AFC East: Patriots One Step Closer To AFC East Title . . . Again.
by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
Yes, this is the hard part of the season for a lot of teams and the fans of those teams. Take the AFC East for instance. The Jets, Dolphins, and Bills fans have to make a decision. Do they accept the ugly truth of the reality of their season? Or do they bask and frolic in the comforting glow of the fantasy world known as "Mathematically Alive"?
Much like purgatory, "Mathematically Alive" is just a stop-over until your final destination. Sooner or later you will have to vacate the premises to either Valhalla, or the more likely option of football hell, "HFTP" (Home For The Playoffs).
Here are five things you should be aware of in week 13:
1. Patriots are pulling further away. (Patriots vs. Dolphins)
The closest thing the New England Patriots have to competition in the AFC East is the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots will try to stick the proverbial dagger into the hearts of the Dolphins this week in Miami.
You have to say "try" only because it hasn't happened yet. In reality the Patriots have the No. 1 Real Quarterback Rating and Offensive Hog Index spot. They are No. 2 in our Offensive Passer Rating and third in our Real Passing Yards Per Attempt.
In Valhalla however, anything can happen. Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill can rebuke his 26th ranked Real Quarterback Rating and out duel Tom Brady. In Valhalla, Reggie Bush will transform into the running back he believes he is in his own mind and make sparks come out of his cleats.
Miami fans can stop reading at this point. The Dolphins have to play the Patriots twice and the new and improved 49ers before this nightmare is over. Take the first thing smoking out of purgatory and face the reality. It will make your Christmas a whole lot better.
2. A chance at redemption . . . not. (Jets vs. Cardinals)
The good news for the Jets is that the Cardinals reek almost as much as they do. The bad news is the word "almost".
The ace in the Jets hole is the third string quarterback playing for the Cardinals. Thanks to the injury of Kevin Kolb, and the ineffectiveness of John Skelton, Arizona will be starting Rookie (and yet another quarterback named) Ryan Lindley.
(Seriously, are guys changing their names to Ryan when they become quarterbacks?)
Lets hope for the Jets sake that Lindley doesn't do a Colin Kaepernick on them and blow them out of the building. Not too long ago, that was an absurd thought.
Both the Jets and the Cardinals come to this meeting with 4-7 records. They also share the little to no chance of making the playoffs. So the only thing they have to play for is not being the worst of the worst.
Good luck, you're both going to need it.
3. A sinking Buffalo chip. (Bills vs. Jaguars)
Glory be to hot wings. The Bills are actually facing a team that they "should" beat. The numbers tell us that Jacksonville is just a warmer version of Buffalo. The weather can get extreme even though the football never does.
The Jaguars are a lowly 2-9. They rank in the bottom of just about every meaningful statistical category, offense and defense. Thanks to injuries to Blaine Gabbert, Miami has to turn to Dolphins cast off Chad Henne.
Henne provided the Jaguars their first win in two months. Henne posted a 108 quarterback rating with his 261 yards and two touchdowns.
But the Bills get a snow day. Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew will not be playing in the game on Sunday. That's one less person the Bills defense will have to worry about.
Between the numbers and the good fortune, things look to be in favor of the Bills. If they can continue to make progress on defense, and keep Ryan Fitzpatrick out of the danger zone, they should be able to secure this fruitless victory.
4. Here's what they think about you.
As stated earlier, the fans of teams in the midst of a power slide have basically two choices. They can either bathe in the milk and honey of fantasy land where they still have life. Or they can choke down the reality of their teams situation.
The Jets have forced most of their fans into reality with their performance last week. In fact, the most notable Jets fan of them all has called it quits. Ed Anzalone, better known to the football world as "Fireman Ed" has retired from his post.
Ed claims it was increasing confrontations with fellow Jet fans over the state of the team and his loyalty to it, that forced his hand. It just coincidentally happened right after one of the most embarrassing losses in Jets history. Also, one of the most embarrassing single plays in Jets history as well.
Fireman Ed may have taken the diplomatic way out. You have to learn diplomacy to be a Jets fan and live in the world with other functioning human beings. However there are certainly Jets fans who have abandoned diplomacy.
You have heard players say they get an earful from the fans at the stadium when things go wrong. Well hearing about the chatter and actually hearing the chatter are two different things. Here is what it sounds like to be the Jets going into half time of perhaps the poorest half of you life.
5. You can sleep well knowing . . .
. . . Only the Jets could think that the best way to push the spotlight away from a team mutiny is to give up three touchdowns in 52-seconds.
. . . There is a possibility that Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-drew got hurt on purpose just so they wouldn't have to play in this battle-of-the-bums.
. . . At least the Jet fans in the video were knowledgeable. They called out the name of each Jet they were cursing without even having to see the name on the back of the jersey.