Cam Newton’s splits in opposition to the AFC East characterize a comparatively small pattern measurement — eight regular-season video games for the 31-year-old — however the one factor that jumps off the web page is the truth that the Bills, Dolphins and Jets should alter their defensive method in 2020 in hopes of slowing the Patriots’ new quarterback.
For virtually 20 years, the problem was determining a option to disrupt Tom Brady whereas he was within the pocket. Now? It’ll be accounting for Newton’s mobility.
While Newton’s accuracy may be known as into query — his 59 % completion charge in eight video games in opposition to AFC East groups is a tick beneath his profession 60 % common — his largest weapon in opposition to the remainder of his new divisional rivals will come on the bottom.
Newton, who’s 7-1 in his profession in opposition to the AFC East, has 52 carries for 334 dashing yards and three touchdowns in eight profession video games in opposition to the Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, and Jets. For Newton, that 6.42 yards per carry common is one of the best in opposition to any division within the league.
Newton has confronted the Patriots twice in his profession, with the Panthers successful each.
Newton’s finest dashing efforts in opposition to the AFC East got here in a 2017 recreation in opposition to the Dolphins the place he had 5 carries for 95 yards in a 45-21 victory, and a 2013 contest in opposition to Miami the place he had 51 yards on seven carries in a 20-16 win. (In all, Newton’s 12.17 yards per carry common in opposition to Miami is one of the best of any opponent he’s confronted since he entered the league.)
When it involves the Jets and Bills, he’s struggled statistically at occasions, however he’s nonetheless 3-1 mixed in opposition to these two opponents. Historically, New York has appeared to do a great job holding him off steadiness as a passer. His 51.9 mixed completion proportion in two video games in opposition to the Jets is the third-worst in opposition to any opponent he’s confronted in his profession. (He’s at 48.Three % in opposition to the Chargers and 51.7 in opposition to the Texans, each of who he’s confronted twice in his profession.)
In two profession video games in opposition to the Bills, Newton is 1-1, with a 59 completion charge, two touchdowns, one interception, and 457 passing yards. In addition, he was sacked a complete of 12 occasions in these two video games, most of any opponent within the AFC, and his dashing totals – 9 mixed carries for 42 complete yards – are pretty pedestrian when you think about the remainder of his yardage totals.
Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott is aware of Newton higher than most, as he spent six seasons because the Carolina defensive coordinator – the primary six years of Newton’s NFL profession. After a 2017 recreation between the Panthers and Bills, one which Newton and Carolina gained, 9-3, the quarterback acknowledged McDermott may know him higher than some opposing coaches.
“Sean McDermott has an unbelievable defense,” Newton advised reporters after the sport. “Very stout up front. Guys in the secondary that can make plays and will make plays. Hell, you’ve got guys in the secondary that were with [Carolina in 2016]. Anytime you’re with a person multiple years, six years to be exact, he knows things that can ruffle the feathers.”
While it may be dicey to attempt to challenge 2020 totals based mostly on 2019 stats, it’s value noting the Dolphins and the Bills had been superb at containing quarterbacks on the bottom final 12 months. Miami was second within the league by way of dashing yards allowed vs. quarterbacks, yielding 128 yards on 41 complete carries. Meanwhile, Buffalo was fourth-best within the league, ending with 155 yards allowed on 56 carries. (For some context, the Vikings had been finest with 92 yards allowed on 26 carries.)
Ultimately, a wholesome Newton will carry a wide selection of expertise to the AFC East, and he’ll have a brand new set of offensive choices round him, together with the deepest backfield of his profession and veteran go catcher Julian Edelman. Defensive coordinators from Orchard Park to South Florida will probably be tasked with the prospect of slowing the speedy quarterback. Whether or not they’ll determine a option to comprise him will go a good distance towards figuring out how the AFC East will shake out in 2020.