Just a few seasons ago, the AFC East appeared to be packed with competition.
The Dolphins surprised the Patriots with their Wildcat offense and ran off an 11-5 season. The Jets brought in big-talking Rex Ryan, who nearly validated claims of Super Bowl ability while pulling off key wins over the Pats. The Bills literally smartened up, with Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick appearing to be ready to turn around the perennial division doormats.
But that has all changed coming into 2012, as the small advantages the rest of the AFC East seemed to gain have fallen away and the Patriots stand as strong as ever. New England is so good this year, in fact, that even one loss to one of its pesky division challengers would be seen as a disappointment.