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AFC East Report: Week 12

Despite the Patriots losing this week, they still have a comfortable lead within their division.

The Jets rose above the Dolphins on Sunday.
The Jets rose above the Dolphins on Sunday.
Al Bello/Getty Images

Usually, when the AFC East goes 1-3, the Patriots are the team with the win. This week was different, though, as New England lost on Sunday. But even with a no longer spotless record, the 10-1 Patriots still lead their division by a comfortable margin.

That being said, here is this week's edition of the AFC East Report.

2. New York Jets (6-5)

Week 12: win (38-20 against the Miami Dolphins, in East Rutherford NJ)

After losing their last two games, the Jets are back in the win column – in dominant fashion. Marcus Williams' first quarter red zone interception led to New York's first touchdown of the day, a 17-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick (22/37, 277, 4 TDs) to Brandon Marshall (9/131 yds, 2 TDs). Fitzpatrick would throw another touchdown pass with 8 seconds left in the first half – this time to rookie Devin Smith (2/33 yds, TD) – to give his team a 14-0 halftime lead. New York would expand the lead to 21-0 in the third quarter, before the Dolphins scored a touchdown of their own. However, the Jets were able to answer with 14 consecutive points of their own, giving them a comfortable fourth-quarter lead. Finally, a sack and forced fumble by Sheldon Richardson (recovered by Lorenzo Mauldin) led to the Jets' final points of the game, a 41-yard Randy Bullock field goal. It was a decisive victory for the home team, as the Jets out-gained the Dolphins in every major category: they gained more yards (411-333), converted a higher percentage of 3rd downs (58%-26%) and won the turnover battle (2-0), just to name a few. Furthermore, New York's defense made its opponent one-dimensional via completely shutting down the run: the Dolphins attempted only nine rushes and gained a mere 12 yards. Overall, the win was an important one for the Jets, as their rivals for the wild-card playoff spots also won this week.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Buffalo Bills (5-6)

Week 12: loss (30-22 against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Kansas City MO)

For the 20th year in a row, the Buffalo Bills will not win the AFC East. This became clear after the team's loss in Kansas City. The game actually started well for the visiting Bills, who took a 10-0 first quarter lead thanks to a 27-yard Dan Carpenter field goal, the defense forcing a 3-and-out after LeSean McCoy (22 touches/101 yds, 1 TD) lost a fumble, and a 28-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor (21/38, 291, 3 TDs) to Sammy Watkins (6/158 yds, 2 TDs). While the Chiefs were able to register a touchdown midway through the second quarter, the Bills answered right back with another Taylor-to-Watkins scoring play. However, on the first offensive series of the second half, the home team took its first lead of the day. Buffalo was unable to answer and instead turned the ball over when Taylor fumbled in Chiefs territory, leading to three Kansas City points. The Bills still came within a two-point conversion of tying the game at 24 on the next drive, but Taylor was sacked on the play – Buffalo would never come this close again. Statistically, the two teams were equals: both gained 400+ yards (Bills 415, Chiefs 413), had trouble stopping the run (Bills 4.6 ypc, Chiefs 5.9 ypc), and had partial success on 3rd down (Bills 41%, Chiefs 46%). Basically, the only difference between the two clubs were turnovers, as the Bills gave the ball away twice (leading to three pionts), while the Chiefs didn't turn it over. With their second loss in a row, Buffalo now has a steep uphill climb ahead when it comes to earning a spot in the playoffs.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Miami Dolphins (4-7)

Week 12: loss (38-20 against the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NJ)

For the first time since becoming interim head coach of the Dolphins, Dan Campbell fell below .500. His team's game against the New York Jets was on par with other losses he suffered during his tenure: it wasn't close. The Dolphins started the contest slow, particularly on offense. The unit, led by Ryan Tannehill (33/58, 351, 3 TDs, 1 INT), was unable to generate any momentum and rhythm, and turned the ball over in the red zone on its second drive (leading to a Jets touchdown). Despite some bad offensive football, the team found itself down "only" 14 points entering halftime, as the defense was able to slow its opponent down at times. However, the Jets – sparked by a 58-yard punt return – would make it a three-score game right after the break. This time, the offense was able to answer and scored its first touchdown of the day late in the third period – a 5-yard pass to Miami's best offensive player, Jarvis Landry (13/165 yds, 1 TD). However, New York fought right back and scored two more touchdowns before the Dolphins were back on the board. Two late touchdown passes by Tannehill – who also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter – were too little, too late. It was another bad day for the team, which was one-dimentional on offense (61 pass plays, only 9 rushing plays) and couldn't slow down the Jets on defense (10 of 17 3rd down attempts given up). With the loss to the Jets, the Dolphins' already slim playoff hopes took another major hit. As it stands right now, the team should rather look further ahead: it currently holds the sixth overall pick in next year's draft.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.