1. Critical penalties soiled AFC East showdown

It is hard enough to beat the Patriots in Foxboro, and even more challenging to do it with the refs on New England's side. Numerous questionable, if not borderline calls went Bill Belichick's way a week after the refs cost the Patriots an overtime loss to the New York Jets. The most troubling call was an illegal batting of a fumble on Olivier Vernon, who appeared to be trying to bring in the Jimmy Wilson fumble caused by a sack. That penalty was the source of the two-score lead the Patriots held in the fourth quarter. New England capitalized -- as they normally do.
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( Jim Rogash / Getty Images / October 27, 2013 )

It is hard enough to beat the Patriots in Foxboro, and even more challenging to do it with the refs on New England's side. Numerous questionable, if not borderline calls went Bill Belichick's way a week after the refs cost the Patriots an overtime loss to the New York Jets. The most troubling call was an illegal batting of a fumble on Olivier Vernon, who appeared to be trying to bring in the Jimmy Wilson fumble caused by a sack. That penalty was the source of the two-score lead the Patriots held in the fourth quarter. New England capitalized -- as they normally do.

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2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
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