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AFC East Report: All goes according to the Patriots' plan in week 9

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Week nine came and went. And the Patriots won without even playing.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Nine weeks of NFL regular season are already over and slowly but steadily the contenders start to separate themselves from those, who are only pretending to be the same. In the AFC East, this means the following: The New England Patriots, par for the division's course of the last almost 20 years, sit atop with a 6-2 record. Behind them, the teams are fighting for playoff spots.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, let's take a look at this week's installment of the AFC East Report.

2. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Week 9: loss (34-21 against the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NJ)

The Bills could have taken the division lead with a win over the Jets on Thursday night. However, the team failed to do that and instead played one of its worst games of the season en route to a 34-21 defeat – one that leaves Buffalo with a 5-3 record halfway through its regular season. A record, that is enough to leave the team in the AFC playoff picture right now as the sixth seed.

The game in New York started well for the Bills, who forced a three-and-out on the opening series. However, Buffalo's offense did not fare any better and after punting the football away after its first drive allowed the home team to take a 7-0 lead. It took the Bills until the second quarter to properly respond: An eight-play 62-yard drive ended with a 10-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor (29/40, 285 yds, 2 TDs) to Zay Jones (6/53 yds, 1 TD) to tie the game at seven.

The tie was short-lived, as the Jets went up 10-7 on their very next possession. Buffalo failed to answer as the offense struggled with moving and keeping the football: The two drives after New York's field goal saw Taylor get sacked four times while Jordan Matthews (6/46 yds) fumbled away the football late in the second period. With the Bills defense being able to limit the Jets offense, though, Buffalo headed into the locker room only down three points.

However, things did not get any better in the second half. After a Bills three-and-out, the Jets scored another touchdown. Again, Buffalo's offense failed to respond and when the defense surrendered a two-play, 61-yard drive, the visitors suddenly found themselves down 24-7. Things did not get any better for the Bills, who turned the football over on their next to possessions: First, tight end Nick O'Leary (4/51 yds) lost a fumble, then Taylor was strip-sacked.

And while the Bills defense was able to quickly stop New York's offense after the first giveaway, it failed to do the same after the second. Therefore, with under 12 minutes left in the game, Buffalo was down 31-7; one drive later it was 34-7. The Bills were then able to score 14 points on their next two series - in between they recovered an onside kick - but it was too little too late. The Jets recovered Buffalo's final onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

Week 9: loss (27-24 against the Oakland Raiders, in Miami Gardens FL)

While the Dolphins' second of three straight prime time appearances was not as embarrassing as the first one - a 40-0 shutout in Baltimore -, the ultimate result still was the same: a loss. This week, it came at the hands of the Raiders, who went into Hard Rock Stadium to beat Miami 27-24. As a result of the defeat, Miami now finds itself without a winning record for the first time since week five.

The Dolphins opened the game on defense and promptly surrendered a 12-play drive that gave Oakland a 3-0 lead. Miami, which had quarterback Jay Cutler (34/42, 311 yds, 3 TDs) back in the lineup, appeared to answer accordingly but the team's first offensive series ultimately stalled near midfield. The Dolphins' second drive was more successful: The team marched 82 yards in 10 plays to take a 6-3 lead when Cutler connected with Damien Williams (6/47 yds, 1 TD).

After a missed extra point attempt, Miami tried some trickery and went for an onside kick. The team was able to recover but followed up with a turnover in Oakland territory: Running back Kenyan Drake (9/69 yds) coughed the football up and the Raiders recovered. To make matters worse, Miami's defense then surrendered an 81-yard touchdown drive. The Dolphins responded with a field goal but with only 28 seconds left in the first half allowed their opponent to quickly drive to a field goal of its own.

The momentum remained with the Raiders in the third quarter as Miami opened with a punt before giving up another touchdown. This time, however, the home team was able to answer with a touchdown of its own: A six-yard pass from Cutler to Jarvis Landry (6/33 yds, 1 TD) capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive and cut the Dolphins' deficit to four points. And after an exchange of punts, the fortunes appeared to shift even more towards Miami.

The Dolphins defense was able to force two Raiders fumbles on the same play and Miami's Charles Harris ultimately wound up with the football. However, the offense failed to take advantage. Instead, the Raiders scored another touchdown with under five minutes left in the game. Down 27-16, Miami was still in the game though as a Reshad Jones interception set up an 83-yard touchdown drive that took only 22 seconds off the clock and brought the score to 27-24. However, the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Oakland and the game was over.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (4-5)

Week 9: win (34-21 against the Buffalo Bills, in East Rutherford NJ)

In week nine, after three straight losses - two of which at home - the Jets were finally able to add to the win column for a fourth time this season. On Thursday night, the team played an efficient and opportunistic game in all three phases to defeat the visiting Bills 34-21 and very much stay alive in the race for one of the AFC's playoff spots.

After the two teams exchanged three-and-outs to open the contest, New York jumped to a 7-0 lead. The team drove 54 yards in eight plays, capped by a 10-yard scoring scramble by quarterback Josh McCown (14/20, 140 yds, 1 TD). While Buffalo was able to tie the game early in the second period, New York remained in control and was back in the lead thanks to a Chandler Catanzaro (2/2) field goal. It was the Jets defense to step up next as cornerback Juston Burris forced and recovered a fumble to preserve the Jets' 10-7 halftime lead.

The second half started as positively for New York as the first one ended. After forcing a quick punt, the team's offense marched 74 yards in seven plays to go up 17-7: McCown connected with Robbie Anderson (4/48 yds, 1 TD) on a 25-yard scoring pass. New York's defense, meanwhile, continued to limit the Bills and the offense continued to take advantage: After Buffalo's third straight punt of the quarter, it took Gang Green only two plays to go up 24-7. First, Bilal Powell (9/74 yds) had a 51-yard carry, then Matt Forte (14/77 yds, 2 TDs) scored on a 10-yard scamper.

At that point, the Jets defense began to take over: New York registered two consecutive takeaways. First rookies Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams teamed up to force and recover a fumble, then Jordan Jenkins and Demario Davis did the same. The latter of the two turnovers set up the Jets at Buffalo's 5-yard line and it took only one play for the team to take advantage: Forte's second touchdown if the day put the home team up 31-7.

Catanzaro's second field goal expanded the lead to 27 points before the Jets defense finally started to show some weaknesses: The Bills were able to score two quick fourth quarter touchdowns and recover and onside kick in between to come within 13 points. However, after a second onside kick was recovered by New York, the team simply ran out the clock to improve to 4-5.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.