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Week 8 AFC East Preview: Tua takes on the Bills, Wilson-less Jets host red-hot Bengals

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In this week’s edition of our AFC East Preview, we get another intra-division bout in the Miami Dolphins’ matchup with the Buffalo Bills up in Orchard Park. Miami heads into this contest on a six-game losing skid, while Buffalo is coming off a restful bye. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots head out west to take on the Los Angeles Chargers (also coming off a bye), and the New York Jets, without the help of their second-overall pick under center, host the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals.

AFC East Standings

  1. Buffalo Bills (4-2) overall; (1-0) division
  2. New England Patriots (3-4) overall; (2-1) division
  3. New York Jets (1-5) overall; (0-2) division
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-6) overall; (1-1) division

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills - October 31st at 1:00pm ET

Last time these two teams faced off, second-year signal caller Tua Tagovailoa was swiftly knocked out of the contest after a heavy hit by a Buffalo defender. Tagovailoa subsequently missed three additional games with cracked ribs. Now, just a few weeks later, his status with the Dolphins is in doubt amidst reports that the team could trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson by the November 2nd trade deadline. But we at The Phinsider, our wonderful readers in the comments section, and just about everyone with a tangential attachment to the sport of football has discussed that at length. Let’s briefly break down the game.

For Miami to have any shot in this one, the Dolphins offensive line needs to keep Tagovailoa upright, something it very much failed to do for Jacoby Brissett back in Week 2. Fortunately, the line has performed better (albeit against far less fearsome competition) as of late. If the front five manages to give Tagovailoa some time, he’ll look to build off of two strong performances and continue to push the offense downfield. Unfortunately for Dolphins fans, even if the Miami offense is able to move up and down the field, a supercharged Buffalo attack should feast against a Miami defense that has regressed tremendously since 2020.

Score prediction: Buffalo 34 - Miami 24

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets - October 31st at 1:00pm ET

Don’t look now, but the Cincinnati Bengals might be the best team in the AFC right now. The defense is vastly improved since last season, Joe Burrow and his incredible cast of weapons are unstoppable on all areas of the field, and the team is coming off a convincing win over the Baltimore Ravens, a team that has had the Bengals’ number for over a decade.

Without rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, this might be the most lopsided matchup of the week. Backup quarterback Mike White did little to inspire confidence in his first career regular season action, and recently acquired veteran Joe Flacco is reportedly not going to be active for this contest. Cincinnati has more talent at every position. Jets fans may want to find another way to spend their Halloween afternoon this weekend.

Score prediction: Cincinnati 31 - New York 13

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers - October 31st at 4:05pm ET

New England had the opportunity get back on track last week against the listless Jets; now, the Chargers are looking for that same opportunity two weeks removed from a painful loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. Fresh of a bye week, the Chargers will be coming into this game rested and ready to re-start what was looking like a campaign with a deep playoff run at the end of the tunnel.

Los Angeles’ feisty defense will make life tough on rookie quarterback Mac Jones, but the Patriots coaching staff has done a good job scheming up plays that get the ball out of Jones’ hands early. That will be especially necessary against a Chargers defense that boasts superstar pass rusher Joey Bosa and a coaching staff adept at scheming up creative blitz packages.

Score prediction: Los Angeles 28 - New England 23

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