Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are still with the Patriots. New England will win the division without any serious challenge from divisional opponents.
Adding Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner are upgrades to their secondary but the question is which Revis will show up. The one who established Revis Island when he was with the Jets or the one who was playing for a paycheck during his brief time in Tampa.
The Patriots first two games are on the road at Miami and at Minnesota. Their home opener is against Oakland followed by Monday Night in Kansas City and Sunday Night at home against the Bengals.
Week 9 is a late afternoon matchup against the Broncos and Peyton Manning in another installment of the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Matchup.
After the bye week in Week 11, the Patriots travel to Indianapolis to play a Colts team that is on the rise followed by a home game against the Lions, the first meeting between Brady and Rodgers in Green Bay, and at San Diego for the Week 14 Sunday Night Game.
New England closes out the season going through the AFC East hosting the Dolphins, at the Jets, and close out the regular season at home against the Bills.
The question about this team is how deep in the playoffs will they go. Since their last Super Bowl win 10 years ago, New England has made the playoffs every season except for 2008 when they won 11 games but missed the playoffs due to tiebreakers. In this time period, the Patriots have had their seasons end at the hands of Peyton Manning twice (AFC Title Games 2006, 2013), Eli Manning twice (Super Bowl XLII, Super Bowl XLVI), the Broncos in the year Jake Plummer led Denver to the AFC Title Game, the Ravens twice (2009, 2012), and the Jets.
Some have attributed that the reason why the Patriots aren't as successful when they won three Super Bowls in four seasons is because they lost their competitive advantage. I'm talking about SpyGate.
Recently FiveThirtyEight published this article stating that the Patriots actually had a better record from 2007 onward compared to when the videotaping supposedly took place and that their point differential between predicted points and actual points was the same before and after SpyGate.
I think it has to do more with that the AFC is deeper and as shown in the two Super Bowls the Patriots lost, they ran into a team (the Giants) that was the better team in that game. As FiveThirtyEight pointed out in that same article, the best team wins the Super Bowl 24% of the time.
If the Dolphins were not in the AFC East, I would consider them a possible division champion. Unfortunately that is not the case. Miami finished 2013 with an 8-8 record, their best record since finishing 11-5 in 2008 as AFC East champions. The longest Miami went between playoff appearances was from 2001 until the 2008 season. If Miami fails to make the playoffs this year, it will equal that playoff drought.
The last time Miami won a playoff game, this guy was in the White House.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked a league high 58 times. I don't see it getting any better given that the offensive line is beat up. Center Mike Pouncey underwent hip surgery in June and is not expected to return until mid October.
In Week 4 Miami heads east to London to play the Raiders. After their bye week, the Dolphins face the Packers, at the Bears, host the Chargers in Week 9, at Detroit in Week 10, and at Denver in Week 12. The Dolphins final five games are at the Jets, Ravens, at New England, and close out the season at home against the Vikings and Jets.
The Bills and Jets are both franchises that are in disarray. At the end of the season the Jets will be looking for a new head coach. The Bills would be looking at a possible replacement for quarterback E.J. Manuel. Buffalo has many talented position players but will be hindered by quarterback play.
Until we hear the retirements of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots reign over the AFC East will continue for another season.