Even though the New England Patriots are enjoying their bye week, that doesn't mean that there isn't still meaningful football going on. In fact, some of the Week 10 matchups had significant impact from a Patriots point of view. Here is a quick breakdown of the games that meant the most to New England from yesterday.
- Jets beat the Steelers. You see this in college football at least once a year: for whatever reason, all of he stars align for a bunch of crappy teams and some of the nation's biggest powerhouses all lose on the same day. The Steelers were the hottest team in the NFL over these past few weeks. The Jets were...well, they were the Jets. The good news is that this win is likely enough to give Rex Ryan a three year contract extension, a pay raise, and set the Jets on track for a 7-9 finish - just enough to give them a lousy draft pick and a continued descent into perpetual nincompoopery.
- Chiefs beat the Bills. Buffalo is one of those teams that is just good enough to scare you and yet a bit inconsistent and have a few miracle wins under their belt. Regardless, they play well at home and were in position to prevent the Chiefs from sweeping the AFC East. However, they shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and missed opportunities, and Kansas City was able to do enough to get the W. The Bills are now 5-4 and locked with Miami in a battle for 2nd, since...
- Lions beat the Dolphins. Make no mistake: the Miami Dolphins are a good football team. Every win they have been able to get, they have 100% deserved. Their defense is solid, Ryan Tannehill is making smart decisions with the football, and the running game is there when they need it. No longer is the AFC East more or less wrapped up by the end of November, and so it's more important than ever for teams that aren't New England to take our division rivals out. With Detroit pulling out a huge win against Miami, the Fins now drop to 5-4 and sit two games behind the Patriots.
- Broncos beat the Raiders. No shocker there. But I will say this: they didn't look that great doing it, especially early on. Had David Carr been a little more accurate and not made the kind of boneheaded decisions that only the Raiders can make, I might be writing something different right now, as Oakland could have been up 17 or 24-3 had they been able to capitalize on Manning's mistakes. However, the Raiders are still the Raiders, and once the Broncos got going it was lights out. Denver was lucky to play Oakland yesterday, as they opened up the game still reeling a bit from their beatdown at the hands of New England a week ago.
All in all, things couldn't have gone much better for the Patriots; two of the three divisional teams lost, the one that won beat an AFC playoff contender, and no team looked dominant in any game all across the board. The way things went down this week sets up some absolutely monster Week 11 games, kicked off by a Thursday night game between the Dolphins and Bills which may end up deciding one team's playoff fate.