Pats gain some separation in AFC East

With the Dolphins holding on to beat the Jets (what an entertaining second half), and the Bills losing to the Texans, here is the most important stat for Patriots followers:

Patriots 5-2

Jets 4-4

Dolphins 3-4

Bills 3-5

After their Week 2 loss to the Jets, the Patriots couldn't ask for much more at this point. They have some early separation in the division.

That figures to be a theme that Bill Belichick stresses to his team this week: With next Sunday's home game against the Dolphins (1 p.m.), the Patriots have a chance to create more distance between them and the rest of the field (the Jets and Bills have byes next weekend).

Meanwhile, the Dolphins are 3-0 in AFC East play this year, having swept the Jets and also posted a win over the Bills.

Although the early part of the season has been more of a struggle than the Dolphins hoped for -- a devastating Week 2 loss to Indianapolis highlighting the early bumps in the road -- they come to Foxborough with a chance to enter the halfway point square and undefeated in the division (a key consideration in any playoff tiebreakers).

That sets the stage for a big AFC East showdown.