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Final NFL Week 6 Observations ... With Dolphins Angles

The top of the AFC hierarchy starts with the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens, two teams the Miami Dolphins will face over the next month

So maybe the Buffalo Bills shouldn't be crowned AFC champions just yet.

Shoot, they don't even have the best record in the conference anymore after their 34-31 Monday night loss at Tennessee because that distinction now belongs to the Baltimore Ravens.

But let's not think for a second the Bills still aren't going to run away with what looks like a very mediocre AFC East this season, and they'll look to get back on track in their next game, which happens to be Oct. 31 against the Miami Dolphins after their bye.

Bottom line: The Bills still very much have to rank near the top among AFC contenders, even after this setback.

The Bills lost at Tennessee for a second consecutive season because they couldn't contain Derrick Henry and because Josh Allen came up short on a quarterback sneak in the final minute.

Like the Dolphins the day before, the Bills absolutely were right in going for the win there instead of kicking a game-tying field goal and we can't even second-guess the play call considering Allen had been 29-of-31 on quarterback sneaks converting first downs to that point in his career, according to a tweet by PFF.

In that sense, at least Buffalo lost with its best player with the ball in his hands, unlike the Dolphins handing off to Malcolm Brown (no offense) out of the shotgun on their failed fourth-and-1 attempt.

BEWARE BALTIMORE

What the Ravens did to the L.A. Chargers not only was frightening, it borderlines on amazing when you think of all the injuries Baltimore has suffered this season.

Baltimore moved to 5-1 on the season by completely suffocating the high-flying Chargers offense and giving Justin Herbert no time to get comfortable in the pocket.

The Ravens, incidentally, come to Hard Rock Stadium for a Thursday night game 11 days after the Dolphins travel to Buffalo and it's a bit frightening right now to think about what kind of pounding they could administer.

Then again, it can't be worse than 59-10, right?

As for the Chargers, the game at Baltimore was sobering in terms of their standing in the AFC hierarchy because they flat-out couldn't compete on this day.

And while Tua fans — and that includes some media members — were quick to point at Herbert's ugly stat line, understand that he wasn't the problem in this game even though he wasn't nearly as accurate as usual.

No, what this game exposed was the Chargers' problems on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

For all the accolades thrown in the direction of rookie tackle Rashawn Slater, the line as a whole has been adequate at best at protecting Herbert this season and the defense absolutely can't stop the run.

That's not a good combination for a team hoping to make any kind of playoff push.

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HARRIS' HOT STREAK

Former Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell is still looking for his first win as Lions head coach after a blowout loss against the Cincinnati Bengals that marked one of the first times this year his team wasn't really competitive.

One player doing his part for the Lions is 2017 Dolphins first-round pick Charles Harris, who had a four-game sack streak come to an end against the Bengals.

Yes, four-game sack streak.

The four sacks also represents a career high for Harris, whose previous high was three in 2020 for Atlanta, where the Dolphins traded him after he flopped in Miami.

How to explain Harris' turnaround?

This is what Publisher John Maakaron of sister site All Lions had to say: "Charles Harris is a player on the Lions roster that has taken advantage of his opportunity. This past offseason, the Lions went in search of players who wanted to give maximum effort and were looking to turn their careers around after failed opportunities elsewhere. Harris has taken full advantage and benefited from playing in Aaron Glenn’s system. Playing outside linebacker and being in the right fit and the right time has seen Harris perform at a quality level for the Lions’ defense."

And then this is what Harris himself had to say: "My vision, it zeroes in. And I think that’s the biggest thing, I’m locked in, I’m on a routine. We’re actually practicing every single day the same drills, same techniques, and I think that’s what heightens is just your attention to detail, making sure you’re doing the same things, if not more, to keep the production going, if not surpass, and that’s kind of where I’m looking. I’m looking to go higher and better versus being stagnant or falling off.”

Unfortunately, things aren't likely to get better for Campbell, Harris and the Lions this week as they travel to SoFi Stadium to take on the 5-1 Rams.

WHAT TO MAKE OF MAC JONES?

Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones continues to draw mostly rave reviews for his performance, even after the overtime loss against the Dallas Cowboys, but we just don't know what to make of Bill Belichick's ultra-conservative approach with him if he's doing that well.

There were blatant examples in that Dallas game of a coach certainly not acting as though he's got a ton of confidence in his rookie.

The first came late in the first half after the Patriots caused Dak Prescott's fumble in the end zone when he attempted a QB dive on fourth down. The turnover gave New England the ball at its 20 with 1:30 left in the half, plenty of time to try to tack on a field goal to build on its 14-10 lead — even with no timeouts left.

Instead, the Patriots ran a running play, followed by two kneel-downs to kill the clock.

The second example came in overtime after Jones moved the Patriots from their 25 to their 46 after receiving the kickoff.

The Patriots got a fourth-and-3 after a third-down incompletion where the officials missed a pretty clear facemask penalty (or hands to the face) on the DB on a pass intended for Nelson Agholor.

Regardless, Belichick elected to punt to Dallas on fourth-and-3 from his 46 even though the Cowboys now were in position to win with only a field goal and even though Dallas' previous four possessions had ended in touchdown, field goal, missed field goal and field goal.

Seems like a coach trusting his rookie QB there wouldn't have wanted to give Dallas the ball back.