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 13.
Current AFC East Standings
- New England Patriots (9-4) overall; (3-1) division
- Buffalo Bills (7-5) overall; (3-1) division
- Miami Dolphins (6-7) overall; (2-2) division
- New York Jets (3-9) overall; (0-4) division
Week 13 AFC East Scores
Miami Dolphins 20 - New York Giants 9
Philadelphia Eagles 33 - New York Jets 18
New England Patriots 14 - Buffalo Bills 10
Week 13 AFC East Headlines
Dolphins Nab Fifth-Straight Victory Heading into Bye, Squeeze Back Into Playoff Hunt
The Miami Dolphins hit the halfway point of the NFL season with a 1-7 record, and all hope seemed lost in South Florida. As we approach the team’s Week 14 bye, Miami has riffled off five straight wins to nearly even out the team’s record at 6-7. Against the Giants, the hallmarks of the team’s turnaround were evident. Tua Tagovailoa was decisive, efficient, and accurate as he continues to make a second-year leap, the defense was stifling and aggressive against an outmatched Giants offense, and general manager Chris Grier’s 2021 draft class continued to play exceptionally well.
The Giants offense simply had no answers for rookie pass rusher Jaelan Phillips and rookie safety Javon Holland, and first-year wideout Jaylen Waddle’s sublime connection with Tua Tagovailoa was on full display. If Miami maintains this level of play over the season’s final few weeks, it won’t be a stretch to consider playoff aspirations for a team that was in the league’s cellar just over one month ago.
Bill Belichick Channels 1940s Football in Wild Win over Buffalo Bills
Monday night’s showdown between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills was one of the stranger football games that we’ve seen this season. With sustained winds reaching speeds of over 30 miles per hour in frigid Buffalo, Bill Belichick decided to take a page out of NFL playbooks from the game’s golden years in which passing was the anomaly. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones attempted three total passes. New England ball carriers ran the rock 46 total times. That sort of disparity is unheard of in today’s game.
Buffalo, meanwhile, attempted to stay true to its strengths in having Josh Allen sling the ball downfield, and it almost worked because Allen has a cannon for an arm. Unfortunately for Bills fans, the game’s conditions played to New England’s strengths and accentuated Buffalo’s weaknesses, and the Patriots managed to escape with a victory. Kudos is deserved all around, however, as Belichick’s masterful game plan, Allen’s ridiculous athleticism and unmatched arm strength, and the Patriots talented rushing attack were a joy to watch in a game that viewers are sure to remember for quite some time.
New York Jets Succumb to Minshew Mania Despite Efforts From Young Playmakers
The Mustachioed Gardner Minshew brought his best in New York on Sunday, as the former Jacksonville Jaguars sensation turned Philadelphia Eagles backup put up a masterful performance against the Jets. Minshew completed 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 33-18 victory. While questions over whether Minshew will take Jalen Hurts’ job are probably an overreaction to one great showing, Minshew showed that he still deserves a shot to compete for a starting spot somewhere in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Zach Wilson continued his trend of mixing tantalizing playmaking ability with frustrating mistakes. He accounted for all three of New York’s scores, throwing for two through the air and rushing for another on the ground. He final stat line yielded 23 completions on 38 attempts for 226 yards, the aforementioned three total touchdowns, and one interception. His connection with rookie wideout Elijah Moore (six receptions, 77 yards, and one touchdown) showed plenty of promise and reason excitement. Heading into Week 14, Wilson has certainly displayed enough to make Jets fans excited about his ceiling. These final few weeks of the regular season will be about proving that Wilson can showcase better decision-making and accuracy as the Jets look ahead towards 2022.
Following Justin Hier on Twitter.