Your guide to the AFC: Patriots to reign, but the Chiefs will bloom

After casting an eye over the NFC, news.Ladbrokes’ pigskin professors have placed the American Football Conference under the microscope to find the answers to some pertinent questions ahead of the start of the new NFL season.

Who’s going to win it?

The Patriots.

Tom Brady dodged the ‘deflategate’ bullet, touchdown titan Rob Gronkowski is expected to improve on a fantastic 2014 campaign and their leading rivals outside of the AFC East have shown little to suggest they can stop last season’s SuperBowl winners.

The Denver Broncos are a team in transition having had a head coach transplant, the Steelers’ notoriously rigid rearguard has been decimated and last year’s Championship game was the latest instalment in the chronicles of painstaking losses suffered by the Colts at New England’s hands.

At 4/1, Indianapolis’ finest are second favourites for the AFC gong, but they’re some way back from the 7/2 market-leading Pats, and for good reason.

If you like free money, back New England to take the AFC East crown at 8/15 too.

They’ve done so in 12 of the past 14 years and have never finished with a winning record inferior to any of the Dolphins, Bills or Jets.

Teams to watch

Remarkably, the Chiefs went the entire 2014 edition without any of their wide receivers catching a pass.

It was the first time this had happened in the NFL since 1964, yet they still managed to finish second in the AFC West, just three wins back from the Broncos.

Having addressed this gaping hole in the roster with free-agent Jeremy Maclin, it promises to be a good year in Kansas City. The former Philadelphia star is lightning fast and has clocked 4,760 receiving yards in his career.

With the team performing admirably last season despite their horrendous defect, the foundations for greatness are clearly in place. Maclin’s addition polishes off a potentially stellar side and, if he stays fit, their 4/1 to claim the divisional title will look a huge price come December.

Favourite to take on

It’s a dangerous game casting doubt on evergreen quarterback Peyton Manning, but the Broncos warhorse, as his weary 2014 end-of-season showings suggested, may finally be about to supernova.

What’s more is star offensive lineman Ryan Clady won’t play all season thanks to an ACL tear. This loss is a huge blow to Manning’s prospects of passing unhindered and, with the now-fully-functioning Chiefs and consistent Charges on Denver’s tail, if the heartbeat of their side fails to stay healthy, they won’t take the AFC West crown, despite 4/7 favouritism.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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