Patriots: One of the Teams to Beat in the AFC

The NFL season is only three and a half weeks away. Teams have had their first preseason games and are quickly preparing for 17 weeks of the regular season that start on September 4.

One team expected to be at or near the top at season end is the New England Patriots.

According to Bovada and sportsbook.com, the Patriots at this time are 10 to 1 to win the Super Bowl.

Last season the Patriots were 12-4 SU and 8-8 ATS. At home, New England was 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS, while on the road the Patriots were 4-4 SU and 2-6 ATS, according to data from betonline and topbet.

New England reached the AFC Championship last season but the Denver Broncos won that game and represented the AFC in the Super Bowl.

One big reason the Patriots returned to the AFC Title game was due to Rob Gronkowski the talented tight end returning to play after being out injured. When Gronkowski was hurt however, Tom Brady the Patriots quarterback was not anywhere near as effective.

Gronkowski played just seven games but had 39 receptions for 592 yards with 4 touchdowns.

He will be an important part of the team his season again and thus far remains healthy.

Even thought the tight end played just seven games, the receivers for the Patriots were No. 7 in yards per game and No. 3 in points scored.

New England wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are not the best in the league, but are talented and do the job in the complex offense for Bill Belichick.

Giving Brady more time in the pocket this season is a priority for New England as he suffered 40 sacks last season.

Three of the five interior linemen for New England are set, but a center and right guard still need to be decided upon.

The running attack for New England is usually by committee and Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley will be the two main runners but Wisconsin’s James White could a pleasant surprise for New England fans.

Last season the Patriots defense suffered two huge losses with Jerod Mayo a linebacker and Vince Wilfork a defensive tackle both suffering season ending injuries in the 5th and 6th weeks.

However, with both returning and with Donta’ Hightower, Rob Ninkovich and Jamie Collins, the front seven of the Patriots defense could be very strong.

The Patriots also signed Darrelle Revis at cornerback to help their secondary, which now is much stronger.
New England has reached the AFC title game in the past three seasons and has 10 regular season wins or more in each season since 2002.

The AFC East is weak again and New England should easily win the division. The Patriots are 34-9 over their past 43 AFC East games.

New England likely will be favored in 13 of their 16 regular season games.

Denver will be their biggest rival, but the Broncos must face the NFC West this season, which will wear them down.

New England will finish 13-3 SU and represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

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