For two decades, the Patriots ruled the AFC East. From 2001-2019, New England won a staggering 17 division titles in 19 seasons, finishing second in both years they fell short.
That hasn’t been the case in recent years, however, ever since Tom Brady’s departure. The Patriots haven’t finished first in their division since he left, allowing the Bills to rip off three straight AFC East titles.
That’s not expected to change in 2023, either, as New England has the longest odds to win the division on DraftKings Sportsbook at +800. Between the Bills’ dominance, the rise of the Dolphins and Aaron Rodgers joining the Jets, the AFC East is going to be a battle this year.
But are the oddsmakers too low on the Pats? Here are three reasons why they could still win the division in 2023.
3 Reasons Why the Patriots Could Win the AFC East
1. Bill Belichick is Hungry
The Patriots no longer have Brady, but they still have Belichick. He’s only the greatest NFL coach of all time, and that still counts for something, right?
Perhaps more importantly, New England has a motivated Belichick. For the first time in a long time, Belichick’s job security is up in the air due to the team’s recent mediocre performance. He’s one of several Patriots members on the hot seat right now, but we expect him to respond.
Belichick has never had back-to-back losing seasons as New England’s head coach, which speaks to his supernatural ability to make adjustments and course-correct. He’s certainly not happy with how 2022 played out and you can bet he’ll do everything he can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
And while Belichick isn’t one to prioritize individual accomplishments, it doesn’t hurt that he’s closing in on the NFL’s all-time record for wins by a head coach, as he trails Don Shula by 19.