Five games shaping up to have biggest impact on the 2022 NFL season


WEEK 15: Game time and date not yet scheduled.

Although the Bills remain favorites to three-peat in the uber-competitive AFC East, they have plenty of work still to do. They currently are winless within the division (0-2), and their MVP-caliber quarterback is battling an elbow injury.

But barring doomsday news on Josh Allen‘s long-term availability, the Bills — still a half-game up on the Jets and Dolphins — have the talent, coaching and leadership to stay atop the division and possibly earn a first-round bye. It won’t come easy, though. The AFC has nearly double the number of winning teams as the NFC (nine vs. five), and the Bills’ division is the only one in the NFL with all four teams above .500. Several AFC East matchups were considered for this list, including the Jets’ Week 14 game at Buffalo and their season finale in Miami. Ultimately, both the Jets and the Patriots have too many question marks on offense — at the QB position, specifically — carrying the potential to derail them down the stretch.

The Dolphins have no such issue.

Miami — riding a three-game win streak — is 6-1 this season when Tua Tagovailoa has started, with the lone loss coming against the Bengals in Week 4, when Tagovailoa exited in the second quarter after suffering a concussion. The third-year pro leads the NFL in passing yards per attempt (9.2) and passer rating (115.9) in 2022, thanks to good decision-making, Mike McDaniel’s scheme and, of course, one of the most prolific receiving duos we’ve ever seen. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have been exceptional through the first half of the campaign, combining for the most receiving yards by any teammate tandem over the first nine games of a season in the Super Bowl era.

Few teams can match Miami’s offensive firepower, but Buffalo is certainly one of them. The Bills’ Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs pairing is as good any QB-WR combo in the NFL, with Allen leading the NFL in offensive touchdowns (23) and Diggs tying for the league lead in receiving scores (7). As quickly and consistently as the Bills can score, however, it’s their defense and home-field advantage that could be their biggest assets against Miami. Since Sean McDermott’s arrival in 2017, Buffalo boasts the highest total defensive EPA (237.32) at home of any team by far and is tied for the fifth-best home winning percentage (.682).

The Dolphins are already one up in this division battle, having held serve against the Bills in Week 3. A season sweep could mean Miami owns the East by season’s end.



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