The AFC East has been virtually the exclusive territory of the New England Patriots since the turn of the calendar into the 2000s and the subsequent NFL realignment of 2002 that moved the Indianapolis Colts out of this division and into the newly created AFC South. The Patriots have won the AFC East every year, save for ’02 when the Jets snuck in, and in ’08 when the Dolphins won. Even here, in both cases, New England lost first place only on a tiebreaker.
Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriot Machine come into the 2013 NFL season as a heavy favorite to secure yet another AFC East crown. The oddsmakers in Las Vegas have posted them as a 5-13 favorite. The math is such that you if you want to bet against the Patriots in this division, you need not pick a challenger. You could bet the three rivals at equal levels and turn a profit so long as one of them came through.
Only the Jets have any kind of recent track record that inspires confidence, with their AFC Championship Game appearances in 2009-10, including a big playoff upset of the Pats in 2010. But the last two years have seen the Jets become a parody of themselves and that they’re considered 12-1 just to win a division title tells you how much respect Rex Ryan has lost.
TheSportsNotebook’s NFL analysis has previewed each of the four AFC East teams, and you can read more at the links below. Included in each preview is a prediction on how each team will fare against their Over/Under win total posted in Las Vegas.
I’ll make final NFL predictions here at the end of the preseason. For now though, there’s no doubt about what direction to go in the AFC East—in spite of the unfavorable odds, just play the favorite.