New England Patriots

Nov 10, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) talks to his team before taking the field for warmups before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

All things considered, the Patriots have to be happy with how their bye week played out around the AFC.

Not that their status as the AFC’s top dog was ever in question, but the Patriots had more beneficial losses than harmful victories by the day’s end, and will begin their stretch run largely in control of their own destiny when it comes to the postseason.

Here’s how things went in the AFC while the Patriots got some rest and relaxation… 

Bills miss last-second kick, lose to Baker Mayfield’s Browns

The Bills have already made things interesting for the Patriots in the AFC East this year.

But a late-game miss from Stephen Hauschka on what would’ve been a game-tying field goal prevented the Bills from pulling themselves within a game of the Patriots for first place in the East, as the Browns squeaked by with a 19-16 victory.

Patrick Mahomes returns, but Chiefs continue to sputter

Not even the return of superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes could snap the Chiefs out of their recent funk, as the Kingdom fell for the fourth time in the last six weeks behind 35-32 loss to the Titans.

Led by Mahomes and his 446 passing yards, the Chiefs put up a staggering 530 yards of total offense, but it was their defense that once again let them down, surrendering the go-ahead touchdown on a four-play, 61-yard touchdown drive in just 59 seconds in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.

This nightmarish defense (and not in the way the Chiefs would like) continues to be a major issue for the Chiefs, too, as they’ve surrendered 369.5 yards per game, which currently ranks as the 11th-worst average in the league. They’ve also surrendered 29 touchdowns through 10 games this year, tied for the seventh-most in all of football.

The Chiefs get a Monday Night Football meeting with the Chargers in Week 11.

Lamar Jackson’s Ravens torch Bengals, 49-13

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson continues to make a compelling case for the 2019 NFL MVP.

Coming off a blowout win over the Patriots last weekend, Jackson absolutely wrecked the hapless Bengals to the tune of a 223 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and another 65 yards and a score on the ground.

The effort was good for Baltimore’s fifth in a row, and puts them within striking distance of the Patriots for the No. 1 seed.

Bengals wideout A.J. Green, meanwhile, sat this game out after suffering a setback with the ankle injury that’s kept him on the shelf all year long. Just put him on the injured reserve and end it already, will ‘ya?

Steelers continue to push forward with 17-12 win over Rams

No Le’Veon Bell. No Antonio Brown. No Ben Roethlisberger. And yet, 10 weeks into the 2019 NFL season, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers officially find themselves in a playoff spot thanks to their 17-12 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

It was hardly a masterpiece from either team, as the teams combined for just one offensive touchdown (the teams traded fumble recovery touchdowns in the first half), and totaled eight points (two field goals and a safety) in the second half.

Pittsburgh’s win ended Rams coach Sean McKay’s perfect 10-0 (regular season) record against AFC opponents.

The Dolphins are on a winning streak

In Life Comes At You Fast news, the Colts went from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett to Brian Hoyer in a span of 12 weeks. It was as bad as it sounds, too, as Hoyer completed just 18 of his 39 attempts for just over 200 yards and three interceptions in a 16-12 loss to the Dolphins.

Jets beat Giants in battle for New York

Adam Gase’s squad is on the board with their second win of the year thanks to Sunday’s 34-27 win over the Giants.

The Jets are still thinking playoffs, too.

“We need every win from now on because we’ve still got a chance. I mean, if we get on a roll here and we win out, we’ve got a chance at the playoffs,” Jets quarterback Sam Darnold said after the victory. “Guys in this locker room know this. They know that, and we’re really excited to continue to get back to work. That’s what it’s about.”

The good news for the Jets is that they’ve already wrapped up their season series with the Ghosts Patriots.

What it all means: The idle Patriots remained in control of the No. 1 seed in the AFC, at 8-1, while the Ravens are just one game behind by way of their 7-2 record. The Texans, who were also on a bye, remained in first place thanks to Miami’s win over the Colts, while the 5-4 Raiders are officially within striking distance of the West-best Chiefs (6-4) thanks to Tennessee’s upset. Kansas City, meanwhile, dropped to No. 4 in the playoff structure. Buffalo remained in the No. 1 wild card despite their loss, while Pittsburgh’s win has pushed them into the second and final wild card spot for the time being.

1. Patriots (8-1)

2. Ravens (7-2)

3. Texans (6-3)

4. Chiefs (6-4)

5. Bills (6-3)

6. Steelers (5-4)

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.