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AFC East Report week 11: Let’s preview the division’s remaining regular season schedule

A look at the upcoming schedules for each of the four teams.

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Creating the NFL’s regular season schedule is no easy task. All 32 teams will need to play according to their divisional positioning, cross-conference alignments, and also have to play one game each on Thursday and Monday. Contests in London and — at least if the playing surface holds — Mexico City need to be taken into consideration, as need potential requests from the franchises. This can create plenty of oddities.

Take the Chicago Bears, for example, who played on Sunday night and will have their next contest on Thursday. Or the entire AFC East: for the first time since the league’s divisional alignment took place in 2002, the entire division had the same week off. Naturally, this means that this week’s edition of the AFC East Report looks a bit different than it usually does. Instead of focusing on games past, we will take a look into the future.

1. New England Patriots (7-3)

Week 11: bye

Week 12: at New York Jets

Week 13: vs Minnesota Vikings

Week 14: at Miami Dolphins

Week 15: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 16: vs Buffalo Bills

Week 17: vs New York Jets

The Patriots will play their first of two games against the Jets on Sunday, before a difficult three-game stretch against teams currently .500 or above. The third of those games — in Pittsburgh — will be the biggest of the three as it again projects to have major implications on the AFC’s playoff picture. New England closes out the season with two supposedly easy home games against the Bills and Jets.

2. Miami Dolphins (5-5)

Week 11: bye

Week 12: at Indianapolis Colts

Week 13: vs Buffalo Bills

Week 14: vs New England Patriots

Week 15: at Minnesota Vikings

Week 16: vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 17: at Buffalo Bills

The Dolphins will travel to Indianapolis on Sunday to play the Colts in a game that might have importance when it comes to the race for one of the AFC’s wild card playoff spots. While both teams are currently out of the postseason picture, a win against a direct opponent would be big for the Dolphins and the Colts. The rest of the Dolphins’ schedule looks favorable except for battles with the Patriots and Vikings.

3. Buffalo Bills (3-7)

Week 11: bye

Week 12: vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 13: at Miami Dolphins

Week 14: vs New York Jets

Week 15: vs Detroit Lions

Week 16: at New England Patriots

Week 17: vs Miami Dolphins

The Bills will host the disappointing Jaguars on Sunday — one of only two non-division games left on the team’s schedule. After the game against Jacksonville, Buffalo will head south to Miami before back-to-back home games against the Jets and Lions. A trip to New England is followed by a game at New Era Field versus the Dolphins. While it is not the easiest schedule, it would not be all that big a surprise to see the Bills come away with two or maybe even three wins.

4. New York Jets (3-7)

Week 11: bye

Week 12: vs New England Patriots

Week 13: at Tennessee Titans

Week 14: at Buffalo Bills

Week 15: vs Houston Texans

Week 16: vs Green Bay Packers

Week 17: at New England Patriots

The Jets’ second half of the season starts and ends with games against the Patriots, the first of which at home on Sunday. Playing New England twice is not the only challenge New York will face in the next six weeks, though: the Jets will also play three teams currently in the race for playoff spots in the Titans, Texans and Packers. Week 14’s game in Buffalo therefore appears to be the only relatively easy game left on the schedule — but it would still not be a surprise to see New York end the season 0-6.