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AFC East Report: Week 7; Dolphins, Bills establish themselves as Patriots' top competitors in the division

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

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Another week in the books and another successful showing by the AFC East. Headed by the New England Patriots' 23-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, three of the division's four teams were able to win their week seven matchups – and the lone loss came in an AFC East showdown between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

With that in mind, here's this week's installment of the AFC East Report.

2. Buffalo Bills (4-2)

Week 7: win (30-27 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Orchard Park NY)

Coming out of its bye week, Buffalo did not show any rust and is able to continue its successful 2017 campaign with a three-point win over the visiting Buccaneers. Making big plays on offense, defense and in the kicking game, the Bills improve their record to 4-2 and keep pace with the Patriots – all while staying in prime position to earn the first playoff berth since the 1999 season.

The game began with long drives by each team. Buffalo answered an 11-play field goal drive with an 11-play series of its own, capped by a Stephen Hauschka (3/4) field goal. After another Tampa Bay field goal, the home team embarked on a 12-play, 78-yard drive that gave birth to its first lead on a one-yard scoring run by LeSean McCoy (23/91 yds, 2 TDs). Up 10-6, the Bills were then in a position to add to their lead.

Following a second quarter fumble recovery by Leonard Johnson, Buffalo drove into field goal range but saw Hauschka's second attempt of the day sail wide right. The team also failed to take advantage of the defense's second takeaway of the first half – an interception by Matt Milano – and thus the two opponents headed into the locker rooms with the Bills up 10-6.

The first drive of the second half saw the home team increase its lead on a scoring connection from Tyrod Taylor (20/33, 268 yds, 1 TD) to Logan Thomas (1/22 yds, 1 TD). Tampa Bay was able to answer with a touchdown of its own before another field goal put the Bills up 20-13 early in the fourth period. However, a defensive breakdown on the very next series allowed the Buccaneers to tie the game.

To make matters worse, a fumble by McCoy gave the visitors possession again and allowed Tampa Bay to drive to a 27-20 lead with 3:20 left in the game. It only took the Bills three offensive plays to respond, though, and see McCoy tie the contest. And after rookie Tre'Davious White forced and recovered a fumble on the very next play from scrimmage, Buffalo was set up in scoring range. Hauschka's 30-yarder was good and the Bills secured second place in the division.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Miami Dolphins (4-2)

Week 7: win (31-28 against the New York Jets, in Miami Gardens FL)

Despite some self-inflicted errors, an injury-forced in-game change at the quarterback position and never actually holding the lead until late in the final period, the Dolphins have won their third straight game thanks to a late come-from-behind defeat of the visiting Jets. Miami therefore finds itself at 4-2 and, despite currently being ranked third in the AFC East, on the inside track for a playoff spot.

The game started fast: It took the Jets just five plays to march down the field and take a 7-0 lead. However, Miami answered just as quickly and tied the contest on a four-yard scoring pass from Jay Cutler (12/16, 138 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT) to Jarvis Landry (7/93 yds, 1 TD). The tie did not stand long, though, as the visitors regained the lead on another first quarter touchdown pass.

It took Miami until midway through the second period to close the gap again: The team drove 70 yards in 10 plays to bring the game to 14-14 courtesy of a connection between Cutler and Anthony Fasano (3/25 yds, 1 TD). Miami's next series ended in disaster, though: An interception inside Miami's 10-yard line gave the football to the Jets and two plays later, the Dolphins were again down seven points.

Coming out of halftime, Miami lost its quarterback due to a rib injury. Cutler was replaced by Matt Moore (13/21, 188 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT), who threw an interception on his first full series. The pick set up another Jets touchdown that put the Dolphins in a 28-14 hole entering the fourth quarter. At this point, however, the team's offense and defense started to finally string consistent plays together.

Following a New York three-and-out, it took Miami's offense only four plays to cut the deficit to seven. After another three-and-out, the Dolphins tied the game at 28 – both touchdowns were scored on passes form Moore to Kenny Stills (6/85 yds, 2 TDs). When the game appeared to be headed for overtime, Miami's defense came up big one more time: With only 41 seconds left in the game, a Brice McCain interception set up the Dolphins' game-winning 39-yard field goal.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (3-4)

Week 7: loss (31-28 against the Miami Dolphins, in Miami Gardens FL)

For the second straight week, the Jets were able to take a 14-point lead against an AFC East opponent. For the second straight week, the Jets failed to hang onto it and ultimately lost their rematch against the Dolphins by a field goal. With New York unable to close out the game in Miami, the Jets now find themselves below .500 for the first time since week three.

Gang Green started the game with a quick scoring drive: It took the offense only five plays to drive 75 yards and take a 7-0 lead on a deep pass from Josh McCown (17/27, 209 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT) to Jermaine Kearse (1/29 yds, 1 TD). After the Jets defense allowed Miami to answer just as quickly, it did not take long for the team to be on top again.

Another 75-yard drive capped by a touchdown pass – this time to Robby Anderson (3/35 yds, 1 TD) – put the Jets ahead 14-7. However, the Dolphins were able to tie the game again – at least until an interception by Muhammad Wilkerson set up the Jets on Miami's 1-yard line. Two plays later, the McCown sneaked for the lead and the teams headed into halftime with the Jets up 21-14.

Another big defensive play – an interception by rookie Marcus Maye – then set up McCown's third touchdown pass of the afternoon. This time, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3/21 yds, 1 TD) was on the receiving end. At that point, however, the Jets began to fall apart. Two offensive three and outs each set up Miami touchdown drives to tie the game at 28 midway through the fourth period.

And with only 47 seconds, McCown's first big mistake of the game sealed the Jets' fate: The quarterback threw an interception deep inside his own team's territory to set up Miami's game-winning field goal.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.