New England Patriots (11/2 Super Bowl LIV Winner) may have lost Tom Brady’s favourite target Rob Gronkowski in the off season, but the reigning Super Bowl champion won’t be too worried about the quality of opposition in the AFC East this year.

The Patriots have won 15 of the last 16 division titles and looking at what shape they are in compared to the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins that run is likely to continue for at least one more.

The news earlier this month that Brady had signed a two-year contract extension, meaning he is likely to play into his mid-forties, will not have gone down well around in New York, Buffalo and Miami.

Brady continues to defy the ageing process and outshone the latest crop of young quarterbacks in the 2019 play-offs as he dismantled Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game and a Jared Goff-led Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

The Patriots (2/9 AFC East – Division Winners) will attempt to get over the loss of tight-end Gronkowski by beefing up their receiving corps and will hope Sony Michel stays free of injury.

He rushed for 931 yards and six touchdowns between knee issues in 2018, and then set a play-off record for rookies with six ground touchdowns beyond December.

Despite losing Trent Brown to the Raiders, Brady’s offensive line still looks good and on defense they always find a way to stay competitive.

Defensive co-ordinators have come and gone under Bill Belichick and last year’s play-caller Brian Flores has left to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins, taking wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski along to south Florida with him.

That’s great in the long-term for the last franchise other than the Patriots to win the AFC East.

But the Dolphins (33/1) are way off contending for the division this year, and probably next, as they rebuild around second-year QB Josh Rosen.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola (now with Detroit), RB Frank Gore (Buffalo), right tackle Ja’Wuan James (Denver), outside linebacker Cameron Wake (Tennessee) and defensive end Robert Quinn (traded to Dallas) joined former starting QB Ryan Tannehill in heading for the exits as the Dolphins effectively start over in 2019.

The New York Jets (11/2) also have a year two QB behind center in Sam Darnold but he looks to have more potential in his arm and alongside him on the field this coming season.

The Jets key addition was former Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell, whose contract holdout lasted for the entire 2018 campaign.

They used up more of their vast cap space by adding one of the best free-agent linebackers CJ Mosley and of course, are under a new coach as well this year.

Adam Gase came in with a so-so record from his days at the Dolphins and a reputation for offensive football which will at least help Darnold open up the playbook.

The Jets still lack playmakers on defense, however, and have one of the thinnest cornerback crops in the league so they won’t match up well to Brady and the Patriots.

Finally, Buffalo Bills (9/1) fans have reasons to get excited after an off-season spent revamping the offensive line and receiving corps.

QB Josh Allen should flourish with the weapons surrounding him and the Bills will probably vie with the Jets for second spot in the division and a chance of a wildcard berth.

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