New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 21: Isaiah McKenzie #19 of the Buffalo Bills warms up before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie may be getting a little ahead of himself.

This was bound to happen, but McKenzie has already questioned the Patriots’ ability to continue beating the Bills for the AFC East crown. The Pats won both contests in 2019, but by less than a touchdown each. McKenzie believes, like many others probably do, that Tom Brady’s departure means that Buffalo has a great chance to pass New England in 2020.

“The Brady situation, you know, I cheered because – he’s a great player, can’t take away from him,” McKenzie said in an interview with WROC-TV in Rochester. “Our team is stacked and the last two years we’ve been giving them a run for their money, but now that he’s gone it’s going to be kind of the Bills’ time to take over.”

There’s no question that Brady’s departure means the whole Bulletin Board Materialâ„¢ thing doesn’t feel like quite the same fun motivator it was for so many years. Doubtful that there are as many Patriots fans as you used to see who are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of McKenzie getting thrown into the fire that is the Patriots’ secondary.

But the reality is, the Patriots’ quarterback situation will enter the 2020 season as uncertain as any team in the league. They like leader-in-the-clubhouse Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer knows the system as well as anyone, but it’s far from an ideal situation at the most important position on the field. So there’s going to be more doubt for Belichick’s next era than we’ve seen in any season since 2001.

As for McKenzie himself, he caught exactly two passes for 11 yards against the Patriots last season. He will almost certainly be wiped off the planet when he plays the Pats next year. But, as reflected in ESPN’s latest NFL power rankings, the Bills are generally considered the early frontrunners to overtake the Pats in the AFC East now that Brady (32-3 career record against Buffalo) is gone.

That didn’t stop Bills GM Brandon Beane from declaring that the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East as long as Belichick is around. He may want to relay that message to his No. 4 wide receiver.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at