The New England Patriots may have dominated the AFC East in never-before-seen fashion over the past two decades, but they are among the league’s hardest teams to project entering the 2020 NFL season: with quarterback Tom Brady having left the team in free agency, the Patriots appear to be more vulnerable than at any previous point since the future Hall of Famer’s year-long stint on injured reserve back in 2008.
Accordingly, the door seems open for another club to snatch the division crown for the first time in 12 years. The favorites to do that if analysts and bookmakers are to be believed are the Buffalo Bills, who finished second in the AFC East behind the Patriots in two out of the last three seasons and had a 10-6 record in 2019. Considering that they kept most of their roster intact during the offseason and also added ultra-talented wide receiver Stefon Diggs via trade, Buffalo seems to be ready to step up if New England slips.
However, not everybody is of the opinion that this automatically makes the Bills the favorites to win the AFC East in 2020. Among this group is Buffalo’s own starting quarterback, Josh Allen, who recently appeared on SiriusXM NFL radio to talk about his team’s outlook heading into the upcoming season — and its place in the divisional race.
“With Tom being gone everybody sees there’s an opportunity, but I still see the Patriots being the best team in the division right now,” said the former first-round draft pick who is entering his third season in the league. “They’ve been to the playoffs the last 20 years, basically. Just because they lose one guy I don’t think it’s going to be that much of a difference. I know Tom is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time but they also have one of the greatest coaches of all time.”
So far in his career, Allen has appeared in three games against the Patriots — all with Brady on the other sideline. But while he did show some flashes along the way, he also had his fair share of struggles as illustrated by the fact that Buffalo lost all three of the contests and he posted some inconsistent numbers: the 24-year-old completed just 48.4 percent of his passes for a combined 578 yards as well as three touchdowns touchdowns and five interceptions.
Still, Allen and his team are entering 2020 with plenty of optimism and excitement. As he pointed out, however, the Bills are trying to follow one of the Patriots’ traditional mottos: don’t believe the hype.
“We’re not taking that any differently. It’s going to be one game at a time,” Allen said about Buffalo’s approach to the new season. “I definitely think our team has the right mindset going into it. I don’t think we’re expecting to be the favorites, expecting to go out there and win every single game. It’s going to be a dog fight each and every game and we’re working hard right now.”