By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
Been a bit negligent in updating things in the AFC East, but after yesterday, it’s worth taking a look at where things stand in the division. With three teams sitting at 5-3, it’s time to study up on the Tie-Breaking Procedures.
New England Patriots (5-3, 2-1 in AFC East)
The Patriots lost their second straight game yesterday, and the only positive we can take from it was that it came against an NFC opponent, which hurts a little less in the tie-breaker scenarios. The Patriots are technically still in first place in the AFC East. The Patriots, Jets and Bills have played each other once, and it all balances out. The Patriots lost to the Bills, but beat the Jets. The Jets beat the Bills but lost the Patriots. The Bills beat the Patriots but lost to the Jets. The Patriots and Jets are both 2-1 in the division, having each also beaten Miami. The Bills are just 1-1, having not yet played Miami. Since the second tie-breaker is by winning percentage within the division, the Jets and Patriots edge out the Bills. The third tie-breaker is common games, and the Patriots and Jets are each 4-1 in games played against common opponents (Dallas, San Diego, Miami, Oakland and Buffalo), so we move to the fourth tie-breaker, which is winning percentage in the conference. The Patriots are 4-2, while the Jets are 4-3. So the Patriots are in first place in the AFC East.
Next game: At Jets, Sunday night on NBC. The winner of this game will be in first place in the AFC East.
New York Jets (5-3, 2-1)
After floundering out of the gate at 2-3, the Jets have now won three straight games, including yesterday’s impressive 27-11 win in Buffalo. The Jets defense easily handled the Bills high-flying offense, and moved past the Bills in the standings. The Jets are starting to regain their swagger – not that a Rex Ryan-led team would ever love swagger – and have to be supremely confident of their chances this weekend against a Patriots team that is clearly trending down at this point.
Next game: Home against New England. Jets are playing for first place, and have to love their position.
Buffalo Bills (5-3. 1-1)
After becoming one of the early success stories of the 2011 season, the Bills hit a roadblock yesterday facing the Jets. The Bills were over-matched, both physically and skill-wise on the field yesterday. Ryan Fitzpatrick had trouble finding his receivers yesterday, and only managed 191 passing yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Next game: At Dallas. This will be another stiff test for the Bills, with the Cowboys able to generate pressure on Fitzpatrick. The NFC opponent also makes it impossible for the Bills to retake the divisional lead, even with a win.
Miami Dolphins (1-7, 0-2)
The Dolphins finally got a win yesterday, but did they knock themselves out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes? It was an impressive win on the road over Kansas City for the Dolphins yesterday, as Reggie Bush had a second straight strong game (did I cut him too early from my fantasy team?).
Next game: Home against the Redskins. Could it be two in a row for Miami?