Older AFCE

The State of the AFC East, Week 8

The State of the AFC East, Week 8
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The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins

Week 8 Results: Patriots 27, Dolphins 17

Oh, Miami. You guys are having the Bills’ 2011 season, only your fast start wasn’t as good as ours. Sucks, doesn’t it? That offensive line is living up to its name and, combined with play calling so poor that it makes Hackett look like a genius, is the main reason you couldn’t hold on to a 17-3 halftime lead and traded away a key division victory for a fourth straight loss. The Patriots tried their best to help you out, but even Brady’s Hulk hand and the 20 Thumbs Crew couldn’t stop them from winning, thanks to some friendly officials (and by friendly, I mean on the payroll).

In all seriousness, for being a relatively high scoring game, this was one of the least enjoyable games I’ve watched all season. The 2 quarterbacks combined for barely 300 yards passing and 55% completion rate on 64 attempts, not exactly a thrilling spectacle. The running game on both sides was productive, but there were few big plays. It was a grind it out, defensive battle of field position and turnovers, not something I care to watch on most days, let alone a division game that I would prefer ended up in a tie anyway.

Miami gets to host Cincinnati tonight in the Thursday Night prime time game. The only thing in Miami’s favor is that it’s at home, as the Bengals are red-hot coming off their fourth straight win, a streak that includes beating every other AFC East team (capped off with the blowout victory over the Jets which I will get to momentarily). Thursday night games tend to be bland, lackluster affairs due to the short week of preparation, but that won’t help a battered Miami team. The Bengals O line has been superb in recent weeks and I don’t see the diminished Dolphins defense getting pressure on Dalton or covering up AJ Green. The Dolphins O line has to look like a buffet to the talented front 7 of the Bengals. Tannehill might not make it off the field under his own power tonight.

Prediction:

Bengals – 34 (The Ginger puts up 3 more TDs and 350 yards. Gio Bernand has a big night too)

Dolphins – 20 (Tannehill takes 5 more sacks, the run game doesn’t get going, and the Dolphins fall to 3-5 with the lowly Bills)

The Patriots host the pathetic Steelers, a game that is usually a tough match up of top end QBs that will likely turn into a defensive struggle and running duel given how badly each team has played so far (a 6-2 record doesn’t tell the whole story). I can’t decide which team I dislike more in this game, as I think the Patriots offense doesn’t match up well again the Pitt D and vice versa. In the end, I’m going to have to go with the Patriots, if for no other reason than the fact that I don’t want the Big Uglies to show up here all next Monday to pollute the boards with their filthy and inane comments.

Prediction:

Patriots – 27 (Brady actually throws 2 TD passes, one to Gronk and Ridley breaks 100 yards)

Steelers – 20 (Rapistberger can’t do anything with his WRs against Talib, but Bell takes advantage of the absence of Wilfork and Mayo to run for 100+ and 2 TDs)

 

The New York Jests

Week 8 Results: Bengals 49, Jets 9

Almost as amusing as the Jets losing a game in such humiliating fashion is listening to the media flip-flop on Geno Smith from week to week as he routinely follows up a decent performance with an atrocious one. But, not all blame lies on his shoulders, he only directly contributed 14 of the Bengals 49 points. The previously superb Jets defense gave up the other 35 without much of a struggle and the offense could never get it going on the ground or in the air thanks to a better Bengals defense. Even when they benched Geno late in the game in favor of Matt Simms (who is probably their best QB anyway), it didn’t provide a spark of life for the anemic offense.

Now the Jets get to host New Orleans. Since the Saints just beat the Bills handily and the Bills took that Bengals team to OT with Thad Lewis under center, it stands to reason that the Jets have almost zero chance of winning this game. In non-pseudological terms, the Saints offense is legit, Jimmy Graham is a monster, Brees is playing as well as he ever has, and they will likely pick the Jets backfield apart without much trouble. The Jets only chance is to run the ball relentlessly, much like they did against New England, and hope to grind out time of possession and prevent the Saints from getting an early lead. Unfortunately, the Jets running game sucks and they probably can’t do that even against a run defense that is suspect, at best.

Prediction:

Saints – 41 (Brees throws for 4 TDs to Mumbly-covered targets, one pick 6 from Geno and a couple of field goals are the remainder of the scoring)

Jets – 17 (Geno still sucks, the Saints D is opportunistic, and the run game can’t do anything consistently)

 

The Buffalo Bills

Week 8 Results: Saints 35, Bills 17

The Bills follow-up a division win with a bad loss to the Saints on the road. Thad “McFumbles” Lewis drops the ball 3 times and hands it over again with an INT, leading to 14 Saints points that put the game well out of reach. The defense is due some credit for standing firm against an electric Saints offense multiple times, forcing punts when the officials resisted throwing the flag for some imaginary defensive holding penalty that they called on a player who wasn’t even involved with the play in the first place. The Saints also got a nice black and white assist when a bogus offensive holding penalty negated a long TD pass.  Regardless, the flags didn’t decide the game, they just made it a bigger gap than it should have been, as the Saints high-powered offense was more than a match for the Bills defense, improved or not.

Play calling once again reared its ugly head for the Bills, who abandoned the run early in the game despite having a lot of success with it. The big hole they got themselves into played a part in that, but it was also just another example of Hackett’s inexperience with the NFL game. The Bills have a lot of potential on offense, especially once Manuel gets back, but they need to get it together on the sidelines for the Bills to have a chance, both in this season and going forward.

Week 9 has the Bills hosting the lone undefeated team in the NFL – the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills have curb stomped the Chiefs in 4 of their last 6 meetings, won 5 of the last 6, and the only loss came in Arrowhead in overtime. However, the Chiefs defense has been playing out of their minds all season and the offense… well, it’s Alex Smith so you should have an idea of how good they are. Unfortunately for the Bills, they also have Jamaal Charles and he will likely put up ridiculous numbers against a pitiful Bills run D. The Bills will need some serious luck to score any points against the Chiefs, especially considering we might be starting Jeff Tuel (Tuel Time? More like Fool Time). Never the less, I’m feeling like the Chiefs are due for an upset, a team can only win so many games by 3 or less in a season before someone breaks through and the Bills feel like the team to do it, a trap game before a huge divisional match up between the two best records in the AFC.

Prediction:

Bills – 19 (4 FGs from Carpenter, 1 rushing TD from F Jax)

Chiefs – 16 (Charles torches us between the 20s, but the Bills D knuckles up in the red zone to hold the Chiefs to field goals)

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