Get ready for a classic showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins for the AFC East crown. As both teams prepare for battle and a postseason run, the New England Patriots and New York Jets square off in what could be the last time Bill Belichick coaches in this long, heated rivalry.
Coming off a 27-21 victory over the Patriots, the Bills showed some flaws offensively, but the defense wreaked havoc by creating four turnovers in route to victory and are primed up to face an explosive Dolphins’ offense they shut down when the two teams squared off, primarily limiting their most explosive weapon.
AFC East showdown: Bills locked in on limiting Tyreek Hill
In a Bills’ 48-20 win in Week 4 at Highmark Stadium, Buffalo limited Tyreek Hill to 3 catches for 51 yards. Can they rise to the challenge again as the two teams face off this time in South Beach? With the pre-snap motion that has turned into a Dolphins strategy for distracting the opposing defense, Bills’ defenders know they will have to be locked in and stay discipline in their approach to taming down Miami’s speed and execution of offense.
“Watching a little bit more tape than usual, just because how they’re moving guys around is a little bit different than other offenses and just being on the same page with, whether it’s the (linebackers) or the safeties and us watching tape together,” Bills cornerback Taron Johnson said of how the defense will prepare for the Dolphins this week.
With the Dolphins preparing to get some of their other offensive weapons back for this AFC East showdown, the focus is obviously on locking down Hill. The speed and savviness will be a challenge for Bills cornerback Rasul Douglas who is coming off a two-interception game against the Patriots.
“He brings something that no one else brings,” Douglas said of defending Hill. “What is this, his second year in a row with 1,700 receiving (yards)? Like, that’s crazy.”
In all, the Bills know Hill is a dangerous factor in this game.
Are the Miami Dolphins ready for primetime?
Given their record against the big boys of the NFL this season, the question remains, are the Dolphins capable of showing up against the NFL elite.
Yes, the Dolphins did get a win against the Dallas Cowboys, but a blowout loss in the first meeting against the Bills and last week’s embarrassing 59-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens tell the tale of a team who feast off lesser competition. As the team prepares for this big AFC East battle, can they shine in primetime on the big stage?
While the offense was shut down in those two games mentioned, the defense basically rolled over in those games. That is really the area where the Dolphins need to prove they can compete. Can Mike McDaniel and his squad put it together in all three phrases of the game? In talking about how his team has evolved since the first meeting with the Bills, the Dolphins coach put it all on the table:
“I think it was in all three phases. It felt like at that point in the season, maybe the players were running the system that we have in each phase. Now it feels like they're owning the system, and there's an incredible power to that. When we're at our best, that's what you're seeing. It's not anybody's plays, play calls, systems – it's theirs, which I firmly believe because they are painters. They're doing all the stuff. We give advice. We give every tool that we can possibly give in preparation and then we try to put players in the best position to succeed. But they're the ones that are out there doing all of it."
The Dolphins will be headed into the playoffs either way, but in a game that will be as intense as a playoff game, it’s time for Miami to show they are real and a team that will punch back when they are punched in the mouth.
AFC East rumors: Will Bill Belichick be coaching his last game as Patriots head coach?
The big question for the New England Patriots heading into the last week of the season against the New York Jets is whether Bill Belichick will be back or coach another team next season.
After a season that will end with either 4 or 5 wins, Patriots owner Robert Kraft will have a lot to think about in the offseason. With what could be a top 3 draft pick, the owner could decide it’s time to go in a different direction with the team. The problem could be Belichick’s willingness to easily step aside.
What should the Patriots do?
With the last two seasons being a disaster on the field and with personnel management, there needs to be some type of shakeup at the top. Whether that’s stripping Belichick of his GM duties or getting rid of the coach in all, it’s obviously time for a change in Foxborough. This offseason is going to be wild!
New York Jets looking to end a 15-game losing streak vs Patriots
How poetic would it be if Bill Belichick loss his final game as Patriots head coach to the New York Jets? In hopes of breaking a 15-game losing streak against the Patriots, Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley is hyped for his team to end the season on a high note and that is by ending the steak.
"I am excited, another great opportunity, a chance to start off a new year right and also finish our year strong," Mosley said, via the team’s official website. "We understand what is at stake playing against New England. Outside of all the noise that is going on in the building from what I have heard, we have to go out there and play our game. We have one more chance to do it together with this group, so I am excited for it."
On the defensive side, Mosely and the Jets have the ability to make it a game, but if the Jets are to end the streak, they will need to put it together offensively and score more than 10 points a Patriots team also struggling for offensive consistency.
In all, it looks to be a wild ending to the season for the AFC East with two teams fighting for the division crown and the other two teams fighting to end the season on a high note.