Patriots

You might be surprised at Patriots' latest odds to win AFC in 2020 NFL season

You might be surprised at Patriots' latest odds to win AFC in 2020 NFL season

Many experts are not very optimistic about the New England Patriots dynasty continuing after the departure of Tom Brady in NFL free agency, but oddsmakers are giving them a fighting chance to compete in the AFC.

Few people would question that the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens are the two-best teams in the AFC, but you might be surprised to learn the Patriots have the third-best odds to win the conference next season.

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Here are the latest AFC odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: +300
2. Baltimore Ravens: +375
3. New England Patriots: +800
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: +1100
5. Buffalo Bills: +1300
6. Indianapolis Colts:+1300
7. Tennessee Titans: +1400
8. Cleveland Browns: +1500
9. Denver Broncos: +1800
10. Houston Texans: +2000

The Patriots are the third-best team in the AFC? It actually makes sense. Let's look at some of the other teams in the conference. 

The Indianapolis Colts' most notable move this offseason was replacing Jacoby Brissett with Philip Rivers at quarterback. This is not much of an upgrade, and Rivers has a long history of underperforming in the playoffs. The Houston Texans' odds have plummeted after the DeAndre Hopkins trade, a move in which the AFC South winners pretty much gave away arguably the league's best wide receiver for an underwhelming return.

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The Buffalo Bills also are viewed as a legit contender by oddsmakers, but their best offseason move was acquiring Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. He's a good player, but hardly a gamechanger in the conference title race. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be better if veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, but he's played only one full 16-game season in the last five years, and his offense has taken a hit with the departures of Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and various tight ends in recent offseasons.

The Patriots, despite losing Brady and several veteran defensive players in free agency, still have a ton of talent on their roster, especially in the secondary. And we know head coach Bill Belichick will get his players prepared and well-conditioned as only he can. In fact, Belichick's presence might be the primary reason why oddsmakers remain confident in the Patriots' ability to win games without Brady.

In reality, a lot of the Patriots' success in 2020 likely will depend on Jarrett Stidham. The second-year quarterback is the leading candidate on the current roster to replace Brady, and even though he didn't get many regular season reps in 2019, the former Auburn star did show flashes of his impressive talent in last year's training camp, preseason and in-season practices. Stidham's teammates also have been full of praise for his talents in recent weeks.

The Patriots probably won't get much love when it comes time to make 2020 season predictions, but as long as Belichick and other leaders such as Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and others remain, you still have to take them seriously as a threat in the AFC.

Perry: Who's quick enough to play corner in New England?

Devin McCourty, wife share heartbreaking news of daughter's death

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USA TODAY Sports

Devin McCourty, wife share heartbreaking news of daughter's death

Devin McCourty and his wife, Michelle, endured every parent's worst nightmare last weekend.

The New England Patriots safety shared his wife's announcement Saturday that they lost their third child, Mia, last Sunday as the result of a stillbirth.

"I cry as I type this," Michelle wrote in an Instagram post. "My pregnancy had resulted in a stillbirth at almost 8 months of being pregnant — at exactly 31 weeks 2 days, when we found out that the baby girl growing inside me no longer had a heartbeat after being completely fine the week prior at my last doctor’s appointment.

"We are so heartbroken. We are devastated. We are speechless. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are numb."

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The couple has two other young children: a 3-year-old girl named Londyn and a 2-year-old boy named Brayden.

The McCourtys received an outpouring of support from Devin's current and former teammates after he shared the news on Instagram.

Here's ex-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: "Love you my brother. So sad for you loss! You are in our thoughts and prayers always ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼"

And here's Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo: "My prayers and love to your family bro."

Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry -- "My prayers are definitely going out to y’all. Love you bro💙" -- Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers -- "Prayers for you and your family! 💪🏾 be strong brother" -- and ex-Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib -- "Praying for ya family brotha!" -- were among many other NFL players offering their support to the McCourtys.

Michelle added in her message that she and Devin "appreciate the love and support we’ve already gotten, and just ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time, since we have no answers to give anyway."

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Tom Brady gives inspiring commencement address for Forman School in Connecticut

Tom Brady gives inspiring commencement address for Forman School in Connecticut

Tom Brady took time out of his Saturday to congratulate the Class of 2020 at the Forman School in Litchfield, Conn.

The former New England Patriots quarterback gave an inspiring virtual commencement address in which he implored the graduating students to embrace adversity. Brady used the coronavirus pandemic as an example of a challenge the students -- along with the rest of the world -- are learning to overcome.

“We’ve all had our difficult times overcoming different adversities and challenges that we’re facing, and this one is no different,” Brady said. “I think what you understand when you’re going through things like this is you learn from them and you make the best of them.”

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Brady also spent time talking about his own career, and the obstacles he overcame to go from the No. 199 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft to a six-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest QB of all time. The 42-year-old stressed the importance of putting 100 percent effort into everything one hopes to accomplish in life.

“Your future is going to be what you make of it,” Brady said. “Because you ‘re not going to be able to rely on people to do things for you. That’s not the way life is. If you want to be great at something, you’re going to have to put all your commitment and effort and discipline into doing just that.”

Click the link in the tweet below to watch Brady's full commencement address:

Now that's a speech the Forman School Class of 2020 will never forget.