The AFC East is going to look pretty different in 2020.
Tom Brady has left the New England Patriots, so there’s a good chance it’ll be Jarrett Stidham under center in Foxboro. The Miami Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa in the first round of this year’s draft, and it’s possible he beats out Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job. Meanwhile, the New York Jets have loaded up their offensive line, while the Buffalo Bills, thanks in part to a stout defense, have cemented themselves as a playoff contender.
But despite the new look out East, Bills head coach Sean McDermott still is treating the Patriots like the top dog.
He explained in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
“Anytime you bring up some of those words — expectations, pressure —–number one, I think it shows you that people respect the way we’re doing things overall, which is nice,” McDermott said. “But number two, and just as important, the Patriots, look, they’ve won the division for X amount of years. … Until someone is able to win the division, to us, the Patriots remain the favorite. Why shouldn’t they? You tell me one reason why they shouldn’t. We’ve got a lot of work to do, we really do. And our players work hard, there’s no doubt about that. I think that’s the one thing that I can say: We embrace that we’ve got to earn things.”
There’s no question the Patriots carry quite a bit of cachet in the division — and league for that matter. Still, this is about as wide open as the division has been in about two decades.