AFC East Notebook: Rex Ryan gets ultimate revenge shot vs. Jets
It’s officially Week 17 and only two teams in the AFC East have something to play for: the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. However, for the Buffalo Bills, Sunday’s game has plenty of meaning to it. They get to play the role of spoiler. And as an added bonus, it’s against Rex Ryan’s former team.
There was plenty of buzz surrounding the first Jets-Bills matchup earlier in the year, a game in which Buffalo came away victorious. Ryan tried to downplay the significance of the win, but it was obvious after the game how elated he was to beat his former team — the team that ran him out of town in what was a messy separation.
Now, he has a chance to get revenge once again and eliminate them from playoff contention in what Buffalo running back Boobie Dixon is calling the Bills’ "Super Bowl."
"We’re not going to the playoffs, so the Super Bowl is next week for us," Dixon said. "I know we’re gonna have a lot of guys jacked. We already know what’s on the line."
If the Jets lose, they won’t be knocked out of the playoffs for sure. The Steelers will also have to win for that to happen, but a victory over the Bills would clinch a playoff berth for New York. There’s no doubt Ryan will have his guys fired up, though he’ll likely be more excited than the players. Getting revenge on the Jets would be a fitting way to end the Bills’ disappointing season.
Coin-flip gaffe won’t keep Patriots from getting home-field advantage
The biggest storyline to come out of Sunday’s game between the Patriots and the Jets was Bill Belichick’s decision to kick off in overtime and give New York the football first. Of course, the Jets drove down the field with ease and scored a touchdown on their first possession, ending the game before Tom Brady and the Patriots offense could touch the football.
Belichick has defended the decision adamantly, saying it was the right choice, but the result says otherwise. However, for as bad as the loss was, it won’t prevent the Patriots from locking up home-field advantage in the AFC. All New England has to do is beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and they’ll host every playoff game until the Super Bowl.
If that’s not simple enough, they can also get some help from their friends, the San Diego Chargers. If the Denver Broncos fall to the Chargers, the Patriots will clinch home-field advantage. That game, which kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET, could prove to be meaningless for New England if the Patriots win their 1 p.m. ET game first.
Since 2010, New England is 11-2 against the Dolphins, so beating them shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Miami has underwhelmed this season and is coming off a loss to the Indianapolis Cols’ third-string quarterback. In the end, the AFC will more than likely go through New England.
Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to join teammates in record books
Over the past two seasons, the Jets have added several key playmakers that have played a huge role in getting New York to this point. Ryan Fitzpatrick has taken over as the team’s starting quarterback, while Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall have done nothing but dominate on the outside. In fact, they’ve been so dominant that they’ve combined to set several records.
Marshall has the most 100-catch seasons in NFL history, while he and Decker have caught one touchdown each in the same game eight times this season — also an NFL record.
Now, it’s Fitzpatrick’s turn to join the record-breaking party. With just one touchdown pass on Sunday, Fitzpatrick will pass Vinny Testaverde for the most in a single season in Jets history. They’re currently tied at the top with 29, but with the way Fitzpatrick’s played of late, he’s almost a sure bet to break the record.
It’s hard to believe he wasn’t expected to be the starter for the Jets until Geno Smith had his jaw broken by IK Enemkpali. One might say that was the best thing to happen to the Jets this season.