AFC East Preview: Buffalo vs. Miami and New England vs. Jacksonville
In Week 16 for the AFC East, it’s a full slate of games. The division-bottom Buffalo Bills (5-9) will play the Miami Dolphins (6-8). It’s very slim but the Dolphins have a glimmer of hope to reach the playoffs.
The New England Patriots (10-4) have won the division title (again) and in this week’s match up against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars they’ll look for a win to a secure good playoff seeding.
In Game No. 3, the Jets (6-8) will host the San Diego Chargers (5-9). Both teams are not good but it could be interesting to watch the rookie quarterback vs. the seasoned one.
The rookie will get the win (-1, 38.5 o/u).
Buffalo vs. Miami
For Buffalo, it’s season No. 8 without the playoffs and there’s calls for change.
For Miami, they’ve had lots of change this year and now they hold a very slight chance to go the playoffs with the following ideal situation: winning their next two games, the Cincinnati Bengals losing two games, the Pittsburgh Steelers falling to the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets going 1-1.
Should all these stars align, the Dolphins will end up tied with the Bengals and Steelers and punch their ticket to the playoffs thanks to the tiebreaker.
Good luck on that.
In Sunday’s game, Buffalo’s defense will need to show up. In their previous match up on Nov. 15, the team had a season-low 184 yards in their 19-14 win over Miami but it is now the eighth team in the league to give up 45 points in four games through the course of one season.
The Bills are allowing 28.7 points per game — tied for the highest in the league.
They do have a few bright spots offensively with running back C.J. Spiller and in the air, they have wide receiver Stevie Johnson; he leads the team in receiving yards and is 109 yards short of hitting a third consecutive 1,000-yard season.
As for the Dolphins, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has shown promise but also has moments of looking like a rookie. To date, he has 2,929 yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 picks.
His seasoned running back Reggie Bush is looking for his second straight 1,000-yard season; he is 105 yards short.
For Miami, they’ll keep their playoff hope alive on Sunday (-4.5, 41.5 o/u).
New England vs. Jacksonville
The Patriots will put last week’s loss against the San Francisco 49ers behind them and keep their eyes on the prize: a playoff bye.
To make this happen, they’ll need wins in the next two week and losses by the Houston Texans. One loss by the Denver Broncos in their next two games would also be helpful.
For this week, they couldn’t have selected a better opponent: Jacksonville has only won one game since September and against teams with a losing record, the Patriots have gone 6-0 with a 39.5 point average.
They sit at the top of the NFL with its offense (36.1 points per game) and between their wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who had a career-high 190 yards last week, and a possible return by tight end Rob Gronkowski, look for some points on Sunday’s board as Jacksonville’s defense sits toward the league’s bottom with its 27.4 points per game allowed.
Jacksonville’s offense is a different story. Quarterback Chad Henne initially played well in November but has gone downhill since then in the team’s recent three-game losing streak: 58 for 119 (48.7 percent completion), one score and three picks.
There is one bright spot on the team: wide receiver Cecil Shorts. He had six catches with 101 yards against the Dolphins last week for a fourth game with 100 yards over his last seven games.
But once again, Jacksonville will play without running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot).
Jacksonville’s bad season will continue as New England rebounds from last week (-15.5, 50.5 u/o).