For Bills fans, Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati was certainly one to forget, and it had a foreshadowing déjà-vu quality, so familiar to Western New Yorkers, that seemed to cast the team’s hot 3-1 in doubt.
But what would most NFL observers have said if you told them in August that Buffalo – fresh off trading away its top receiver, Sammy Watkins – would be heading into the bye week 3-2 and tied with New England atop the AFC East, despite a rash of injuries?
And not only that, but that the New York Jets – the team many NFL analysts thought was intentionally tanking the season – would be 3-2 as well, joining the Bills and Patriots in a three-way-tie for first place?
AFC East standings:
Bills - 3-2
Jets - 3-2
Patriots - 3-2
Dolphins - 2-2
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 8, 2017
Let's take a quick look at the AFC East ... 😱 pic.twitter.com/pzQBO0uqPa
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 8, 2017
The Bills, Jets, and Patriots are all tied for first in the AFC East pic.twitter.com/a3jtFCjzce
— Tom Brady's Ego (@TomBradysEgo) October 8, 2017
What were the odds before the season the Patriots, Bills and Jets would all be tied for first after 5 weeks at 3-2?
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) October 8, 2017
The Patriots, Jets and Bills tied atop the AFC East, just like we all predicted.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) October 8, 2017
The surprise wasn’t lost on Twitter users, especially Jets fans – even those who (like some Bills fans) thought they were rooting for a terrible record and a high draft pick:
It's October. The #Jets are 3-2 and tied for 1st in AFC East. Yes, I wanted the #1 pick. But only a true hater is unhappy now. Nicely done.
— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) October 8, 2017
— Interstate of Green (@interstategreen) October 8, 2017
But despite the relative early-season success of the Bills and Jets, some still need a little more convincing before they’re ready to predict an outcome that would be at odds with nearly two decades of Patriots dominance:
I think I'd bet on Patriots winning more games rest of season than Jets and Bills combined will win.
— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) October 8, 2017