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AFC East Report: Week 13; Jets eliminated from playoffs, only 1 path for Bills to win division

Here’s your AFC East action from week 13.

1. New England Patriots (10-2)

Week 13: win (26-10 over the Los Angeles Rams, in New England)
Remaining games: Ravens, @Broncos, Jets, @Dolphins

The New England Patriots took care of business against the Los Angeles Rams to win 26-10, keeping pace with the Oakland Raiders atop the AFC. The Patriots were the only team in the AFC East to Do Their Job as the rest of the division imploded.

2. Miami Dolphins (7-5)

Week 13: loss (38-6 to the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore)
Remaining games: Cardinals, @Jets, @Bills, Patriots

The Dolphins were riding a 6-game winning streak and this was one heck of a way to come crashing down to earth. Nothing went right for the Dolphins, who are back on the outside of the playoff picture with a serious hill to climb. Miami faces a physical Cardinals team next week before closing out with three divisional games- the first two on the road.

There’s a very likely chance that the Dolphins will be eliminated from AFC East contention in week 15.

3. Buffalo Bills (6-6)

Week 13: loss (38-24 to the Oakland Raiders, in Oakland)
Remaining games: Steelers, Browns, Dolphins, @Jets

The Bills were embarrassed on the road against the Raiders, not because they lost, but because of how they lost. Buffalo ran up a 24-9 lead, halfway through the third quarter, but the Raiders scored four touchdowns and 29 straight points over the rest of the game. That had to crush the soul of the Bills.

Buffalo has 3 straight home games and they are technically still in the AFC East race by the slimming of margins. There is just one way for the Bills to win the division, and they need a lot of help. Here are the tiebreakers with the Patriots to explain.

  1. Head-to-head: 1-1; the two teams split their games earlier in the season.
  2. Divisional games: 3-3; The Bills need to win the rest of their games and they need the Patriots to lose out. This will give both the Bills and Patriots matching 3-3 divisional records since both teams face AFC East opponents in the final two weeks.
  3. Common games: 9-5; The common games are the AFC East, AFC North, and NFC West games. Both teams have lost to the Seahawks, and assuming the Bills win out and the Patriots lose out, both will have also lost to the Ravens.
  4. Conference games: 7-5; In this scenario, both the Bills and the Patriots will have lost 3 games to AFC East rivals, a game to the Ravens, and both will have lost to their AFC West counterpart. The Bills just lost to the Raiders and the Patriots would fall to the Broncos in week 15.
  5. Strength of victory: If you’re keeping track, you’ll note that the Bills and Patriots will finish the season with the same exact register of wins (Jets, Dolphins, Steelers, Bengals, Browns, Cardinals, Rams, 49ers, and then a win over each other), with one exception: their AFC South opponent. The Patriots beat the Texans, while the Bills beat the Jaguars. The Texans are 6-6, while the Jaguars are 2-10. To force this tiebreaker, the Bills need the Jaguars to win out and the Texans to lose out so both have matching 6-10 records.
  6. Strength of schedule: There are just two differences in scheduling for the Bills and Patriots in their AFC South and AFC West opponents. If the Texans and Jaguars both finish at 6-10, then the only room to differentiate is in the AFC West. Fortunately for the Bills, if the Raiders win the AFC West, then that will mean the Bills faced a more difficult strength of schedule and Buffalo will win the tiebreaker over the Patriots.

So there you have it. All the Bills need to win the AFC East is to win out, and for the Patriots to lose out, the Dolphins not to interfere, the Texans to lose out, the Jaguars to win out, and the Raiders to stay ahead of the Broncos.

4. New York Jets (3-9)

Week 13: loss (41-10 to the Indianapolis Colts, in New York)
Remaining games: @49ers, Dolphins, @Patriots, Bills

The Jets were flat out embarrassed and now they are turning to back-up quarterback Bryce Petty to lead the team for the rest of the season. In 2015, the Jets took advantage of a 4th place schedule and won 10 games with one of the oldest rosters in the NFL. In 2016, they got even older and faced a 2nd place schedule and were hammered. The Jets are going to rebuild for a couple more years.

With 9 losses, the Jets are now eliminated from the playoffs. The Patriots eliminated the Jets from AFC East contention in week 12, and now the Jets can’t even reach the wild card since the Broncos have 8 wins as the 6 seed.