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New England Patriots: Dynasty on the Decline

Tom Brady is still a force to be reckoned with Tom Brady is still a force to be reckoned with

The New England Patriots are the closest thing to a dynasty the NFL has seen in several years. But it’s been nearly half a decade since the Pats won three Super Bowls in four seasons from 2001 to 2004. However, Boston’s team has finished as AFC East division champions six of the last seven years, so there’s definitely gas in the tank. Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss will shoulder much of the responsibility for Bill Belichick’s team. If they can stay healthy, the Patriots should be able to improve on last season.

Of course, the major thing holding back the Pats in 2009 was the health of Tom Brady. Brady is one of the NFL’s all-time clutch quarterbacks, with a playoff legacy that can’t be denied. Now, with two healthy knees heading into 2010, Brady should be able to help his Patriots rise to the top of the AFC East again.

However, the variables in that equation will be Brady’s receivers and the increased talent within the AFC East.

Wes Welker is another ailing Patriot expected to be back in top form for 2010. Welker, an All-Pro receiver, was sidelined in 2009 with knee problems of his own. He will be a key target for Brady this season, with all signs pointing to his knees being 100%.

However, less certain is what to expect from Randy Moss. Moss is one of the NFL’s most talented receivers, but also one of the most difficult personalities to manage. In a league like the NFL, that’s saying a lot.

After tumultuous departures from both the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders, Moss found new life under Bill Belichick in Boston. He was finally playing to his potential.

However, the 33-year-old didn’t receive the contract extension he was hoping for in New England. Now he’s playing out the last year of his contract and claiming he doesn’t “feel wanted.” As such, he’s already talking about playing for another team next year. That type of attitude can be very difficult on a team with the difficult task at hand of winning football games every week.

And then there’s the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Both clubs look to be vastly improved over recent years. The Jets in particular will be riding the momentum they had as a surprise playoff success last year. However, the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins can all expect to collect a couple of wins over the hapless Buffalo Bills again this season.

The New England Patriots may not be favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2011, but they do look like the best team in the AFC East. With a quarterback like Tom Brady and a head coach like Bill Belichick, you can always expect a competitive squad. The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets pose interesting threats this year, and may change the landscape of the division somewhat. But the Pats are still the team to beat in the AFC East.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 10:44

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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