The path toward a fourth Coach of the Year award for Bill Belichick is simple and plain according to one NFL odds expert.
The 2020 NFL season is going to be a strange one for the New England Patriots. There is the obvious uncertainty brought on by the indeterminate impact of COVID-19.
There’s also the not-so-minor absence of the greatest QB in NFL history, not to mention the departures of several other familiar faces like Stephen Gostowski, James Develin, Ben Watson, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Ted Karras, and others.
To call this upcoming season a transitional year is one of the biggest understatements possible. Because of the question marks and the seemingly unshaken belief in Belichick’s ability to make the most of every roster, Caesars Sportsbooks still have the legend as the 7-1 favorite to win COTY.
What Caesars Expert Says About Belichick’s Chances to Win COTY in 2020
“If [Belichick] takes that roster and wins that division, and no other team goes 16-0, how do you give it to somebody else,” Caesars Sportsbook director Jeff Davis rhetorically asked ESPN. “The only way he doesn’t get it is if one of the teams that was terrible last year makes the playoffs.”
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That’s an interesting quote and it prompts us to take a serious look at the AFC East to inspect the possibilities of the other three teams pushing past the Patriots and ending the team’s stranglehold on the division.
The Patriots’ Biggest Threats in the AFC East
With all due respect to the New York Jets, their draft selections of massively strong offensive tackle Mekhi Becton and intriguingly talented wide receiver Denzel Mims, along with the signing of wideout Breshad Perriman and the development of Sam Darnold at QB, doesn’t move the needle enough.
The Jets still seems like the fourth-best squad in a division with improved parity.
A more significant threat will come from the Miami Dolphins, led by former Patriots assistant coach Brian Flores, and the Buffalo Bills.
Flores and the Dolphins have successfully poached Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, and Karras from the Patriots, and the team drafted the promising QB Tua Tagovailoa. Suddenly, it appears a shift in culture is underway, and the Dolphins look like a team that could generate eight or nine wins in 2020.
The biggest threat will come from the Buffalo Bills. The defense is already nasty, and their young QB has the mental and physical makeup to present a major obstacle. I like the Bills as the favorites to win the division.
Davis is right.
If Belichick can guide this bunch led by the unproven second-year QB Jarrett Stidham to a playoff berth–let alone a 12th consecutive division title–he probably will be deserving of more individual hardware at season’s end.
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