Morning Sports Update

Why an NFL analyst predicts the Patriots will win AFC East in 2023

The prediction runs counter to New England's current odds.

Bill Belichick's Patriots predicted by analyst to win AFC East in 2023.
Bill Belichick at the start of a press conference in late prior to an OTA session. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Revolution secured a 3-3 draw away at Atlanta United on Wednesday, with Carles Gil putting New England into an early lead with the second fastest goal in club history.

New England will play again on Saturday at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC (kickoff at 3:30 p.m.)

The Red Sox lost to the Reds 5-4, as Cincinnati won its first series at Fenway Park since the 1975 World Series. Boston will begin a four-game series against the Rays at home on Friday (7:10 p.m.)

A Patriots prediction: It’s indicative of how much things have changed in the AFC East over the past few years that a prediction of the Patriots winning the division in 2023 is notable.


Yet that’s exactly what Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr did in a recent column of “100 bold predictions” for the upcoming season. His reasoning begins with the team’s new offensive coordinator, and extends to the defense.

“Bill O’Brien is back and carrying a new bag of tricks from his Alabama getaway. This offense can sensibly grind out games behind a brilliant defense,” wrote Orr. “You’ll ask: But what about the Dolphins, Jets and Bills? My thought is that this division may end up collapsing in on itself a little bit. “

The main reason why the Patriots currently have the longest odds to win the division centers around the apparent strength of New England’s rivals. The Dolphins, Bills, and Jets (with Aaron Rodgers) are seen to be more talented teams on paper.

Still, Orr noted that this concentration of talent in one division might not be the disaster for the Patriots that other experts foresee.

“There are a lot of heavyweight punchers here, each of which have some very talented but fatal flaws,” Orr explained. “The Dolphins, for example, are going to have a tough time not burning themselves out. The Bills are dependent on reinventing themselves around an intentionally less mobile Josh Allen. The Jets’ title hopes rest on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, who may be great and newly motivated. He is also flirting with age 40 and may be starting to show it.”


It wouldn’t be the first time that Bill Belichick’s team has out-performed preseason expectations, but given the circumstances, a division title in 2023 would rank highly among his regular season accomplishments.

Trivia: Bill Belichick has won the AFC East 17 times during his legendary run in New England, the most division titles won by any coach in NFL history. Which two coaches rank second on the all-time list?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: They coached against each other in Super Bowl VI.

More from

Carles Gil doing it all: The Revolution’s playmaker gave his team an instantaneous lead — and then dragged them back from the brink of defeat — by scoring goals at both ends of Wednesday’s game (see his second goal in today’s daily highlight at the bottom).

On this day: In 2016, Mookie Betts continued a scorching hot streak of home run hitting. After crushing three long balls against the Orioles on May 31, Betts returned the next day and homered in each of his first two at-bats. In all, Betts hit home runs in five of seven at-bats over two games. Still, poor pitching doomed Boston in a 13-9 loss in Baltimore.

Daily highlight: Carles Gil scored a captain’s goal for the Revolution in the final moments of Wednesday’s game in Atlanta, tying things up in stoppage time and allowing New England to escape a difficult road matchup with a point.

Trivia answer: Don Shula, Tom Landry


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on