Even with the New England Patriots eliminated from playoff contention, quarterback Cam Newton will still get the start.
For the first time in 12 seasons, the New England Patriots will not be a part of the playoffs. That became a formality last week following their 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins. With the remaining two games on the schedule virtually meaningless, many fans expected head coach Bill Belichick to see what he has in quarterback Jarrett Stidham. That’s not the case.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Cam Newton is expected to start in New England’s game against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night.
#Patriots QB Cam Newton is expected to start against the #Bills on Monday Night Football, per source. Despite some questions about Jarrett Stidham this week, Newton is slated to start barring a late change.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 26, 2020
Belichick not giving up on Newton just yet
Considering the Patriots aren’t making the postseason, that means they’re in position to draft one of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class. With the organization gushing about Stidham’s potential this past offseason, you’d expect Belichick to throw him out on the field to see what he can do with starter’s reps. Even with the outside noise, that’s not happening in Week 16.
Last week, New England’s offense was rather stagnant against Miami’s stout defense. Even the dual-threat quarterback in Newton couldn’t get into the end zone. Newton completed 17-of-27 pass attempts for 207 yards, while rushing for 38 yards on nine carries
Newton’s passing statistics this season have been alarming, as he threw for 2,831 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions on a 65.9 completion percentage. But on the ground, Newton rushed for 489 yards and 11 touchdowns on 122 carries.
Belichick isn’t looking to evaluate his roster, he wants to go out and win games. Come on, you know Belichick would love to play spoiler against the Bills and cost them their opportunity of securing the second seed in the AFC. But if things go awry and Newton’s play puts the Patriots in a hole, you can’t be surprised if Belichick makes the switch to Stidham.