AFC East Buzz: Aaron Rodgers, Bailey Zappe, Bills still believe, and Dolphins news

News around the AFC East this week includes a potential Aaron Rodgers return and will Bailey Zappe get the nod over Mac Jones in Week 13 for the Patriots?

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets
Miami Dolphins v New York Jets / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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Miami Dolphins have a chance to take control of the AFC East

At 8-3, the Miami Dolphins really have a chance to stake their claim on the AFC East this week with a win over the Washington Commanders at FedExField this Sunday.

With wins over the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Jets following the bye, the Dolphins must continue to win the games they should be to stay in contention for one of the top seeds in the AFC.  While on paper, the Commanders aren’t a team that should be able to stay with the Dolphins offensively, head coach Mike McDaniel knows taking care of business is the prime business at this time in the season.

“I see a team that understands what it means to build during the season, to continue the growth as a team so that we're our best version of ourselves when it matters most,” McDaniel said of his team’s mindset. “I see a team that is excited to play together. I see a team that is used to the spotlight or the headlines and that isn't enamored by that. I see a team that takes the Washington Commanders as serious as every other team that we've played this year and a team that's excited to go compete against them. And that's the only thing on their mind.”

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 In sitting on top of the AFC East with an 8-3 record, the Dolphins have an opportunity to improve to 11-3 with upcoming games against the Commanders, Tennessee Titans and Jets before closing out the season with big matchups against the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and Bills.  With their only win against a .500 team coming against the Raiders, the Dolphins will have their opportunity in the final weeks of the season to show they can beat the heavyweights of the NFL.

That is the next challenge left for McDaniel and the Dolphins.