The time has come to compare the Bills to the team that ruled the AFC East for the past two decades, the New England Patriots. The Patriots move on to a new era, an era that no longer includes Tom Brady. How does their offense stack up against the Bills, who made a few big additions to their offense this offseason? This week’s Thursday Thought: Team Battle Edition: The Bills Offense versus the Patriots Offense.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Patriots no longer have the G.O.A.T. in Tom Brady. The two left to run the offense are journeymen Quarterback Brian Hoyer and 2019 fourth-round draft pick, Jarrett Stidham. Hoyer is what he is, a longtime backup quarterback who is not someone you want starting all 16 games for you. However, all the attention is on Stidham. Bill Belichick believes in Stidham, as New England didn’t draft a quarterback in the draft nor sign any established players like Cam Newton or Andy Dalton. It’s hard to judge what the Patriots have at quarterback. One player has a record of 16-22 as a starter and the other has thrown just four passes in the NFL, it’s understandable why many analysts believe the Patriots have the worst quarterback room in the division.
The Patriots are tremendously deep at running back, which has been a staple of Josh McDaniels offense. Similar to what Sean McDermott does with his defensive line, McDaniels likes to use a plethora of running backs. Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris are all viable and solid options. They can all catch the ball out of the backfield and provide a lot of versatility. While both the Bills and Patriots don’t have any true game changers at running back, the depth the Patriots have at running back is very impressive and gives them a slight edge.
This is one of the weaker areas of the roster for the New England Patriots. Outside of Julian Edelman, who remains as one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, there is nothing else at wide receiver. that should scare defenses. N’Keal Harry, New England’s first-round pick from 2019, could change this but for now, he’s nothing more than a non-factor in the offense. Mohamed Sanu is a solid veteran but has not been healthy for the past two seasons and is 30 years old. Marqise Lee could be a nice player for the Patriots, but like Sanu, he has not been healthy for the past two seasons. The Bills have one of the best receiving cores in the AFC making this decision a no-brainer.
Since Rob Gronkowski retired (and eventually traded to Tampa Bay) the Patriots have had little contributions from their tight ends. Last season, it was a mix of Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. They combined for 19 receptions for 245 yards and two touchdowns. In clear need of a difference-maker at tight end, the Patriots took a swing on two in this year’s draft with Devin Asiasi from UCLA and Dalton Keene from Virginia Tech. Both players are interesting prospects, but no one knows how good they’ll be. Meanwhile, Buffalo has a bunch of tight ends who can all contribute including Dawson Knox who should take a major leap in year two.
New England still has a very good offensive line. David Andrews is back and is one of the best centers in football. Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, and Marcus Cannon are all good starters in the NFL who are reliable as could be. The biggest question marks for this group will be if Isaiah Wynn can stay healthy and how the loss of longtime Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia will affect this group. The offensive line is not as spectacular but has fewer concerns than New England’s. Either way, both teams have quality offensive lines that allow their offense to compete at a high level.
Advantage: No one, push.
Both teams have their strengths and their weakness on the offensive side of the ball. However, the biggest question in not only the AFC East but perhaps the entire NFL will be Jarrett Stidham and how good he is. No one knows at this point. However, it’s safe to assume that he is not the second coming of Tom Brady. Although the Patriots will be able to run the ball well with all of their running backs, the passing attack could be potentially awful. If Stidham is not good and receivers like N’Keal Harry or even Jakobi Meyers don’t improve. That alone makes it hard to put the Patriots offense over the Bills offense.
What do you think? Who has the better offense on paper for the 2020 season? Let me know in the comment section below or on Twitter.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder