Despite falling short of a Super Bowl title for an eighth straight postseason and watching Tom Brady wither in the AFC championship, the New England Patriots once again float in the rarefied air of overwhelming AFC East favorite and top-two conference favorite heading towards the 2013 NFL season. (There probably isn’t anything I can write not involving “Arrested Development” that will get read by the Internet today, but here’s hoping a couple Pats fans catch this on Monday!)
According to a couple prominent odds listings, the Patriots join the Denver Broncos as the only teams with higher than -250 division title odds (held by the Houston Texans) as Peyton Manning and Brady’s teams boast -500 odds in the AFC West and AFC East, respectively. Some things never change.
The Miami Dolphins made plenty of splashes this offseason including their linebacker overhaul and Mike Wallace signing, and come in at second in AFC East title odds at +500. Despite 5-to-1 returning a vastly greater output than 20 cents for every dollar of stake, Miami — and the rest of the division for that matter — just feels untouchable due to the dominant recent history under Coach Bill Belichick. Excluding the year Brady got knocked out Week 1, the Pats have at least won the division title in every year during their Super Bowl drought.
It’s even more of a marvel of consistency when considering this stretch has included no dominant defensive units whatsoever, and making rag-tag groups that barely held it together on that side of the ball. The maturing of second-year players Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower along with the addition of true No. 1 corner Aqib Talib, however, make the Patriots season win total and Super Bowl odds — 11 and 7-to-1 — do make the Pats’ Vegas outlook more intriguing than usual, though.