Could the Buffalo Bills provide legitimate competition to the New England Patriots in the AFC East this year? (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)
Even though the Buffalo Bills have finished dead last in the AFC East for five straight seasons, Bills fans are going into the 2013 season with high confidence in their favorite team. Recently, some Bills fans have gone as far to predict that their team will go from worst to first in the division.
The Bills are ready to begin a new era, headlined by a new coaching staff under head coach Doug Marrone and new quarterbacks in first-round pick rookie EJ Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb. After years of being one of the NFL’s bottom-feeding teams, the Bills are expected to be a team on the rise.
The New England Patriots have been very far on the other end of the spectrum since the turn of the century. The Patriots have won the division in 10 of the last 12 NFL seasons, and have won three Super Bowl championships in five Super Bowl appearances during that span.
Some cracks in the Patriots have started to show this offseason, however, which has many wondering whether their reign of dominance could come to an end in 2013. Most significantly, there are some serious concerns about the passing offense that has been the Patriots’ backbone throughout their championship era.
While Tom Brady continues to be one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, the team has a serious lack of proven receivers. The Patriots have one of the NFL’s best tight ends in Rob Gronkowski, but his status for the start of the 2013 season is in jeopardy after offseason back surgery. Their other star tight end, Aaron Hernandez, was released by the team last week and is in jail after being charged with murder.
All of this has many Bills fans wondering if the Bills could truly turn the tables on the division and win the AFC East this season. We want you to join the debate and comment below, but first, three members of BBD’s staff have taken different sides of the debate.
Is the door truly open for the Bills to win? Glenn Gifford discusses that possibility. On Page 2, Dan Hope explains why the Patriots are still the AFC East’s team to beat, while Eric Samulski explains why the Bills’ success this season may not be defined by the Patriots at all.