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Kimberley A. Martin’s Power Take: Patriots’ path to division title still clear, even without Edelman

Fine, I’ll admit it.

I was one of those naive souls who thought Tom Brady’s suspension to start the 2016 season would open the door for another AFC East team to (finally) close the gap. But after four games, I had learned my lesson: Never doubt the genius of Bill Belichick and the power of The Patriots’ Way.

We’ve all heard the tired coach-speak cliché, “next man up.” But no one is more adept at delivering on that promise, and making it count on Sundays, than Belichick.

The loss of receiver Julian Edelman (torn ACL) will complicate matters for Brady & Co., but it won’t cripple the defending Super Bowl champions. The connection between Brady and his most trusted receiver will be difficult to replace. But in the end, Edelman’s injury won’t derail the Patriots’ easy path to the division title.

While the Bills and Jets have been busy hitting the reset button (either by introducing a new regime, parting ways with high-priced veterans or swapping former high-round draft-picks for future picks), and the Dolphins have been getting acclimated to the Jay Cutler experience, the retooled Patriots are preparing for another run at the Super Bowl with Rob Gronkowski, ex-Bill Chris Hogan and former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks.

Yes, losing Edelman is a big blow. But the quarterback position is far more crucial during a postseason run.

And unlike the Bills, Jets and Dolphins, the Patriots are all set there.

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