STATE OF THE AFCE AFTER 11 GAMES
After 11 games it the Patriots appear to be a lock for the division title so it appears to be a case of same song different year. However, the differences are:
1. All three of the other teams still have playoff hopes
2. The AFCE has a dead even record outside the division (we don’t suck!)
Here is a look at all four teams:
BILLS (4-7), (2-2), (3-6)
You would think with 6 teams ahead of them and a 3-6 conference record that the Bills are done but not so fast. Many of the other 5-6 teams play each other and the Bills get Miami again after having beaten them once already. The Bills would have to run the table or at least go 4-1 with the loss being against an NFC team. They will need the Patriots tilt to be meaningless for them and resting.
DOLPHINS (5-6), (0-2), (4-3)
The fins started out winning with a tough schedule and losing when the schedule lightened up. They won the offseason championship and then the soap opera title. They are playing without 60% of a starting offensive line that was not very good to begin with save Mr. Pouncey. All that and yet the dolphins pretty much control their own fate. They have four divisional games remaining along with a matchup with the 5-6 Steelers. The Dolphins will need to win four of five with the game they can most afford to lose being against New England, which isn’t a bad thing.
JETS (5-6), (2-2), (2-6)
Not long ago the surprising Jets were 5-4 and zeroing in on a playoff spot. Two weeks later they are hanging onto a branch on the side of a cliff after back to back losses to Buffalo and Baltimore in which they played horribly. Because of their terrible conference record and losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh the Jets would almost assuredly need to win all five games to have a shot at getting into the playoffs. If they do lose a game it had better be to Carolina.
PATRIOTS (8-3), (3-1), (5-2)
Last weekend’s “you have got to be kidding me” comeback win over the Broncos gave the Patriots the inside track to the #2 spot and a bye in the playoffs. There is still work to be done. The Bengals are only one game back and beat the Patriots earlier this year. Indy is also only one game behind and if tied it would come down to tiebreakers. The Patriots would be wise to take care of business the next two weeks with Houston and Cleveland because the last three games could mean a lot to the teams they are playing.