By Jeremiah Thermidor
A loss by the Bills this weekend would help the Dolphins who are currently in a four-way tie in the AFC East. A loss by the Patriots and Jets would also put Miami in great position. The conundrum for the Dolphins, who are on a bye this weekend, is the Patriots and Jets face off against each other, so, out of those two teams Miami would want to pick its poison and support the team which would cause them less problems down the road. That team, unfortunately for the Dolphins fans, is the New York Jets.
The New York Jets, who barely beat the Dolphins in Week 3, currently hold the tiebreaker. But Miami will have a chance to even it up in its Week 8 rematch on October 28th. So, Miami really doesn’t need the Patriots to beat the Jets on Sunday. Rather, if the Jets are able to upset the Patriots in Week 7 and Miami turns around and defeats the Jets in Week 8, then the Dolphins would be leading the division or in a two-way tie with the Bills depending on how Buffalo performs the next couple of weeks.
Despite having the same record, when evaluating the body of work between the Jets and the Patriots this year, New England appears to be the stronger team on paper. The Patriots are first in the league in total offense, putting up 31.3 points per game while the Jets are near the bottom at No. 26. Both teams are at the bottom the pile in total defense with the Jets ranked 22nd while the Patriots are 26th. New England has the better quarterback in Tom Brady, the better receivers, the healthier team overall and the better coach. The point is the Patriots are not a division opponent the Dolphins would want to win in any circumstance, especially since the two teams will meet twice in the span of six games near the end of the season. Those games could determine if the Dolphins will be able to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Buffalo is no pushover; not this season, anyway. The Bills are coming off a 19-16 victory over the Cardinals, the same team which beat the Dolphins in late September. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for a measly 153 yards with no touchdowns. It was running back C.J. Spiller who was the star of the game for the Bills, rushing for 88 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries. Buffalo’s defense played a huge role in that one, finishing the contest with 5 sacks on quarterback Kevin Kolb who left the game with a rib/chest injured after being sacked in the fourth quarter. Also fourth-year safety Jairus Byrd has a big game. He nabbed two interceptions for 36 yards, and his second pick in the fourth quarter led to Buffalo’s game-winning field goal. The Bills (3-3) will, of course, play host to the Titans (2-4) this weekend. Tennessee is coming off a hard-fought 26-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3). Buffalo is facing off against a Titans team which is trying not to fall too far back in the AFC South. So, this is definitely a must-win for Tennessee.
The Buffalo-Tennessee showdown is at 1 p.m. eastern while the matchup between the Patriots and Jets kicks off at 4:25. Both contests have implications for the Dolphins, so, those games are definitely worth watching on Sunday afternoon.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.