AFC East wide open after Pats, Dolphins win

Miami DolphinsWith the Jets’ 24-14 loss to the 49ers coupled with the Dolphins’ 16-3 win over the Bills and the Patriots’ narrow 24-21 victory over the Seahawks, the AFC East is now up for grabs with all three teams sitting at 8-5.

If the season ended today, the Jets would still claim first place because they have the best division record at 3-1. But they currently have the same conference record as the Dolphins do at 6-4 and the Jets still have to play Miami and Buffalo, although both games are at home.

Even though they’re still technically in the best shape, the Jets have just suffered two ugly defeats. Miami has won six of their last seven games and arguably has the easiest remaining schedule as they host the 49ers next week before finishing at the Chiefs and Jets to end the season. New England’s remaining schedule isn’t too daunting either, as the Pats travel to Oakland next week, host the Cardinals in Week 16 and end the season at Buffalo.

It’s amazing to think that this division is so wide open given that just three weeks ago many were talking about the Jets being a possible Super Bowl contender after they beat the Titans. Granted, all of that talk was incredibly premature, but it’s crazy to think that a Tom Brady-less Patriots and a Dolphins team coming off a 1-15 season have just as much of a chance to win the division as a Jets team that looked like world beaters just two weeks ago.

Comment fodder: Who wins the division? None of the three teams have a very difficult schedule, so it might come down to home field advantage. The Jets have two more home games left, while the Pats and Dolphins each have one apiece. I still think New York wins the AFC East, but it’s going to be interesting over the next three weeks.

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Matt Cassel has Patriots’ offense rolling

Matt CasselFor the second week in a row, Patriots’ quarterback Matt Cassel threw for over 400 yards, only this time his effort wasn’t wasted as he led New England to a 48-28 victory over AFC East foe Miami.

It’s safe to say that New England has its offense back on track and Cassel is obviously a huge reason for that. It appears that Bill Belichick has taken the training wheels off of his quarterback, who has definitely earned the right to attempt more downfield passes.

The emergence of Cassel has made the Pats a dangerous team again, although their defense has been suspect the past two weeks against the Jets and Dolphins. Nothing against Chad Pennington because he’s been great this year for the Dolphins, but there’s no way a playoff caliber defense allows him to throw for 341 passes and three touchdowns. Although hey, at least Belichick figured out a way to defend the “Wildcat” formation after Ronnie Brown tore the Pats’ defense a new one in these team’s first meeting.

Has it just been two bad weeks for the Pats’ defense or have the Jets and Dolphins exposed a weakness?

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