The AFC East is wide open this upcoming season with the departure of Tom Brady and the team that wins could be decided by the quarterback that plays the best in 2020.
For the first time in over two decades, there is not a clear favorite in the race for the AFC East title entering the season. The four teams in the division have built very similar rosters and the deciding factor for all teams, including the Buffalo Bills, will likely come down to which quarterback plays the best.
Every team has reason for optimism for their quarterbacks, especially now that Cam Newton has joined the New England Patriots, but they all have question marks. Can Josh Allen and Sam Darnold take that next step as they enter their third year in the league? Will Ryan Fitzpatrick hold off rookie star Tua Tagovailoa? How does Newton do in the Patriots offensive system and can he stay healthy?
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The margin for error is very small in a division that could potentially have all four teams in the Top 10 in defense this coming season. It is not that hard to fathom considering last year, the AFC East had three teams with the Patriots (1st), Bills (3rd) and Jets (7th) finishing in the Top 10 in total yards allowed.
The Dolphins would certainly have to make the biggest jump, as they finished 30th, but they also invested heavily this offseason on that side of the ball. The additions of Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy and first round pick Noah Igbinoghene join the likes of Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe and Raekwon McMillian to form what on paper looks like a solid defense.
This brings us back to the quarterbacks and who can take that next step, or return to a previous level of play in Newton’s case, that will likely determine the outcome of this division race. The Buffalo Bills have probably given Josh Allen the best chance to succeed with the supporting cast he now has in place.
The Buffalo Bills were able to bring back their entire starting offensive line from last year, which is one of the best in blocking on longer-developing pass plays, added a top wide receiver in Stefon Diggs to join John Brown and Cole Beasley, and brought in another young back in Zack Moss to pair with Devin Singletary.
The race for the AFC East is going to be hotly contested and probably won’t be decided until the last week or two of the 2020 season. When it is all said and done, fans will likely be able to look back and say it was the quarterback play that decided the division.