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AFC East Preview: New England vs. Miami and New York vs. Arizona

Week 13 shouldn’t be scaring all of the AFC East teams away with this unlucky number. With a Sunday win against the Miami Dolphins (5-6), the New England Patriots (8-3) will again find themselves with a division title win–their ninth in the last 10 years.

For the New York Jets, they’re on life support at this point and they’ll play another 4-7 team that isn’t much better, the Arizona Cardinals. I’ll call this matchup the battle of two less than mediocre quarterbacks.

The third game is the Buffalo Bills (4-7) vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9). Not much to say about this game other than the bettors see a no-surprise Bills win at -7 with a 44.5 over/under.

New England vs. Miami

Patriots QB Tom Brady

For the Patriots, their season has been business as usual. The team has its weaknesses but sit at 8-3 and top of the division.

In last week’s game against the Jets, it was a decisive 49-19 win and in the second quarter, the team tied a franchise record with its 35 points. What’s more interesting is its three touchdowns in just 52 seconds.

Now on Sunday, the Patriots will seek a sixth straight win and a fourth consecutive division title.

Quarterback Tom Brady is playing like Tom Brady and during the team’s current win streak, he’s completed 64.4 percent of his passes (116.3 passer rating), 1,454 yards, 14 scores and zero picks.

The Patriots have the NFL’s top offense with its 435.8 average yards and 37.0 points. There’s no turnovers with this team with its league-bottom eight and its defensive ones at 32 sit behind the league’s leader the Chicago Bears.

Then we have this week’s opponent, the Miami Dolphins. They’re looking for a second straight win and a return to .500.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has played like a rookie this season but a talented one. In his last three games, he has two touchdowns with six interceptions.

The team’s running game has struggled but last week its running backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas found the end zone. This could continue this week without the Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, who begins his suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

Also looking to improve is Miami’s run defense, which only allowed 96 yards to the Seattle Seahawks last week after averaging 132.2 yards in its five prior games.

While the division title is in reach for the Patriots, what about another Super Bowl ring? They sit at the top with 9/2 odds.

New York vs. Arizona

Jets QB Mark Sanchez

Jets coach Rex Ryan has been pretty quiet this week and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. Maybe playing Arizona isn’t interesting enough for him.

After last week’s rout by the Patriots, there’s nowhere to go but up for the Jets. They still have delusions of a postseason visit and will need a win streak in their cushy final stretch against Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez can’t get anything going. In the team’s last four of five games that have been losses, he’s thrown four touchdowns and four picks while completing 61.3 percent of his passes (80.5 passer rating) for 1,214 yards.

Sanchez also have butterfingers, losing five fumbles during the season. Playing against the Cardinals’ defense isn’t going to help as its ranked No. 4 in the league against the pass (203.7 yards per game) and interceptions (15). In the last three games, it’s intercepted seven passes.

Will this be the game the Jets finally give Tim Tebow a try?

The Cardinals have their own quarterback woes and again will play rookie Ryan Lindley.

In his first NFL start last week, he threw four interceptions (two pick 6s) and completed 31 for 52 passes for 312 yards.

The Cardinals are trying to dodge an eight-game losing streak but the Jets may not be a good choice; they’ve won five consecutive games against them.

The odds look like loss No. 8 is coming with the Jets at -4.5 with a 36.5 over/under.

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