Patriots can reach these insane milestones with win over Dolphins

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Patriots can reach these insane milestones with win over Dolphins originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

Death, taxes and the New England Patriots winning the AFC East.

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Those have been life's three certainties for the better part of the 21st century, as the Patriots have won 15 of the last 18 AFC East titles since Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

Belichick's club hasn't finished second in the division since 2008 and can clinch its 10th consecutive AFC East crown with a win in Sunday's "hat and T-shirt" game against the Miami Dolphins.

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If that happens, New England will become just the second team in North America's "Big Four" professional sports leagues to win at least 10 straight division championships.

The Atlanta Braves won 11 National League East crowns in a row from 1995 to 2005. They only got one World Series trophy out of that run, however, while the Patriots have won two of the last four Super Bowls.

A 10th straight AFC East title also would guarantee 10 consecutive playoff appearances for New England, which would break another NFL record.

The Patriots currently are tied with the Dallas Cowboys (1975 to 1983) and Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts (2002 to 2010) as the only NFL teams to make the playoffs nine seasons in a row.

If history is any indication, beating the Dolphins in Miami won't be a cakewalk. But if Tom Brady and Co. can take care of business at Hard Rock Stadium, they'll move to 10-3 on the season and -- you guessed it -- reach another impressive milestone.

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