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AFC East Roundup: Three steps backward

A major regression for the AFC East in Week 10

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

It’s that time of the year when everyone’s finalizing their Thanksgiving plans, but also the point in the NFL season when people discover whether or not their favorite team has a viable chance at postseason play. Coming into the 2023 NFL season, there were talks that at least three teams in the AFC East could make the playoffs. Now, the only team that looks to be making a run in January will be the division winner. Currently, that will be the Miami Dolphins who sat back and watched the chaos around the league unfold during their bye week. Meanwhile the other three teams in the division put together an awful showing that brought the division record to 0-7 the past two weeks.

The Buffalo Bills have recently shown to be one of the most underachieving teams in the league, especially to their loyal fans. Offensively, the Bills get their act together too late in each game, hurting their chances for a successful rally late. Monday night was no different — even though they had no business losing to the Denver Broncos. Bills Mafia thought things were going to be different after the team won the toss and elected to receive for the first time this season. Instead, running back James Cook fumbled the football on the first play of the game — the first of four turnovers on the evening. Then when it appeared they somehow survived with Denver missing a field goal as time expired, there was a flag for 12 men on the field. Quarterback Josh Allen is playing reckless football right now, which makes it so the defense has to hold on but then runs out of gas at the end of games. Add in special teams being a mess of late — exemplified in Week 10 with Denver having an average field position at the 42 yard line, and it’s been a perfect storm culminating in a 5-5 record. The reward for their current situation? The worst is yet to come in the back third of their schedule.

In Vegas, the New York Jets were trying to build momentum heading into their game next week against Buffalo. What the team got instead was an offense that failed to score a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders — now going on two weeks straight without a touchdown on offense. Quarterback Zach Wilson didn’t play an awful game, as drops were a concern, but either way they couldn’t get the job done. During the team’s Hail Mary attempt, it appeared that tight end Tyler Conklin knocked the ball away from wide receiver Garrett Wilson without realizing it — which basically sums up the season for the Jets. The loss moves their record to 4-5. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues telling people that he will return this season, but it seems foolish to rush back if the team isn’t in playoff contention.

Another week of football, another mess for the New England Patriots — who only seem capable of beating the Buffalo Bills at this point (go figure). Their offense is as bad as it can be with quarterback Mac Jones — and last Sunday in Germany the offense only scored six points against the Indianapolis Colts. It got so bad that Jones was benched for the last drive of the game when the team actually had a chance to win it with a touchdown. Jones was missing open receivers and threw a mind-boggling interception that was woefully under thrown. New England is 2-8 on the season, and it’s time for them to look toward the future. This may include selecting another quarterback with a top draft pick, as well as making Bill Belichick ride off into the sunset.