In this week’s edition of our AFC East Preview, the Miami Dolphins look to halt a five-game losing skid and take on an Atlanta Falcons team that is coming off a victory against a fellow AFC East squad in the New York Jets. Speaking of Gang Green, New York is headed to Foxborough to take on Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots for the second time this season, marking the first conclusion of a 2021 AFC East rivalry series. The Buffalo Bills, meanwhile, will be licking their wounds from last Sunday’s heartbreaking loss while on a bye before next week’s Halloween showdown with the Dolphins.
AFC East Standings
- Buffalo Bills (4-2) overall; (1-0) division
- New England Patriots (2-4) overall; (1-1) division
- New York Jets (1-4) overall; (0-1) division
- Miami Dolphins (1-4) overall; (1-1) division
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins – October 24th at 1:00pm ET
The league’s biggest disappointment this season? There’s no doubt it’s the Miami Dolphins. Head coach Brian Flores’ club was supposed to be a bona fide playoff contender building off an impressive 10-6 season. Now, the team is mired in a disastrous campaign with a 1-5 record and rumors swirling about Flores and general manager Chris Grier’s job status, the team’s feelings toward’s 2020 fifth-overall draft pick Tua Tagovailoa, and the front office’s interest in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (who, as we all know, is facing nearly two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct).
What should have been a get-right game for this team now looks more like a get-right game for the Atlanta Falcons, who themselves are trying to continue getting their season back on track following a rough start. Right or wrong, Tua’s time to convince this regime he’s the quarterback of the future is running out. A strong showing this week is needed for a litany of reasons, but none more pressing than Tua’s future in aqua and orange.
Score prediction: Miami 23 – Atlanta 21
New York Jets at New England Patriots – October 24th at 1:00pm ET
This is not last year’s Jets team. New York is by no means a playoff contender, or even one of the teams in the top-half of the league in terms of talent, but there have been enough glimpses of impressive play to give opposing teams reason to not overlook rookie Zach Wilson and co. Two weeks ago, head coach Robert Saleh managed to coach his unit to a 27-24 overtime win over a Tennessee Titans team that just beat a Bills unit most consider to be a top-5 outfit in the NFL.
When New York last played the Patriots back in Week 2, Belichick managed to give Wilson fits and held Gang Green to just six points. For the Jets to have a good chance keeping this contest closer, the team should lean on impressive rookie running back Michael Carter. In Week 2, Carter carried the ball 11 times for 59 yards, averaging a generous 5.36 yards per cary, while also catching 2 of 3 targets for an additional 29 yards. He’s one of the most explosive weapons Saleh possesses, and the first-year head coach would be wise to give him more touches.
Score prediction: New England 24 – New York 20