The Bills gave the Patriots a legit run for the AFC East crown in 2019, and Tom Brady’s departure from New England this offseason seemed to position Buffalo to grab it in 2020.
But has that now changed?
The Patriots will go into this season with Cam Newton as their quarterback, provided he’s healthy, after reportedly agreeing to a one-year contract with the 2015 NFL MVP on Sunday. A healthy Newton probably will guide the Patriots to more success than second-year pro Jarrett Stidham would have, but there is understandable concern about how effective the 31-year-old will be.
ESPN asked (and answered) 10 questions about Newton’s impact on the Patriots and the NFL. When asked if Buffalo still is the division favorite even after the move, Bills reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques indicated he believes it is.
“Yes, but their margin for error certainly shrunk,” Louis-Jacques wrote. “Newton’s addition makes the Patriots more formidable than before on paper, but there are far fewer questions surrounding the Bills’ roster at this point. Both teams have difficult schedules in 2020, but Buffalo returns 10 starters from a top-three scoring defense and presumably improved its most notable weakness on offense by trading for Stefon Diggs. Barring disaster, the Bills should still win the AFC East, but the gap has narrowed.”
The Patriots certainly aren’t free of voids, especially with a number of key defensive departures this offseason. But the competitiveness in the AFC East likely will be higher in 2020 than it has been in recent years.