Going into week ten, there was a three-team log jam in the AFC East. The surprising Bills and perennial favorite Patriots had been battling for the top spot since the start of the season, and the Jets had put together an impressive string of wins to pull even with the other two division foes.

Week 10 featured a battle between two of those teams, and the result (at least on the scoreboard) would seem to suggest that nothing has changed in the East.

Though the Jets were only trailing by 7 late into the third quarter, the Patriots turned the tables on them and ran away with the game in the end, posting a 37-16 victory.

But the Patriots lost to the Bills, who still only trail by one game, right? But the Jets completely dominated the Bills in their first meeting of the season, right? And the Pats already swept the series against the Jets, right?

What about the Dolphins? They are on a 2-game winning streak (and with the way Buffalo has looked the past two weeks, plus their mounting list of injuries, it could soon be three!) … don’t they come into the picture here?

No. They don’t. :)

So what’s the deal with this division. It’s not the West, where the Raiders at 5-4 have a one-game lead over the other three teams tied at 4-5. This division seems to have a tight race between three good teams. More like the AFC or NFC North perhaps? But are they really that good?

Let’s have a look:


These really are not the same Patriots. While Tom Brady still is right near the top in every QB category, and their stellar TE duo are lighting up opponents defenses, AND they are still in the top 3 offenses in the league, they are dead last in defense. Last. That could be their “achilles heel”, for sure. But how can you bet against Tom Brady? Showing no signs of slowing down (save that 4-INT loss vs Buffalo), Brady and the Patriots are enjoying sole possession of first place now in the East. The big advantage they have now is the two wins over the Jets, which also gives them a 3-1 division record. That should be a big advantage later in the season.

The other enormous advantage the Pats have in holding this division lead is their schedule. Check this out:

Patriots Remaining Schedule
11/21 – Kansas City
11/28 – @ Philadelphia
12/4 – Indianapolis
12/11 – @ Washington
12/18 – @ Denver
12/24 – Miami
1/1 – Buffalo

Are you kiddin’ me??? The only game they should have any trouble with is the game in Philadelphia, and, hopefully the last game against the Bills. But at that point, with this schedule, will it even matter? Wow!


The Jets are tied with the Bills for second, but I’m sure there aren’t many who feel like the two teams have the same record. The Jets came into Buffalo calling the Bills the “same old Bills” and they played like it. They not only knew they would win, they were absolutely certain they would dominate the Bills. And they did.

Unfortunately, though they probably thought the same thing about the Patriots, they lost both games to the Pats already. That puts the Jets in a huge hole for the top spot in the division, though they can eliminate any challenge from behind by Buffalo by beating them in NJ in two weeks.

The Jets still have a stifling defense. They have proved that several times this season. They even have some pretty great weapons on offense. (Still not sold on Sanchez, though…) But obviously, for whatever reason, the Pats still have their number. If the Jets can hold on and secure a wild card berth, what a slugfest that game would be. (And you know, it’s really, really hard to beat a team three times in one season!)


Bills fans are panicking. This scenario is all too familiar. Just three seasons ago, the Bills jumped out to a 5-1 record, only to finish 7-9. Teams (and many injuries) caught up with Buffalo, and revealed their true nature.

Is that what is happening here to Buffalo again in 2011? Still not sure. The Bills have a few chances still to right the ship. First, they can win games they are supposed to win (like, Miami this coming weekend). Then they have a second crack at the New York Jets, with whom they are currently tied for 2nd place, and who completely embarrassed them in their own stadium.

But do they have the personnel to make it happen?

A better question is, do they have the depth? And the very real answer to that is: Definitely not.

Already the Bills have played many games without starters Kyle Williams, Terrence McGee, Chris Kelsay, Donald Jones, Demetrius Bell, and even last week, K Rian Lindell! Lots of other players have been in and out of the lineup, and now Kyle Williams joins Shawne Merriman, Roscoe Parrish and a few others on IR for the season. The Bills do not have the depth to withstand such a depletion of their roster. Period.

So is the season over for Buffalo? Of course not. But is it most likely over. Yeah. Probably so. The next two games will probably decide that for them.


Obviously the Dolphins are not in the division race. However, with two straight wins, and struggling Buffalo coming to town … they are trying to salvage a bit of respect from this season. Three straight wins would nearly end Buffalo’s playoff aspirations, and at least give Miami something positive from the 2011 season. They do have some weapons (Brandon Marshall, Reggie Bush) but it seems like it’s time for a new coaching staff in south Florida.

So who is gonna win??

The division is definitely up for grabs, but after week ten, it seems much less up for grabs. That’s the greatest thing about the NFL, though. You really don’t know who’s going to win, you really don’t know. You think you do, but you don’t.

(If I had to guess, though… the current standings will probably be the final standings. That hurts this Bills fan to say it, but, it seems the likely final outcome. BUT… that’s why they play the games!)