The Buffalo Bills Shouldn’t Fear Cam Newton

Cam Newton

The Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs two out of the last three years. Both times as a wild card. With a bolstered roster and Tom Brady now in the NFC, 2020 has been looking like the year for the Bills to win the AFC East. This time making the playoffs as a division winner and hosting a playoff game. Winning the division in 2020 was never going to be easy, but it seemed likely for the Bills to do so. That was until Cam Newton joined the AFC East. But just how much does Newton impact the Buffalo Bills AFC East title hopes this year? How much of a wrench does he throw into the Buffalo Bills plans for 2020?

Cam Newton Shouldn’t Scare the Buffalo Bills

Thanks to strategic and pinpoint roster construction, the Buffalo Bills are built to win right now and in the future. They have the best roster in the AFC East. Cam Newton signing with the New England Patriots doesn’t change that. And as good as Cam Newton is or might be, he’s not better than Tom Brady. And if the weapons the Pats have on offense weren’t good enough for Brady, how are they going to be good enough for Newton? Plus how late Newton is joining the team gives him little time to get acclimated. Add in the mileage on his tires and the questions about which Newton we’ll see in 2020, and it all adds up to a less than fearful picture.

The Buffalo Bills Roster

Part of the talk around Tom Brady leaving, was the lack of a supporting cast for him in New England. On offense the Patriots lack playmakers. They lack speed and burst and versatility. That same situation is going to be true for Newton as it was for Brady. As much as you may want to trust in the coaching staff to scheme up success, they struggled doing it last year with Brady. Granted, Newton offers a different dynamic but it’s still no easy task. Defensively, the Pats have lost several of their starters from last year. A year where they had unreal levels of production and efficiency that will be hard replicate in 2020. As a team they have several large question marks and it’s fair to say the 2020 Patriots look worse than the 2019 Patriots.

The Buffalo Bills on the other hand, got better this off-season. Their roster as a whole got better. Their top three wide receivers are now arguably one of the best trios in the NFL. They reinforced a defense that was second in points per game allowed and third in yards per game allowed. Once again they drafted very well. The only question on this Bills team is how Josh Allen will perform. And although that’s a fair question and legitimate concern, it shouldn’t overshadow how good this Buffalo Bills team is. And with the roster the Pats have, the addition of Cam Newton isn’t enough to vault them ahead of the Bills.

Questions Around Cam Newton

What Cam Newton are the Patriots getting? Is it going to be 2015 NFL MVP Newton? Or is it going to be the Newton that is winless in his last eight starts? Also of note, since Newton’s 2015 MVP season he’s 23-23 as a starter. He’s suffered two legitimate injuries in the last two seasons. He played only two games last year due to a foot injury and missed two games in 2018 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery and a new throwing motion to cope going into 2019.

Newton is a known dual-threat quarterback. He can hurt you with his feet or with him arm. But his feet and his arm are in question due to his recent injuries. We haven’t seen what he looks like coming off of foot surgery. We haven’t seen him play a full 16 games with his repaired shoulder. How will he perform and how will his body hold up after these injuries? Furthermore, because he’s a dual threat quarterback he’s been hit a lot over the years. He has wear and tear from his play style in addition to the significant injuries.

Newton is ways away from being 2015 MVP Newton. Not saying that he can’t be, but it’s a long shot to say he will be. But that’s not to say that he still can’t be effective in the NFL. The point is it’s all questionable. And because it’s so questionable, it’s not enough to derail the Buffalo Bills 2020 AFC East title hopes.

Shortened Off-Season

Due to COVID-19 this NFL off-season has been like no other. Teams have less face to face interactions and very little on-field activity. That’s tough on teams and the players. It’s hard to gel and build rapport and chemistry when you can’t be in the same room with another person or practice with them. That’s the situation Cam Newton is coming into and then some.

Newton has to get acclimated to a new system and team with limited opportunity to do so. He signed at the end of June. That means he has roughly two months before the regular season starts. And in those two months COVID-19 will be prevalent and complicate things. And that will be very challenging for him. It would be very challenging for anyone. But especially for a quarterback. Mastering the playbook, and the calls, and getting into a rhythm and understanding with your teammates takes repetition. That repetition is hard to find in only two months and even more so in two months during COVID-19.

The Buffalo Bills return 88% of their snaps from last year. They’re one of the league leaders in continuity on both sides of the ball going into 2020. The Patriots are near the bottom of the league with only 67.1% snaps returning. Of course this doesn’t mean that the Pats won’t be good in 2020. And it doesn’t mean the Bills will be. It only means the Patriots face certain challenges in this NFL COVID-19 climate that the Bills don’t.

Last Word

Cam Newton signing with the New England Patriots is an upgrade from their current quarterback situation. However, it’s not enough to derail the Buffalo Bills AFC East title hopes in 2020. The Bills have a better roster as a whole. They have more certainty and continuity across the team. Newton makes the Patriots better. But not better than the Bills. As of this moment there are so many variables in determining what Newton will be in 2020. And those variables are going to make things for hard for Newton and the Patriots. The Buffalo Bills shouldn’t take anything for granted. But they shouldn’t fear Newton.

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