One of the reasons why the Patriots will be able to repeat as Super Bowl Champions next season is because of a weak AFC. This season, we saw the Patriots handle the AFC with ease. The only loss they suffered in the conference during the regular season was to the Buffalo Bills. In that loss, they were without both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.
In the playoffs, the Patriots weren’t challenged either. Against the Houston Texans, the Patriots were able to win easily despite making a lot of mistakes. In the AFC Championship Game, the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their running back Le’Veon Bell leave early with an injury. Even if Bell was healthy, it didn’t appear that the Steelers would have been able to contend with the Patriots.
Next season, the Patriots will likely be challenged by the Oakland Raiders in the AFC. This season, the Raiders had the awful luck of seeing their star quarterback Derek Carr go down with an injury just prior to the start of the playoffs. Carr getting injured cost the Raiders the division and also resulted in them losing in the first round of the playoffs. While the Raiders will be arguably the toughest team the Patriots could face next season, the Patriots will have the experience factor on their side.