By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
The division seemed to come into a little better focus last night, as the Patriots went into MetLife Stadium and silenced the Jets, 37-16. The win gives New England a season sweep of the Jets and moves them a full game ahead in the standings with the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker in their favor. What that means is that in reality, the Patriots have a two-game lead on the Jets.
New England Patriots (6-3, 3-1)
Things looked grim for New England coming into this one. They were coming off two bad losses and the decisions of Bill Belichick had been questioned incessantly, while at the same time, the Jets seemed to have found their stride after struggling earlier in the season. The Patriots defense looked shaky on the first Jets drive, and the offense squandered a couple of early opportunities for touchdown. When the second half came, New England seemed to hit their stride on both sides of the ball, and pulled away from the Jets. Suddenly, things are much brighter for the Patriots, who were decimated by injuries but showed a ton of of heart and grit in earning this win.
Next up – Monday Night Football against Scott Pioli’s Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs defense, led by old friend Romeo Crennel may have some tricks up their sleeve for Brady and the Patriots. The Chiefs will be without QB Matt Cassel.
New York Jets (5-4, 2-2)
The Jets had no answers for Rob Gronkowski last night, as the Patriots tight end destroyed them all game. TheJetsBlog chronicles notes that the Patriots drafted Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to mitigate the value of players like Revis and Cromartie. They also note that the talk about Sanchez is starting up again, and they wonder if the Patriots provided a blueprint for beating a Rex Ryan defense. (Blueprints…awesome.) It’s tempting, but very dangerous to write off the Jets at this point. They’ll be back, and their schedule is almost as easy as New England’s down the stretch. Both teams could conceivably win out the rest of of the way, which just made last night’s game all the more important.
Next up – The Jets have a quick turnaround, heading out to Denver on Thursday night to take on Tim Tebow and the Broncos. This should be a win for the Jets, but the quick turnaround, high altitude and unorthodox style of Tim Tebow could throw things off.
Buffalo Bills (5-4, 1-1)
Are the Bills coming back to earth? They went down to Dallas yesterday afternoon, and got absolutely smoked, 44-7 by the Cowboys. On Buffalo Ramblings, they’re concerned that the Bills’ Passing Attack Has Been Solved. Trying to stay positive, they also point out that the Bills playoff hopes are still alive. There’s a good look at the AFC playoff picture in that post. What can the Bills do? Even though Fred Jackson has been a monster this year, do they need to play C.J. Spiller more? Still, despite the last two discouraging the losses, the Bills are still just a game out of the division lead, and having played less divisional games, are potentially in a better position that the Jets to tie up the Patriots. If the Jets stumble in Denver, the Bills could leapfrog them in the standings.
Next up - The Bills have a chance to improve that divisional record this week as they take on the Dolphins in Miami.
Miami Dolphins (2-7, 0-2)
Break up the Dolphins! They won their second straight game by beating the Washington Redskins 20-9 at home. They’re playing their way right out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Phinsider notes that Dolphins victories aren’t exactly a well-received notion these days. On the plus side, they may have finally figured out how to use Reggie Bush, who once again was impressive for Miami.
Next up - Miami could be looking at a three game winning streak as they host the Bills this Sunday.