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AFC East Report: Week 15

Let's take a look at this week's divisional happenings.

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There are still two weeks left in the 2015 NFL regular season but we now know how half of the AFC East's teams will finish in the standings. The New England Patriots – courtesy of their 12-2 record – have already clinched the division and are now looking to earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Behind them are the New York Jets, who are still in the playoff hunt and will finish in second place in the division.

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

2. New York Jets (9-5)

Week 15: win (19-16 against the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington TX – Saturday Night Football)

The New York Jets are still alive in the race for the two AFC wildcard playoff spots thanks to a 19-16 road win over the Dallas Cowboys. With the Cowboys up 3-0 in the first quarter, the Jets' defense registered its first takeaway when Darrelle Revis picked off an intended throw-away. New York, however, couldn't initially capitalize as Chris Ivory (13/37 yds) was stopped on 4th and 1 on Dallas' 3-yard line. The team would eventually take a 6-3 lead on its next possession thanks to a 12-yard Bilal Powell (6/25 yds, 1 TD) scoring run. New York then added another three points off a Marcus Gilchrist interception but the defense gave up a touchdown late in the first half to make it a 10-9 game at intermission. The second half started with another takeaway by Gang Green (an interception by Calvin Pryor), but Ryan Fitzpatrick (26/39, 299 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) gave it right back two plays later, leading to a Cowboys field goal. Early in the fourth period, the Jets re-took the lead (a 3-yard pass to Eric Decker) but Dallas tied the contest on its next possession. With only 36 seconds left in the game, though, New York took the lead again, courtesy of a 40-yard Randy Bullock field goal. The Cowboys' comeback attempt was halted when Marcus Williams recorded the Jets' fourth interception of the day. Statistically, the Jets had the better game, gaining more yards (372-309), first downs (20-15), all while having a better 3rd down percentage (35%-18%). Most importantly, New York turned the ball over just once compared to four Cowboys giveaways. With the win, the Jets secured their first winning season since 2010.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Buffalo Bills (6-8)

Week 15: loss (35-25 against the Washington Redskins, in Landover MD)

For the fifth year in a row, a Rex Ryan-coached team will not finish with a winning record, thanks to the Bills' 35-25 loss in Washington. Buffalo had a slow start to the game, as the Redskins scored three unanswered touchdowns to open it. The team's defense was unable to stop Washington, while its offense couldn't find any rhythm. Still, near the end of the first half, the unit had a chance to score its first points after safety Corey Graham recovered a fumble. However, Buffalo was stopped on three plays from the one-yard line and turned the ball over on downs. On the first drive of the third quarter, the Bills finally scored their first points (a 32-yard Dan Carpenter field goal) but on Washington's next offensive play, Buffalo's defense gave up a 77-yard touchdown pass. The Bills were able to answer, though, scoring two long touchdowns on their next two possessions: a 60-yard run by Mike Gillislee (4/81 yds, 1 TD) and a 48-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor (16/27, 235 yds, 2 TDs) to Sammy Watkins (5/111 yds, 2 TDs). However, it was too little too late as each of the two teams scored only one more touchdown (Buffalo's a 20-yard pass to Watkins). The Bills struggled for most of the day on both sides of the ball. While the offense slightly out-gained Washington (452-431) and gained 240 rushing yards on 31 carries (7.7 ypc), it was unable to sustain drives (38% on 3rd down), stop negative plays (five sacks, two tackles for loss) or find success in the red zone (0/4). The defense, on the other hand, was unable to stop its opponent both on 3rd down (63%) and in the red area (4/4), while it allowed Kirk Cousins (22/28, 319 yds, 4 TDs) to complete 79% of his pass attempts.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Miami Dolphins (5-9)

Week 15: loss (30-14 against the San Diego Chargers, in San Diego CA)

Just like the Bills, the Dolphins started their week 15 game slowly: the team gave up 24 unanswered points in the first half. The offense was struggling while the defense was unable to a) stop former Patriot Danny Woodhead (who scored four touchdowns) and b) hold onto a potentially game-changing interception: down 7-0 in the second quarter, safety Reshad Jones intercepted a deep ball but after a 42-yard return fumbled the football away. It took the Dolphins until the third quarter to finally get some points when Jay Ajayi (6/27 yds, 1 TD) scored the team's first touchdown. Despite registering another interception (this time by Brent Grimes), the offense was unable to make the game any closer. In fact, the Chargers scored another touchdown before Ryan Tannehill (20/34, 216 yds) had a 1-yard run for the final score. The game in San Diego was another lackluster performance by the Dolphins. The offense, once again, struggled mightily (231 yds, 2/14 on 3rd down, 2.3 yards per carry), while the defense could neither get off the field (only 5 stops on 14 on 3rd downs) nor stop the Chargers in the red zone (4/5). Overall, it was a bad day for the Dolphins, who as of now would pick seventh in next year's draft.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.