With Bill Belichick keeping his Week 16 quarterback plans close to the vest, the Buffalo Bills are preparing for both possibilities.
Either Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham will start behind center for the New England Patriots’ Monday night matchup with the Bills at Gillette Stadium. Belichick has yet to reveal which one will do so.
?We do our due diligence. That’s what I can say,? Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday in a video conference. “Whoever they play, they are both good quarterbacks, both play at a high level. So we have to prepare ourselves to play our best football is how we look at it.?
Newton has started 13 of the Patriots’ 14 games this season, missing one in Week 4 after testing positive for COVID-19. He’s rushed for 11 touchdowns but has struggled as a passer while throwing to one of the NFL’s weakest groups of receivers and tight ends, ranking near the bottom of the league in most passing categories.
Newton, whom McDermott knows well from their years together in Carolina, was efficient against the Bills in Week 8 (15-for-25, 174 yards; nine carries, 54 yards) but lost a fumble deep in Buffalo territory in the final minute, sealing a 24-21 Patriots loss.
Stidham, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick, has yet to start a game at the NFL level. The 24-year-old has made four relief appearances this season, completing 18 of 33 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions, one of which came on a dropped pass.
“He looks like a good young player,? McDermott said of Stidham, the only Patriots QB currently under contract for 2021. ?I know he?s only had certain snaps in the regular season, but he looks like a good young player and certainly has the athleticism to go with the position. So we?ve got nothing but a high amount of respect for Jarrett and Cam and their entire program.”
The Patriots are out of playoff contention at 6-8. The 11-3 Bills secured their first AFC East title in 25 years last week and currently hold the No. 2 seed in the AFC.