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AFC Roundup: Defense wins games

A common theme prevailed in both division matchups.

It was a big week for the AFC East even though it was only Week 2 of the regular season. Down in South Beach, the Miami Dolphins were trying to build a 2.5-game cushion over the defending division champion Buffalo Bills in a highly anticipated matchup. In New Jersey, it was the New York Jets battling the New England Patriots with both teams trying to avoid an 0-2 start to their season. Both divisional matchups had very similar narratives headlined by dominating defensive performances with two poor offensive showings.

The Bills’ defense came to play after a disappointing result in Week 1 by shutting out the Dolphins 35-0. Buffalo was in the backfield all afternoon forcing six sacks and knocking out Tua Tagovailoa early with a huge hit. The defense also forced a couple of turnovers and never let Miami get comfortable on offense. It was a productive game for Josh Allen as he became only the sixth quarterback for Buffalo to eclipse 10,000 yards passing. This game marked the sixth time in a row that the Bills were able to defeat the Dolphins.

Meanwhile the defense of the Patriots showed up to play, making rookie Zach Wilson’s day an unpleasant one. Wilson ended up throwing four interceptions in his first ten passing attempts, which put all of the momentum in New England’s favor. Wilson finished the afternoon with 210 passing yards. While Wilson appeared careless with the football at times, rookie Mac Jones took care of it on the opposite sideline. Jones only finished with 186 yards passing but he didn’t have any turnovers. The theme of this Patriots team is to run the football, which is what they did for just over 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Kicker Nick Folk brought his A-game for the team, converting on all four of his field goals with a long of 49 yards.

The standings in the AFC East appear to have reset after the first couple of games. Buffalo, Miami, and New England are all sitting at 1-1. Even though the Jets are 0-2 there are still a lot of games left to play and Zach Wilson is learning on the fly. All four of these teams have great defenses but the division will likely belong to the team with the most offensive firepower.