The New England Patriots’ Week 16 game against the Buffalo Bills has just been kicked off, and we now know who will lead the team’s offense as the starting quarterback: as has been the expectation all week long, Cam Newton is the Patriots’ QB1 against Buffalo.
Newton has served in that role since early on during New England’s training camp, when he established himself as the top option at the position over second-year man Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer. The first-year Patriot held onto the job throughout the year, despite his Covid-19 diagnosis in early October and some inconsistent play following his return from the NFL’s Coronavirus reserve list.
New England’s recent offensive struggles — the team has failed to score a touchdown in each of its last two games — in combination with the postseason elimination in Week 15, however, have led to questions about Newton’s job security. Would he remain the starter, or would the Patriots be willing to give Jarrett Stidham an extended look?
We now know the answer, at least for this week.
It should not come as too big a surprise considering that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has repeatedly reaffirmed Newton’s status as the Patriots’ starting quarterback over the last few weeks, even though his passing numbers leave a lot to be desired: the former league MVP did rush for 11 touchdowns and 489 yards this season, but also threw for just 2,381 yards as well as 5 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Despite that, the Patriots have decided not to make a change even with the 6-8 team having no postseason spot left to compete for.