Patriots

Patriots can reach these insane milestones with win over Dolphins

Patriots can reach these insane milestones with win over Dolphins

Death, taxes and the New England Patriots winning the AFC East.

Those have been life's three certainties for the better part of the 21st century, as the Patriots have won 15 of the last 18 AFC East titles since Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

Belichick's club hasn't finished second in the division since 2008 and can clinch its 10th consecutive AFC East crown with a win in Sunday's "hat and T-shirt" game against the Miami Dolphins.

If that happens, New England will become just the second team in North America's "Big Four" professional sports leagues to win at least 10 straight division championships.

The Atlanta Braves won 11 National League East crowns in a row from 1995 to 2005. They only got one World Series trophy out of that run, however, while the Patriots have won two of the last four Super Bowls.

A 10th straight AFC East title also would guarantee 10 consecutive playoff appearances for New England, which would break another NFL record.

The Patriots currently are tied with the Dallas Cowboys (1975 to 1983) and Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts (2002 to 2010) as the only NFL teams to make the playoffs nine seasons in a row.

If history is any indication, beating the Dolphins in Miami won't be a cakewalk. But if Tom Brady and Co. can take care of business at Hard Rock Stadium, they'll move to 10-3 on the season and -- you guessed it -- reach another impressive milestone.

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Where does Patriots' Sony Michel rank among NFL RB1s entering 2019?

Where does Patriots' Sony Michel rank among NFL RB1s entering 2019?

Sony Michel enjoyed a tremendous rookie season for the New England Patriots and played a pivotal role in the team's run to a sixth Super Bowl championship.

The 24-year-old running back ran for 931 yards and six touchdowns in 13 regular season games, but his real value, however, was shown in the playoffs. Michel tallied 336 yards and a rookie postseason record six touchdowns in three games, culminating with 94 yards and the Patriots' only touchdown in their 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

After a stellar first season as a pro, where does Michel rank among the league's RB1s entering the 2019 season? Former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew ranked Michel at No. 11 in his rankings on NFL.com. Here's what MJD had to say about the Georgia product:

Michel showed he can be a bell cow during the postseason, with 71 carries for 336 yards and a rookie-record six rushing TDs in three games. He underwent a minor knee procedure in June, but Michel should still be the effective rusher he was in the postseason starting in September. Plus, I think Patriots OC Josh McDaniels will be more creative with the running game now that Rob Gronkowski is no longer on the team.

Jones-Drew put New York Giants rookie sensation Saquon Barkley atop his rankings, with Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints, Le'Veon Bell of the New York Jets, Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys and Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers rounding out the top five, in that order.

The Patriots offense was carried by its ground game in the last season's playoffs, and we could see more of the same this coming season after New England selected talented Alabama running back Damien Harris in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Pats now have Michel, Harris, Rex Burkhead and James White leading a really impressive group of running backs that should make the team's offense a well-balanced unit next season.

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NFL odds: Three quarterbacks favored over Tom Brady for 2019 MVP

NFL odds: Three quarterbacks favored over Tom Brady for 2019 MVP

Tom Brady opens as one of the favorites to win the 2019 NFL MVP award, but Vegas has three quarterbacks favored over the Patriots QB.

Chiefs quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes unsurprisingly is listed as the favorite heading into the new season at +350. Also ahead of Brady are Eagles QB Carson Wentz (+550) and Colts signal-caller Andrew Luck (+600).

Brady is tied with Chargers QB Philip Rivers at +700 and followed by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who opens at +800.

(Odds via Caesars Palace)

Considering the uncertainty at the wide receiver position for the Patriots, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Brady isn't favored to be 2019's MVP. But at +700, there's certainly plenty of value there if you're looking to put some money down before the season.

Brady has won the NFL MVP award three times before in his illustrious career (2007, 2010, 2017).

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