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Week 13: AFC East Review

The Miami Dolphins recorded a comfortable win against arch-rivals the New York Jets to keep their wildcard hopes alive. Lets check out that game and the other games in the AFC East over the weekend.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots 34 - 31 Houston Texans

The New England Patriots once again proved they are a force to be reckoned with this season by coming from behind 17-7 at halftime to record a narrow victory against the Houston Texans.  The Patriots started slow as quarterback Tom Brady recorded a three-and-out on the Patriots first possession, while throwing an interception intended to Rob Gronkowski during the second possession.  While the Texans initially capitalised on New England's lackluster start by going 10 points up at the end of the half, the Patriots finally clicked as they outscored Houston 27-14 with three touchdowns and two long field goals.

At the end of play, Texans quarterback Case Keenum completed a respectable 15 of his 30 passes for 272 yards, one rushing touchdown and one interception, while Brady threw for 371 yards off 29 of 41 passes, two touchdowns and one interception.  The Patriots just keep marching on.

Miami Dolphins 23 - 3 New York Jets

The Miami Dolphins knew what they had to do in this game.  A loss against the New York Jets would most probably result in the Dolphins looking forward to next year, while a win would keep hopes of a wildcard spot alive.  Luckily for the franchise, the latter was true.  But this game was not won by luck.  The Dolphins truly outclassed the Jets to romp to a comfortable victory.

Ryan Tannehill had one of his most convincing performances in a Dolphins shirt, throwing for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace also caught touchdowns for Miami, which resulted in 10 points from two turnovers.

As for the defense, Olivier Vernon added another 2 ½ sacks, while Philip Wheeler recorded a fumble by Simms in the third and Dannell Ellerbe picked up an interception, which led to a 43-yard field goal by Sturgis.

On the other side of the football, it got ugly.  The Jets have now lost their third straight game.  But perhaps worse of all was the reaction of the crowd towards rookie quarterback Geno Smith.  Smith was constantly booed throughout his time on the field as he threw a measly 29 yards on his way to completing only 4 of his 11 throws.  When a quarterback rating of 8.3 is also taken into account, the future does not look bright for a quarterback who has thrown 11 touchdowns interceptions and 1 touchdown.  When Smith left the field, Matt Simms entered the field to loud cheers at the beginning of the third quarter.  Unfortunately, he didn't produce a much better performance, throwing for 79 yards and an interception, along with a 50% completion percentage off 18 attempts.

As a side note, Miami are the only team in the NFL not to score more than 28 points in every game so far this season.  But that doesn't matter as Miami put their postseason aspirations back on track.

Atlanta Falcons 34 - 31 Buffalo Bills

The last game in the AFC saw the Falcons record an overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills.  In the Bills' annual home game in Toronto, the team gifted the Falcons victory by giving the ball away on their final two possessions of the game, as Matt Bryant recorded a 36-yard field goal to win the game.  The Bills found themselves in all-too-familiar territory as the loss leaves the team at 4-8 and virtually out of playoff contention.  That's the team's fourteenth season in a row without a postseason appearance (longest in the NFL) and their ninth straight season without a winning season.  Maybe it's not so bad being a Dolphins fan after all.

What did you think of the games over the weekend?  Can the Dolphins secure that last wildcard spot?  What needs to be done to achieve it?  Lets hear your thoughts!