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AFC East Report: Patriots tighten their grip on the division lead, and other Week 13 takeaways

Related: Patriots vs. Bills: New England outlasts Buffalo, wins 14-10 in a wind tunnel

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The 13th week of the NFL regular season is in the books, and it was an eventful one. The New England Patriots tightened their grip on the division lead by beating the Buffalo Bills; the Miami Dolphins celebrated their fifth straight victory; the New York Jets fell to a team starting its backup quarterback.

Let’s dive straight in. Welcome to the new edition of the AFC East Report.

1. New England Patriots (9-4)

Week 13: 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park NY

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Myles Bryant plays perfect situational football on key stop against Bills

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The Bills knew the Patriots would run the ball. They simply couldn’t stop it.

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Buffalo Bills (7-5)

Week 13: 14-10 loss to the New England Patriots, in Orchard Park NY

Buffalo Bills 10, New England Patriots 14: Rapid recap and notes

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Miami Dolphins (6-7)

Week 13: 20-9 win over the New York Giants, in Miami Gardens FL

The Dolphins continue to emerge as a dark-horse candidate to make the playoffs. Winners of five straight games after beating the visiting Giants on Sunday, they are now closing in on the wild card race. While still unlikely that it eventually makes it into the tournament — FiveThirtyEight has calculated their chances at just 11 percent — the team of head coach Brian Flores is playing some productive football right now.

Against the visiting Giants, who were led by backup quarterback Mike Glennon, they again played some good all-around football. The game started with a pair of punts followed by Miami’s defense making the first big play of the day: Xavien Howard intercepted Glennon on a deep pass attack.

The Dolphins did not take advantage of the turnover, though, with New York instead taking a 3-0 lead early in the second period. The home team answered with a field goal drive of its own — capped by a 48-yard kick from Jason Sanders — before embarking on a massive 14-play series that spanned 86 yards and ended with the game’s first touchdown: Tua Tagovailoa hit Mack Hollins from 5 yards out to put his team up 10-3 just before the half.

Miami did miss a chance at a double-score by going three-and-out to open the third quarter, allowing the Giants to add another field goal. Following six straight possessions that ended in punts, the Dolphins scored again early in the fourth period: Tagovailoa connected with Isaiah Ford for a 2-yard touchdown.

The team then could have added to its lead following another stop by its defense, but Sanders missed a 52-yard kick wide right. This allowed New York to score another field goal to make it a one-possession game again, but the Dolphins answered by bleeding down the clock and adding another field goal to finalize the score at 20-9.

Now at 6-7, Miami is still only the 13th seed in the AFC. However, the team faces a favorable schedule down the stretch and might just be able to make some noise if it continues to keep stringing wins together.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (3-9)

Week 13: 33-18 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, in East Rutherford NJ

Even though the Eagles were forced to rely on backup quarterback Gardner Minshew to lead their offense, they were able to roll into MetLife Stadium and steal a win from the Jets. New York, meanwhile, failed to capitalize on any momentum it might have built with a win over the Houston Texans last week, dropping to 3-9 on the year.

The game did start in encouraging fashion for the home team, though: following a 79-yard kickoff return by Braxton Berrios, Zach Wilson and the offense needed only five plays to score a touchdown. However, the extra point by recently added kicker Alex Kessman sailed wide to the left. This, in turn, allowed Philadelphia to take a 7-6 lead on the next drive.

The Jets took the lead right back on their next drive — an 11-play, 68-yard series — when Wilson reached the end zone himself from a yard out. Once again, however, Kessman failed to make the extra point. In turn, the Eagles went up 14-12 in the early second period.

Wilson added another touchdown to his total on the very next possession, finding Ryan Griffin from 1 yard away. The point-after struggles continued, however: going for two, Wilson’s pass attempt fell incomplete. Despite having scored three touchdowns on three possessions, the Jets were only up 18-14.

The Eagles continued the shootout on their next drive, going up 21-18 after a 94-yard rally. This time, the Jets were unable to respond with a score of their own: they went three-and-out, giving Philadelphia a chance to add to its lead just before the half. The visitors lead, heading into the locker rooms up 24-18 after a short field goal.

The third quarter started with the Eagles adding another kick to increase their lead to nine points. Things would only get worse for the Jets from that point: a three-and-out was followed by another Philadelphia field goal, which was followed by a Wilson interception that resulted in three more Eagles points.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the visitors were up 33-18 — in large part due to the Jets defense allowing seven scores on seven drives. When the unit finally made a stop late in the fourth quarter, it was already too late to help turn New York’s fortunes around.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.