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Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; The Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at the line of scrimmage for the snap during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

As tempting as it might be given the state of affairs at Patriot Place, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane wouldn’t take the cheese about a potential changing of the guard in the AFC East on Thursday.

“The team to beat in the East is the Patriots,” Beane offered during a video chat with the Buffalo media. “And until somebody beats them, they are the team to beat. And as long as Bill Belichick’s there, you’re talking about probably the greatest head coach of all time that was paired with the greatest quarterback of all time.

“So until we beat them, we’ve done nothing, and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

This may just be some cliche GM speak here (and why give Belichick and Co. any bulletin board material this early in the year?), but you also couldn’t blame Beane’s approach here.

Let’s not dance around it: the Patriots have straight-up owned the Bills over the last 20 years, with wins in all but five of their 40 head-to-head meetings since the start of the 2000 NFL season, including a 2019 sweep that saw New England clinch their 11th straight AFC East title with a late-season victory over the Bills.

Even when the Bills are viewed as a viable threat (like they were last year), the Pats have been there to smack ’em out of position for the AFC East’s crown.

But if this quote is going to be met with eyerolls from Buffalo, it’s because Beane is playing humble after an offseason that’s seen the Bills add Stefon Diggs from Minnesota and A.J. Klein from the Saints while notorious Buffalo Killer Tom Brady departed New England for Tampa Bay and after a couple of ‘Boogeyman’ cashed in elsewhere.

Nevertheless, Beane knows winning the offseason means nothing.

Especially when going against a Patriot franchise that’s had a Vader-like grip on its division for two decades straight.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.