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The New England Patriots have enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success in the salary cap era and the combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady should be able to keep the Patriots competitive in the AFC.

The offense should look better this season, especially compared to the rough start that the Patriots had with their 2013 campaign. Receiver is still a worrying point, especially seeing as Brady is coming off one of his worst statistical seasons as a pro. Julian Edelman returns as Brady’s favored weapon but the health of Danny Amendola and second-year receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins will be key. The Pats did bring in Brandon LaFell but don’t expect his impact to be huge. The big question remains Rob Gronkowski. If he can play through the season without ending up on the IR, the Pats should be fine. The running game lost LeGarrette Blount but Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen should make for an excellent one-two punch. The offensive line will also have to keep Brady upright, something which can’t be taken for granted.

As for the defense, the unit has been revamped following Peyton Manning’s demolition of the Pats in the AFC Championship Game. The Pats lost some notable names such as Brandon Spikes and Aqib Talib but they were able to nab Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in exchange. More importantly, Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork will be back, looking to stay healthy in 2014. If the Pats defense can keep its starters reliably on the field, this is one of the most talented defenses that Bill Belichick has coached since his last Super Bowl win.

The Patriots odds of winning the Super Bowl are 7-1.

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