The numbers are staggering. Over the course of the past 14 NFL seasons, the New England Patriots have won the AFC East Division title 12 times. Head coach Bill Belichick has led his club to six AFC championships in that span and, including last season’s victory, the Patriots have won four Super Bowl titles. Since 2010, New England has won 63 games, averaging over 12 wins per season. The 2015-16 season will probably be much of the same for the fans in Foxborough with 2016 Super Bowl odds at sportsbooks favoring the New England Patriots at +1000 to hoist the Lombardi trophy once again. The Patriots are also the second wagering choice in predictions to win the AFC Conference at +475 and -150 to win the AFC East. Quarterback Tom Brady, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, returns for his 16th season. The veteran will turn 38 just prior to its start.
There is the distinct possibility that he will miss the season’s first four game as the result of the “Deflate-gate” scandal last year. Still, New England returns much of their offense intact. Tight end Rob Gronkowski (82 rec., 1,124 yds. 12 TDs) is still one of the league’s best and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell are anything if not reliable with 166 catches between the two last season. The running back position however will be whoever is hot between LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, James White, or even Brandon Bolden. While Belichick is considered a defensive genius around the league, he will have to work his magic once again with a unit that loses three key starters from last year’s Super Bowl champions. Corners Brandon Browner (New Orleans) and Darrelle Revis (New York Jets) are gone along with giant nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Part of Belichick’s proclivity for greatness is in finding gems in the draft and free agency.
The Patriots will have arguably the best trio of linebackers in the 2015 AFC East division with Jerrod Mayo, who reworked his contract to sign with the Pats, Jamie Collins, and Dont’a Hightower. New England still has Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler, one of the heroes of the Super Bowl win, at corner and veteran safety Devin McCourty. While not a dominating unit last year, the Patriots were good enough – eighth in scoring defense and 13th in total defense – to defy the Super Bowl odds and win another championship. Early predictions for the upcoming season prove that gamblers can expect more of the same from this dynasty that shows no signs of slowing down. The New England Patriots kick off the NFL season on Sept. 10th when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won the AFC North last year with an 11-5 record.
Patriots Update (9/9/15): New England are now +900 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +375 to win the AFC Conference and -190 to win the AFC East.