Every week through the 2021 season, I’m recapping the action from around the AFC East. A companion article will be released later each week to preview the upcoming Sunday’s action for the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets. Without further ado, let’s break down everything we saw from the AFC East in Week 12.
Current AFC East Standings
- New England Patriots (8-4) overall; (2-1) division
- Buffalo Bills (7-4) overall; (3-0) division
- Miami Dolphins (5-7) overall; (2-2) division
- New York Jets (3-8) overall; (0-4) division
Week 12 AFC East Scores
Buffalo Bills 31 - New Orleans Saints 6
Miami Dolphins 33 - Carolina Panthers 10
New England Patriots 36 - Tennessee Titans 13
New York Jets 21 - Houston Texans 14
Week 12 AFC East Headlines
Patriots, Dolphins Extend Win Streaks as December Football Approaches
‘Tis the season, as they say. For the Patriots and Dolphins, that means wracking up wins aplenty en route to a postseason push. But let’s not get it twisted. These two teams are in different tiers; the Patriots are in a fight for the lone AFC playoff bye while the Dolphins are attempting to claw their way back into a wild card spot. That said, both head coach Brian Flores and head coach Bill Belichick have their respective squads playing their most impressive ball of the year at the most pivotal time of the NFL regular season, as exemplified by Miami’s thrashing of the Carolina Panthers and their near-top-ranked defense and New England’s dominance over the playoff contending Tennessee Titans.
Bills Bounce Back After Ugly Loss... Again
Who are the 2021 Buffalo Bills? At one point, NFL pundits had this team in Super Bowl predictions alongside powerhouses like the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Suddenly, not so much. This is the second time in four weeks that the Bills have had to “bounce back” after a dispiriting loss.
In early November, Buffalo was shut down by the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars only to come back and take down the New York Jets by a score of 45-17. The following week, Buffalo was dismantled by the Indianapolis Colts before nearly shutting out the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. It’s tough to get a read on just how competitive this team will be come January football, but for now, it’s probably worth giving head coach Sean McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen the benefit of the doubt. There are few teams with more talent and depth throughout the roster.
Jets Skate by Texans in Zach Wilson’s Return
Zach Wilson took the field for the first time since late October and failed to put up gaudy numbers, but he did enough to guide his struggling New York Jets squad to a win past the likewise struggling Houston Texans. Wilson, as usual, mixed some tantalizing athletic play with head scratching decision making, as evidenced by his first quarter interception that bounced off the back of running back Ty Johnson. His rushing touchdown in the middle of the third quarter, on the other hand, showed nifty playmaking ability and guts in Wilson’s return from a knee injury. For Wilson to instill confidence in both Jets management and fans, he’ll need to show more of the latter than the former over the remaining games on New York’s schedule.
Follow Justin Hier on Twitter.