they represent a good challenge with all of their losses having been by 1 score. They’ve had some rally wrenching late defeats but this wasn’t one of them.

The scoreline really doesn’t do this one justice as the Dolphins always looked in control from the moment Andrew Van Ginkel blocked the Chargers opening series punt. But for a fumbled snap from Ted Karras the Dolphins likely would’ve been 21-0 up and cruising in the second quarter.

It’s a win that is very reminiscent of what we’ve seen from the Patriots over the last too-many years. Efficient. Building the lead and then just milking it out for a nice comfortable win and then on to the next game.

AFC East Watch: Xavien Howard added another interception to his stellar season (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AFC East Watch: Xavien Howard added another interception to his stellar season (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

It also marked the first of the two occasions this season where Tua Tagovailoa will play against fellow first-round draft picks. Tua was the more efficient, and Herbert made the only turnover of the game as Tua moved to 3-0 on his early rookie record and continued to justify the Dolphins using their first pick on him.

AFC East Watch: New York Jets

In what was easily the Jets best weekend of the season so far, they had a bye.

AFC East Watch: Buffalo Bills

The Josh Allen hype train has certainly taken some bumps and bruises recently, excluding the Seahawks game, as he has been much less consistent than in those first four or so weeks. While I’m not saying the Bills are over-rated, it should be noted that five of their seven wins have been in one score games.

That’s not to say the Bills aren’t good, and the favourites to take the AFC East crown, it’s just to point out that if you can get to Josh Allen the Bills are still very beatable. Heck the Jets played them within a score three weeks ago. With a net point differential of just +7, it shows you just how close a lot of these games have been.

AFC East Watch...Bills lose with 2 seconds remaining to DeAndre Hopkins Hail Mary catch
AFC East Watch…Bills lose with 2 seconds remaining to DeAndre Hopkins Hail Mary catch

This weeks heartbreaker showed just how on a knife edge the game of football can be, as Kyler Murray and the Cardinals led with 40 seconds left, trailed with 36 seconds left, and then re-took the lead with 2 seconds remaining. It was a poor final play from the Bills and may affect some of the positivity surrounding their players up to now this season.

AFC East Watch: New England Patriots

Oh how I would love to predict that the sky is falling in New England, but this week we saw more evidence that Bill Belichick lives. The doom-sayers have been writing the end of the dynasty for the Patriots and while there is no question the level of play, and at times effort, has definitely declined this season, a win over the Ravens should serve as a warning to everyone.

The Patriots continue to be a force and anyone under-estimating them would do well to rewatch this game. New England will only go as far as Cam Newton can take them, and while he’s not the QB he was at his prime, and his accuracy issues remain, he can still lead them to 9 or 10 wins this season.

AFC East Watch: Don't write off the Patriots just yet. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
AFC East Watch: Don’t write off the Patriots just yet. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The demise of Bill Belichick doesn’t appear to be on the horizon just yet, and if the Patriots can add a legitimate QB threat to their roster for next season, the dip may not last too long.

Luckily the Dolphins are turning their own ship around faster and are definitely on a good trajectory relative to the Patriots.

So let’s round off with how the division stands heading into week 11.

AFC EASTWLTPCTPFPADIFFHOMEROADDIVSTRK
Buffalo730.70027226574-1-03-2-04-0-0L1
Miami630.667251182693-2-03-1-01-2-0W5
New England450.444189211-223-2-01-3-02-1-0W2
N.Y. Jets090.000121268-1470-5-00-4-00-4-0L9

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