The AFC East is starting to falter near the finish line of the knockout round.
The buffalo bill earned their playoff kick spot. That was the only positive result for the division in Week 15. Bills beat Miami Dolphins on Sunday. But the loss didn’t crush Miami in the post-season pursuit. The Dolphins have a 72% chance of making it to the knockout stages, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. And perhaps they are learning their shortcomings after this three-game losing streak.
The New York Jets and New England Patriots each suffered defeats that nearly killed their playoff chances – both teams had less than a 20% chance of making it to the knockout stages. Jets and Zach Wilson can’t keep the Detroit Lions. New England suffered defeat at the hands of assault on one of the shameful plays in recent memory.
Let’s dive into some of the week’s lessons.
Invoice QB Josh Allen no change but the result is there
There are a few games where many people wonder if something broke Josh Allen. Not long ago. Between Weeks 8 and 10, Allen performed two interceptions per game, including one interception in the red area per game.
Everyone is calm, right?
There has been a lot of criticism for Allen and first-year offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. But Allen’s revenue problems are back to normal. He has only had one interception in the past five games. I don’t think he’s adjusted his decision-making that much. He’s still taking the risk. Big ones. He just converted them.
Here’s an example from last week. He got out of his pocket and pulled out his watch to throw sideways for a touchdown. If he misses it, he misses a scoring opportunity. But he pressed his stethoscope. The Bills completed the trip with a touch of the ball.
Bills coach Sean McDermott laughed and said, “Yeah, let’s run the clock to zero and do a touchdown, right? He was lucky to throw a touchdown pass right there.” “I probably deflated his tire after the game. He will learn from that game, and maybe I will too.”
Even McDermott knew – at this point – that the Bills needed some Allen magic to win the big games. And that means riding with him through these perils, which means he’ll fall into violent storms. But he seems hot-tempered. And he’ll need to keep the heat, if he wants to hit this high to make it to the knockout stages.
Where is love for? sauce maker as Defensive Player of the Year?
The offenses must make a tough decision when they face Jets CB Sauce Gardner. They have to decide which receiver they want to clear in any given playthrough. Gardner usually plays on one side and will close that area completely. Against the Bills in Week 14, Gardner allowed only one catch (6 yards) on two goals despite taking 35 shots with the highest coverage of his teammate, according to Pro Football Focus.
This season, Gardner has a defensive level of 87.9 and a coverage level of 89.6, the highest in the NFL.
As a rookie. Let that sink in.
It was inevitable that Gardner won Defensive Rookie of the Year. He deserves it. But what about Defensive Player of the Year? If the Jets make it to the knockout stages, Gardner will have a better case. But not creating post-season should not rule him out. He’s one of the NFL’s best players. He is this year’s version Ja’Marr Chasean instantly elite player in his position.
A Profitable Pro Bowl for Tua Tagovailoa
Voters have spoken out. Tua Tagovailoa received the most fan votes for the Pro Bowl (306,861).
Not only is that a huge achievement for Tua and Dolphins fans, but it’s also a remarkable turnaround for Miami, which will likely owe the quarterback another $6 million.
If he’s on the Pro Bowl team, Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option would go from $22 million to $28 million. He is in the third year of his contract and the Dolphins must decide if they use his fifth-year option before May 2023.
They will probably choose that – unless they decide to sign him on a long-term extension.
But if Tua gets his fifth year pick, his flag football-style trip to the Pro Bowl will ultimately prove to be a lucrative one.
Explains Dolphins’ strange invocation of the third word or less
Miami’s coach, Mike McDaniel, did a great job setting up an impressive ground game – only giving it up when it matters. The Dolphins averaged 7.52 yards per take against Buffalo on Saturday. And yet, throughout the game in the third and short-term, McDaniel played a quick pass, which repeatedly let them down.
In the second half, the Dolphins faced a third four takedowns when they needed four yards or less. They throw it all the time. First time? It was the third and fourth quarters, and they scored a goal. But then for the next three turns, they need three yards or less. And they made it through, ultimately failing to convert a single time. They finished 5/14 on the third down.
McDaniel was asked about his thought process of relying on the pass too much in third place.
“In a game like that, you have to be ahead of what the defense is doing,” McDaniel said. “We had to give them a reason to play single safe. I think they played four snaps the first time we played against them. So you have a choice: You can play fear. , or you can try to keep doing your offense it’s built to do. And if they’re pressuring five men to stop the run, that’s going to be bad.
“I’m happy with the way the game went. … Attacking and defence trust our receivers and midfield, and you have to play together and take advantage of what the defense gives you. “
The banknotes are arranged in formation to make it easier for the Dolphins to throw the ball. And even though the Dolphins have been a great passing team all year (and though the Bills seem to have easily overtaken Miami), Tua & Co. struggled to perform against a defense as good as Buffalo’s.
So McDaniel was in a predicament, as the defense let the Dolphins have power (game in progress) and they still couldn’t convert on the third down.
What’s next for Mac Jones?
At least it has to be said that the Patriots QB were animated on the field. I’m not sure if it was belligerence (for player Matt Patricia) or temper (when he lacked control over a sink foul) or a leadership effort (to stimulate likes his teammates).
“You don’t want to let your emotions overwhelm your rationality. But yeah, I think that’s enough,” Jones said earlier this month. “It wasn’t aimed at anyone. It was just an emotional outburst and we needed a spark.”
But now I wonder how Jones was perceived in the dressing room.
Because Patricia is clearly having trouble executing the offense, Jones is having a hard time setting up success for his teammates. And one of Jones’ teammates, deal brown brownrecently liked an Instagram post suggesting patriots pursue pending free agent quarterbacks brave cat and Jimmy Garoppolo out of this case.
It’s really interesting.
Of course, who wouldn’t want Brady? Even at the end of his career, patriots will likely welcome him back.
But Garoppolo? He’s a beginner struggling with injuries. He’s definitely an upgrade over Jones. But you can argue how big an upgrade is. I’m not sure if Garoppolo will significantly improve New England’s offensive ability.
But it doesn’t really matter what I think. What matters is what Patriot players think. And maybe we just got a window into a player’s mind.
If Brown liked the idea of patriots chasing another quarterback, how many other players liked the idea? And that raises a lot of other questions about Jones’ relationship with the team and his future with the franchise.
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Prior to joining FOX Sports as an AFC East correspondent, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Corporation and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalytics.
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