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AFC East Roundup: Taking care of business

The teams at the top continue their winning ways while those at the bottom keep losing.

We’re getting to crunch time in the NFL season and some teams have clinched their playoff spots while others are already looking ahead to next year. The AFC East will have two teams in the post season this year with the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. Let’s see how each of the teams performed this week in the AFC East Roundup.

The Buffalo Bills clinched their playoff spot by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-10 on Sunday Night Football. This victory guaranteed the Bills at least the fifth seed but the team can still win the division title with some help. Tre’Davious White led the defense with two key interceptions while the unit as a whole forced four interceptions on the night. Josh Allen played well enough against a stout defense, notching a touchdown through the air and one on the ground. It was Tyler Croft who made the go-ahead touchdown grab on a third-and-nine play that gave the team the lead for good. Next week the Bills will face another test going to Foxborough, MA to play the New England Patriots with the division title in reach.

Speaking of the Patriots, they took care of business against the Cincinnati Bengals, winning 34-13. Stephon Gilmore continued to state his claim as the best cornerback in the league with two more interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. The Patriots’ offense has begun to finding its rhythm as Tom Brady had an efficient afternoon with two passing touchdowns while Sony Michel had nearly 100 yards on the ground. For New England, they can clinch the AFC East if they defeat the Bills on Saturday.

Adam Gase and his New York Jets were the first team to play this week as they took on the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football. Unfortunately this one was never really close as Baltimore cruised to a 42-21 win. Some thought that the Jets’ defense would be able to slow down Lamar Jackson but that wasn’t the case as they gave up six touchdowns throughout the game. The bright spot for the Jets was a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown, but the game was already out of reach at that point. Sam Darnold passed for 218 yards with two touchdowns but a costly interception before the half that stopped any momentum the team might have had.

Lastly, the Miami Dolphins couldn’t get a victory over the New York Giants, losing 36-20. The Giants were playing with some added inspiration as they were trying to get Eli Manning a victory in what was probably his last home game of his career. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a good game passing for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns but it was the defense that couldn’t get the stops when needed. For the Dolphins, the loss isn’t the worst thing in the world as they’re trying to secure their draft position. But each week they’re fighting hard against opponents and showing heart, which is what head coach Brian Flores is looking for.