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AFC East Report: Week 13

A strange week for the Patriots and their division. Let's take a look.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

There are things in this world which are very rare. A solar eclipse. A non-violent Game of Thrones episode. A Taylor Swift album that's not an immediate success. And: the AFC East going a combined 3-1 with the Patriots losing the only game. Alas, that's what has happened last Sunday.

10-2 New England still leads the division by a significant margin but has been unable to claim the AFC East for the second consecutive week. This means that this week's game against the Houston Texans is another "hat and T-shirt"-contest.

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

2. New York Jets (7-5)

Week 13: win (23-20 in overtime against the New York Giants, in East Rutherford NJ - Jets road game)

While the Patriots have lost their last two games, their closest division rival has won its last two. The latest victory came over the other New York team, the Giants. The game started slow in the first quarter, with a Jets field goal as the only score. The contest became quite entertaining in the second period, though, which started with an 80-yard Giants' punt return touchdown. Things got even worse for the Jets later in the quarter: Chris Ivory (10/47 yds) fumbled at the team's 20-yard line. The Giants converted the short field into three points. Gang Green was able to tie the game at 10 on the next series, courtesy of a 25-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick (36/50, 390 yds, 2 TDs) to Bilal Powell (15 touches/125 yds, 1 TD). However, the tie would not last long, as the Jets would give up a 72-yard touchdown and a field goal before halftime. The designated visitors got some momentum back midway through the fourth quarter, due to an interception by defensive back Rontez Miles in the Jets' red zone. The ensuing possession led to a field goal. The Jets defense then forced a 3-and-out, which gave the offense 2:40 to potentially tie the game at 20. The unit did just that with 32 seconds left on the game clock via a 9-yard scoring pass to Brandon Marshall (12/131, 1 TD). On their first possession of overtime, the Jets' Randy Bullock kicked his third field goal of the day to give his team a 23-20 lead. The Giants had one drive to answer. They came close, but a 48-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Buffalo Bills (6-6)

Week 13: win (30-21 against the Houston Texans, in Orchard Park NY)

Buffalo was able to secure a key victory in the AFC playoff race in week 13: the team beat the visiting Houston Texans 30-21. The Bills started the game well, forcing a 3-and-out and subsequently taking a 7-0 lead when Tyrod Taylor (11/21, 211 yds, 3 TDs) connected with Sammy Watkins (3/109 yds, 1 TD). Houston scored six on its next series but the Bills were able to answer with an 8-yard scoring run by Taylor on the first play of the second quarter. The home team would score another touchdown – a short pass to Robert Woods (2/19, 1 TD) to enter halftime up 21-13. After a third quarter dominated by defense, the Texans tied the game in the fourth period. However, a 40-yard touchdown pass to Charles Clay (4/66 yds, 1 TD) gave the Bills another lead. The team's defense was then able to force a turnover on downs, which the Bills converted into three points and the final score. While the two teams were statistical equals, Buffalo was able to win the field position battle and make key plays on both offense and defense when needed. Thanks to the victory, the Bills – currently the eighth team in the AFC playoff race – are now only one game out of the playoff seeds.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

Week 13: win (15-13 against the Baltimore Ravens, in Miami FL)

The Dolphins and Ravens fought a defensive battle in week 13. Therefore, it is no surprise that the first notable play of the day was made by Miami's defense. The unit was able to stop the Ravens on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line. The unit made another big play on Baltimore's next offensive possession, when safety Reshad Jones recored an interception in Ravens territory. On the very next play, Ryan Tannehill (9/19, 86 yds, 1 TD) and DeVante Parker (3/63 yds, 1 TD) connected on a 38-yard passing touchdown to give Miami a 7-0 lead. On the very next series, the Dolphins defense made another big play, when defensive end Derrick Shelby returned an interception 22 yards for the score. Up 15-0, however, Miami's offense completely lost its rhythm and was able to gain only two first downs in the final 30 minutes. To make matters worse, running back Lamar Miller (20/113 yds) lost a fumble on Miami's side of the field in the fourth quarter. Luckily for the Dolphins, though, the Ravens were unable to capitalize on the turnover – a 55-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right – and Miami's other offensive issues. Baltimore scored 13 unanswered points but was never able to take a lead of its own. Despite being out-gained 375 to 219, registering only eight first downs (compared to 22 by the Ravens), not once reaching the red zone and holding the ball a mere 22 minutes, the Dolphins were able to squeeze out the win. It was not pretty but it was enough to improve Miami's record to 5-7.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.