Patriots' Super Bowl odds barely change after release of Antonio Brown

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

Even though it’s Antonio Brown forcing his way out of all his teams this year, it is still hard for them to cope with the on-field loss of one of the best wide receivers of his generation.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has looked lost, even when Ben Roethlisberger was healthy. The Oakland Raiders’ hopes to compete this year were almost instantly dashed. The New England Patriots have gone from the clear Super Bowl favorite to ... still the clear Super Bowl favorite.

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The Patriots machine rolls on without Antonio Brown

The Patriots announced Friday they had released Brown after reports of him inappropriately contacting a woman who previously had accused him of sexual misconduct.

The news of Brown’s departure sent the defending champion’s odds of a Super Bowl repeat all the way from +333 to +350. That still puts them well ahead of the second-place Kansas City Chiefs (+600).

It might be an underrated detail that the Patriots, for all the talk about how unstoppable Brown made their offense, saw barely a blip in their long-term outlook when they finally cut him loose.

Of course, it helps that Brown’s presence in the wide receiver corps was a luxury in the first place. The team still has Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett catching passes, more than enough pass-catching talent for Tom Brady to succeed.

First-round pick N’Keal Harry is also still waiting in the wings, currently on injured reserve with an ankle injury. However, it might be worth wondering whether or not the Patriots would have traded away Demaryius Thomas had they known Brown’s days with the team were numbered.

Absolutely no one should be feeling sorry for the Patriots right now. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Absolutely no one should be feeling sorry for the Patriots right now. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Brown looked on his way to another big year when he posted 56 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches in the Patriots’ Week 2 domination of the Miami Dolphins, but the team looked just fine without him in their Week 1 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Normally, losing a player who has averaged 115 catches, 1,529 receiving yards and 11.8 touchdowns over the last five seasons would be shattering for a team, but this was clearly never a normal situation between the player and team.

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