In this week’s AFC East Preview, everything stays within the division. The Miami Dolphins are looking for revenge against the presumed titans of the East in the Buffalo Bills after the latter smacked around Miami in the 2021 regular season finale. Meanwhile, Mac Jones and Zach Wilson are both searching for the first win of the their respective careers. Can Jones close one out after just barely missing out on a victory in Week 1, or will Broadway Zach and the New York Jets force the once mighty New England Patriots to an 0-2 start?
AFC East Standings
- Miami Dolphins (1-0) overall; (1-0) division
- New York Jets (0-1) overall; (0-0) division
- Buffalo Bills (0-1) overall; (0-0) division*
- New England Patriots (0-1) overall; (0-1) division
*New York wins a tiebreaker over Buffalo due to the former’s better conference record.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins - September 19th at 1:00pm ET
If you’re on this site, you probably don’t need the reminder, but the last time these two teams met, it wasn’t a pretty finish for the ‘Phins. The Bills coasted to a 56-26 victory and didn’t even need starters to play the second half. Miami’s playoff hopes were dashed, and the Bills charged into the playoffs on the hottest of streaks.
That result likely doesn’t leave Dolphins fans with a whole lot of hope, but things are different now. Buffalo was just exposed at the hands of an elite Pittsburgh Steelers defense, Tua Tagovailoa has had a full offseason to recover and study, and the second-year quarterback has elite weapons at his disposal instead of having to rely on Mack Hollins, Lynn Bowden Jr., and Jakeem Grant on the perimeter.
To win this one, Brian Flores’ defense is going to have to do a much better job making Josh Allen uncomfortable. An elite secondary can only do so much against one of the most mobile and strong-armed gunslingers in the league if the front-seven can’t hit home. Buffalo’s offense is dangerous. Miami’s defense needs to prove it’s an equal match. Otherwise, Tagovailoa will be tasked with keeping up in a shootout, something we haven’t seen him do since the second start of his career.
Score prediction: Miami 31 - Buffalo 30
New England Patriots at New York Jets - September 19th at 1:00pm ET
Mac Jones first career win was within his grasp. Then Xavien Howard happened, and that win was swiped from the grasp of Jones’ starting running back, Damien Harris. This week, the former Alabama Crimson Tide star faces a far less formidable defense and an offense that just lost its starting left tackle. Zach Wilson showed glimpses of magic last week, but only glimpses. He’s clearly still far from a polished product, and Bill Belichick is likely licking his chops as he waits to take advantage of a player who too often last week tried to be the hero and extend plays beyond their reasonable conclusion.
For New York to have a chance, they’ll have to pressure Mac Jones far more than Miami was able to last week. The Dolphins don’t by any means have an elite front seven, but New York’s isn’t any better (and the latter’s secondary is a whole lot worse). Expect Jets head coach Robert Salah to deploy a variety of blitzes and pressures with the hopes of knocking Jones off balance, though Belichick will be standing on the other sideline doing just the same.
Score prediction: New England 27 - New York 17
Follow Justin Hier on Twitter @HierJustin.