When the New England Patriots were not able to retain Tom Brady, it pushed the window wide open in the AFC East for 2020. The Buffalo Bills looked to be a heavy favorite to win the division for the first time since 1995 after a successful 10-6 season and a big splash offseason. The 2020 season would be the first year where the Bills would not have to Brady twice a year, but the Patriots made a splash late on June 28th when they would sign former league MVP and almost Super Bowl 50 champion, Cam Newton.
Instead of second year man Jarrett Stidham, the Bills will now more than likely take on Newton when the Bills face the Patriots in week 8 and week 16. What does this mean for the AFC East now? It means that the road for the Bills, Dolphins and Jets just became tougher to win the division. Even though Newton is not the same player as Brady, he still has a talent that cannot be denied.
Although, even with the signing of Newton, it is still hard to put the Patriots as a favorite to win the division. The Bills are still a favorite to take the division from the Patriots.
Can He Stay Healthy?
Newton is 31 years old, which is considered prime years for a quarterback. Lately, Newton has shown to be injury prone more than ever. He sat out almost the entire 2019 season due to an injury in his foot that did not heal properly. Before that, he tore his rotator cuff which required surgery. The same shoulder was also injured in October of 2018 which affected his game for the season.
Bills Got Stronger, Patriots Got Weaker
The Bills were knocking on the door last year near the end of the season but the Patriots eventually ran away with the division due to a dominant defense and the Brady factor. The Pats finished two games ahead of the Bills but fell off their last two games against the Dolphins and then being eliminated by the Tennessee Titans.
I am one to never doubt Bill Belichick and how he goes about running the team, but the Patriots lost more than they gained in free agency. Even though losing Brady might have been the biggest factor, the Pats defense lost key factors on defense in Danny Shelton, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy. The secondary stayed intact, but this unit just became a whole lot younger that will need time to mesh together.
On the other hand, the Bills kept all starters on the offense and upgraded an already exceptional defense. They lost Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson, but where able to bring in notable veterans Mario Addision, Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson that are immediate replacements.
Let’s not forget that the Bills also added a deep threat playmaker on the outside in Stefon Diggs. Both sides of the ball in Buffalo upgraded from last season and it seems like the Patriots took a step backwards.
Division Comes Down Between These Two Teams
The New York Jets have a long road ahead of them before they become contenders in the division. The Miami Dolphins have a bright future ahead of them but are a super young team. The division will be a battle between the Bills and the Patriots in 2020.
The Patriots have Belichick. The man who is arguably the best coach of all time, but there is only so much he can do. They have arguably the best secondary in the league but they have questions everywhere else on the field.
The Bills have a great defense that returns major contributors as well as an offense that returns all starters and a big time playmaker outside. The signing of Newton takes out the talks of the Patriots tanking this year. They want to win. The Bills have a bigger challenge now than anticipated, but they look to be the better overall football team. If there is indeed a season, the AFC East will be watched at all times.