Week 9- New England Patriots at New York Jets- Monday,11/9/20 @ 8:15 PM (ESPN)
Week 17- New York Jets at New England Patriots- Sunday,1/3/21 @1:00 PM (CBS)
Can it be? Will it be? Is the dominance of the New England Patriots in the AFC East, finally over? It’s one thing when some big names come and go from New England, we’ve seen it. Coveting and then losing players like Richard Seymour, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker, to name a few. But losing Tom Brady and having Rob Gronkowski follow him along to Tampa Bay is a different feeling. The one constant that remains is Bill Belichick.
The Patriots were winners of the AFC East yet again, finishing the 2019 season at 12-4. What was different about last season was the Patriots were forced to play on Wildcard weekend, the first time since 2009. On Wildcard weekend, the former champs were upset at home to a red-hot Tennessee Titans team.
Outside of Brady, the Patriots lost many key players from last year’s team. Some notable, Kyle Van Noy, Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins, and Phillip Dorsett. The Patriots do bring back the McCourty twins as well as quarterback Brian Hoyer. As of now, Hoyer and second-year quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, will battle it out as the starter for week one.
By no means should the New York Jets feel comfortable about the fact that Tom Brady is gone. New England is still Bill Belichick’s team, and in his one year without Brady, they did just fine with Matt Cassel running the show. The Jets should feel like an opportunity has arisen, but they are going to need to be on their best offensively. Stephon Gilmore, Dont’a Hightower, and the McCourty twins are still anchoring a top of the line defense.