Patriots, Dolphins and Bills All Lose in AFC East
Remember a couple of weeks ago when the teams from the AFC East were undefeated against the rest of the NFL? In the last eight days they have more than made up for that. Since last Monday, the Miami Dolphins have lost twice outside the division. They were hammered by the New Orleans Saints last Monday and then lost at home to the Baltimore Ravens 26-23 at home on Sunday to fall to 3-2.
The New England Patriots lost for the first time this season when they fell to the Cincinnati Bengals 13-6. Tom Brady had a 52 game streak with at least one touchdown pass snapped in the wet afternoon. The Buffalo Bills were beaten on Thursday night on the road against the Cleveland Browns, and to make things worse, rookie starting quarterback E. J. Manuel was injured.
That left the New York Jets on Monday night at the Atlanta Falcons to try and snap the AFC East’s five game ,losing streak. They led the Falcons 27-21 when Matt Ryan led Atlanta on a touchdown drive capped off by a three yard TD pass to Levine Toilolo to take a 28-27 lead with 1:54 left. The Jets had a 27-14 lead with 12:00 to play on a touchdown pass of one yard from Geno Smith to Kellen Winslow. But four minutes later the Falcons answered on a touchdown when Jacquizz Rodgers went 19 yards to cut it to a six point game.
Smith led the Jets down in field goal range like a veteran, finally getting the ball to the Falcons 25 with :03 to go to set up a game winning field goal. Nick Folk was good from 43 yards to give the Jets the win and send one of the preseason favorites to go to the Super Bowl to 1-4. It was the Falcons third straight loss against the AFC East. Suddenly, the Jets are only a game out of the lead at 3-2, tied with the Dolphins for second place.
The AFC East is probably the most competitive division in the league right now even if they are no longer the toughest. All four teams are within two games of each other and had the Bills been able to pull out their game with the Patriots which they lost by two points, the whole division would be tied.
But, this happened a year ago as well. All four teams were tied at this point in the season and from that point on, the Patriots went up and everybody else went down. So why should we believe that won’t happen again?
1. The Patriots are not nearly as good as last year. Without a top-notch corps of wide receivers, they are not the same team.
2. Everybody else is better this year. All the other teams have good young quarterbacks leading them. They all believe they can win.
Look for this division to stay close a lot longer into the season this time around.