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Judging NFL Week 12 overreactions: Is Bill Belichick the Coach of the Year? Is Baltimore the best team in the AFC? Could the Rams miss the playoffs?

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Jones slings to Bourne for an early Pats TD (0:20)

Mac Jones finds Kendrick Bourne in the corner of the end zone to give the Patriots a lead vs. the Titans. (0:20)

We have reached the point in the NFL season where some overreactions aren't overreactions at all. At this stage, they're appropriate reactions. By Week 12, we have some sense of how the playoff races will shape up, which teams are real contenders, which teams aren't and which games matter.

For example, everyone knew Sunday's Titans-Patriots matchup was a big game. Tennessee came in with the best record in the AFC (though, without basically its entire offense), while New England was surging and just one game behind. This was the kind of game that absolutely could end up mattering when it's time to figure out who plays where and when in January. And the Patriots won it easily, 36-13.

OK, give the Titans credit. Offensive coordinator Todd Downing put together a game plan in spite of being down to his third- and fourth-string wide receivers, and they were only behind 16-13 at the half. Defensive coordinator Shane Bowen managed to frustrate the Patriots' usually reliable run game. The Titans gained 270 yards on the ground to the Patriots' 105.

But the reason the Patriots won anyway was turnovers. The Titans committed four of them, which means they played this game in New England's wheelhouse. The Patriots' defense has been as opportunistic as any in the league during the team's current six-game winning streak, and it's a big part of the reason that rookie quarterback Mac Jones has grown so comfortable in such a short period of time.

You have to credit Bill Belichick here. He retooled his roster in one offseason, with a free-agency spree that raised eyebrows around the league and a draft that landed two potential cornerstone pieces -- Jones and defensive lineman Christian Barmore -- in the first two rounds. The Patriots started the season 1-3, including a painful home loss to former New England QB Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. But they have righted the ship and now stand at 8-4, with two of their next three games against the Buffalo Bills, who are right behind them in the AFC East race.

So, let's start this week's overreactions column there, shall we?

Bill Belichick is already a lock for NFL Coach of the Year