For the first time in two decades, Tom Brady is not a member of the New England Patriots organization. That has been the biggest story of the offseason: Who will replace Tom Brady in New England? While it looks like Cam Newton is the answer to that question, the Patriots might have bigger issues than quarterback play in 2020.
In addition to Hightower and Chung opting out of the season, the Patriots Defense will have to replace Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, and Danny Shelton. Michael David Smith pointed out in his article on Pro Football Talk, “the Football Outsiders Almanac calculated that the Patriots had lost more production on defense from 2019 to 2020 than any team since at least 2002-03 -- and that calculation was done before Hightower and Chung opted out.”
Is it finally time to bet against New England to win the AFC East? The Patriots have won the division 11 straight years and 16 out of the last 17 seasons.
Does it scare me to bet against the greatest NFL coach of all-time? Yes. But the amount of uncertainty in New England on defense and at quarterback leaves no option but to bet on the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are currently available at +125 to win the AFC East. I have already made this bet.
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Last season, Buffalo’s defense finished second in points allowed per game and third in yards allowed. The secondary is one of the best in the NFL with CB Tre’Davious White is coming off an All-Pro season and the safety duo of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. LB Tremaine Edmunds was a Pro Bowler and Buffalo added edge rusher A.J. Epenesa in the second round of the NFL Draft. Buffalo’s defensive line did take a hit with DT Star Lotulelei opting out of the season.
Offensively, the Bills will certainly hope QB Josh Allen can continue to make strides in the right direction. Allen threw 20 touchdown passes and rushed for nine last season but he had the worst completion in the NFL at 58.8%. GM Brandon Beane was aggressive in adding another weapon for Allen to throw to. The Bills sent a first-round pick to Minnesota in exchange for WR Stefon Diggs. Diggs joins a solid receiving core of John Brown and Cole Beasley.
It feels illegal to bet against the Patriots in the AFC East futures market but the Bills are just a better football team at this point.