There’s no other way to put it, in the AFC east there are the Patriots, and everybody else. Their dominance in the division is just ridiculous, winning eight division titles in a row, and 13 of the last 14. The only time the Patriots did not take the title during that span is in 2008 when Tom Brady suffered a torn ACL in the season opener. But New England looks out of sorts early on in 2017, and the Bills sit atop the AFC east with a 3-1 record after beating the defending NFC champions in Atlanta. Are the Bills a real threat to the Patriots?
Why they can compete
The Bills have looked good in their last two wins, beating quality opponents in Denver and Atlanta. Their one loss came at the hands of Carolina, who has beaten New England as well, and Buffalo did a much better job of containing Cam Newton and his offense.
Buffalo’s turnover margin has been a key to their success this year. The Bills have forced seven takeaways on defense already this year, putting them on pace for 28. Last year the Bills finished with only 18 which ranked 23rd in the league, where as 28 would’ve put them at fourth. The Bills defense will not surrender points this year, giving up only 13.5 points per game, best in the NFL.
The Bills compliment their takeaways on defense by doing a good job of taking care of the ball on offense. The Buffalo offense has just one turnover in 2017, behind only New Orleans with zero, and tying them with the Patriots.
Why they can’t compete
Tom Brady. The Patriot’s quarterback may be 40 years old now, but Tommy Terrific is playing at an MVP level. New England may be 2-2, but the Patriots’ offense is still ranked second in the league, averaging 32.3 points per game. Buffalo, on the other hand, hasn’t scored 30 points in a game this season. The Bills’ defense is taking the ball away at a much better rate, but Tom Brady’s offense also only has one turnover this year, and you can bet in a battle of good offense vs good defense, the side with Tom Brady is going to win.
The Bills need to pick it up on the offensive side of the ball if they want to compete with New England. The Buffalo defense has been great, but there are very few defenses who are able to consistently hold down Brady, and so the Buffalo offense needs to start putting more points on the board.
The Patriots have had their struggles early, mainly on defense, but we’ve tried many times to predict the end of the New England era, and we keep getting it wrong. This is the Patriots’ division, and quite frankly the Patriots’ league, until solid evidence shows otherwise.
Do you think the Bills can dislodge the Patriots from the top of the AFC East? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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