What to Expect from the Bills 2021 Opponents: AFC East

Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts (18) is tackled by Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) after making a catch in the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts (18) is tackled by Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) after making a catch in the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 10, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (50) participates in drills during OTAs at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (50) participates in drills during OTAs at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots

2020 Finish: 7-9 (3-3 in AFC East)

2020 Games vs. the Buffalo Bills: Week 8: 24-21, Week 16: 38-9 (lost both)

In 2020 the New England Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and had their first losing season since 2000.

New England was an underwhelming squad in 2020, particularly on offense, where they finished 30th in the NFL in passing yards and 27th in both total yardage and points. Their defense was better, but not the lockdown unit they were in 2019, falling from first to 15th in the league in yards allowed.

The Patriots used free agency to try and get their defensive unit back to the top of the NFL. They signed the likes of defensive lineman Henry Anderson, and completely revamped their linebacker core by signing Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, and Raekwon McMillan.

New England attempted to upgrade their offensive weapons by signing the top two tight ends on the market in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. The Patriots added Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, still leaving them without a true number one wide receiver.

While the Patriots are hoping that their big spending spree will help turn things around in 2021, the big story in New England in 2021 will be who starts at quarterback. The Patriots brought Cam Newton back after a rough 2021 and drafted Alabama quarterback Mac Jones 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Jones was widely regarded as the most lackluster of the potential first round quarterback prospects in 2021. According to WalterFootball.com, some teams in the league viewed Mac Jones as anywhere from a second round talent to a fourth round talent.

The Bills fared well against Cam Newton in 2020, holding him to just 208 yards through the air in their two encounters. They also play well against rookie quarterbacks; they are 4-1 against rookies under Sean McDermott, losing only to Sam Darnold in 2018.

With the improvements that New England made in the 2021 off-season, both games against the Patriots should be competitive. The Bills should win both, but don’t be surprised if the Patriots split with the Bills in 2021.