Volin: Patriots Will Win AFC East; Bills Will Regress To 7-9


With New England signing Cam Newton to a one-year deal, the Patriots could once again be the class of the AFC East. The Patriots have won the division in 16 of the last 17 seasons, including 11 straight, and Ben Volin doesn’t see their reign of dominance ending any time soon.

Are the Pats the team to beat in the AFC East in 2020?

“Definitely,” the Boston Globe senior NFL writer said on The DA Show. “I think you could have maybe even made that case when Jarrett Stidham was going to be the starting quarterback. Not that we had any idea how he was going to play, but I just think the division, none of the teams are quite there. Everyone is hyping Buffalo, which is coming off a great season – or great by their standards. They have an excellent defense and a very solid coach in Sean McDermott, but I am not a Josh Allen fan. I think they went 10-6 in spite of him last year, and I’m expecting the Bills to regress this year. I think they’re more of a 7-9, 8-8 team. The schedule for everyone in the AFC East is going to be much more difficult.”

If not Buffalo, then who? The Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010.

“The Jets, they’re a dysfunctional mess always,” Volin said. “Who knows? I do think Sam Darnold is going to benefit from having Adam Gase be his coach over the offseason, having continuity there. But it’s hard to pinpoint the Jets because they’ve just been so dysfunctional.”

Miami, meanwhile, has missed the playoffs in 16 of the last 18 seasons, though Volin does think the Dolphins are headed in the right direction.

“I think they might surprise some people this year,” he said. “I love getting Tua. I love the moves they made in free agency [with] Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy. I really like what Brian Flores and Chris Grier are building in Miami. I just wonder if they’re maybe a year away.”

It all adds up to another division title for the Patriots, Volin says.

“They’re returning a very good defense,” he said. “Most of the players are coming back from last year’s No. 1 defense. They’ve got a very good offensive line getting David Andrews, Joe Thuney back, probably all five starters. Now you’ve got Cam Newton running the show. So I definitely think the Patriots are the favorite in the AFC East.”