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AFC East Recap: Buffalo Moves Back into First Place

AFC East
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws under pressure from New England Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (92) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Buffalo Bills finally win a division game. Despite a hot start the Miami Dolphins fall to a team quarterbacked by “Mr. Irrelevant.” The New York Jets and New England Patriots continue to demonstrate why they are pulling up the rear in the AFC East. And there’s a new divisional leader who is also in place to clinch the playoff bye in the AFC.


The division race has been unexpectedly hard for the Buffalo Bills. The team that many predicted to run away with the division dropped its first two games to division opponents. But in week 13, Buffalo finally found its rhythm against the last place team in the AFC East. Josh Allen looked good but not great, while the Patriots continued to sputter. Buffalo won 24-10 giving them their first divisional win of the season. The Bills return home next week with a chance to exact revenge on the New York Jets for the loss earlier this season.


No AFC East team had a worse weekend than the Miami Dolphins. Miami entered the week leading the division and sitting in the number two seed in the AFC playoffs. Things started out well with a quick touchdown, but the weekend went downhill after San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo got injured Sunday. Garoppolo was replaced by “Mr. Irrelevant 2022” Brock Purdy, the man taken with the very last pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Purdy who started the season as the third string QB shined in the moment, completing 25 of 37 passes for two touchdowns as the 49ers cruised to the 33-17 win. Miami lost to the last pick in the draft and lost the divisional lead back to Buffalo. The Dolphins will try to get back on the winning track next week when they return to the West Coast to take on the Chargers out in Los Angeles.


The New York Jets continued their current run of trading wins and losses as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings. Mike White completed 31 of 57 passes for 369 yards but had no touchdowns and two interceptions, including one in the final seconds as the Jets were driving for a potential game winning score. New York has been the definition of average the last six games as they’ve sprinkled wins and losses, beating the Broncos, Bills and Bears while losing to the Patriots twice and Vikings. The Jets head to Buffalo next week hoping to sweep the season series with the division leaders.


After 20 years of dominance, it’s so odd to still see the Patriots in this position three years after Tom Brady left. The Patriots swept the series with the Jets but have now lost to both the Dolphins and the Bills, keeping them firmly in last place in the division. The team seems to be falling apart at the seams as quarterback Mac Jones was seen on the sidelines arguing with Offensive Coordinator Matt Patricia. The Patriots take on the struggling Arizona Cardinals next Monday night. It may be their chance to right the ship.


Right now, the Bills now only moved from the Wild Card to the division lead, but they are also sitting in position for the bye. They are tied with Kansas City, but Buffalo beat the Chiefs for the tiebreaker. Miami slipped from second in the playoff standings to sixth. They remain tied with Cincinnati in the playoff race, but lost to the Bengals earlier this year. New York currently holds the last playoff spot. And the Patriots sit in the first spot outside the playoffs. Amazingly, all four are still alive in the playoff hunt with five games to play.

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