AFC East cutting it close on the scoreboard

The NFL released an interesting stat to illustrate how tight competition has been this year.

Of the 104 games played, 31 have been decided by three points or fewer. That's 29.8 percent of the schedule.

If the trend persists throughout the season, then it will be the highest percentage since 1970, when 27.9 of the games were settled by a field goal or less.

The AFC East has steered the movement the past two weeks.

Six of the 18 games (33.3 percent) involving AFC East clubs this year have been decided by three or fewer points. Five of them (83.3 percent) occurred in Weeks 6 and 7.

Because of byes, AFC East teams have played six games the past two weeks. Three went into overtime, and a fourth came inches away. San Diego Chargers kicker Kris Brown's 50-yard attempt hit the upright at the end of a 23-20 New England Patriots victory.

The division's largest margin of victory was a 24-20 New York Jets victory over the Denver Broncos.

"Teams that you might expect to win don't win," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "Teams that you might not expect to win, win and win big. A lot of real close, competitive games come down to the last possession, the last play or one key play right at the end of the game. The league looks very competitive to me all the way across the board."

All of the AFC East's verdicts of three points or fewer have happened against a team from another division. The AFC East is 3-3, with the Patriots the only club without a loss at 2-0.

The AFC East would've had a seventh game that falls into the field-goal category had the Buffalo Bills not surrendered an intentional safety to the Miami Dolphins in 15-10 loss on opening day.