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Mike Wallace: Never count out New England Patriots

The Miami Dolphins enjoyed something of an idyllic offseason, marked by roster upgrades and general optimism that the franchise is finally on the way up after an extended fallow period.

The New England Patriots, by contrast, suffered through a difficult period marked by the loss of Wes Welker, the uncertainty of Rob Gronkowski and the Aaron Hernandez situation.

In other words, the planets would seem to be aligned for the Dolphins to knock off the Patriots from their AFC East perch. Mike Wallace is new to the Dolphins, but he knows better than to write off the Pats.

"As long as they have No. 12 (Tom Brady) behind center, anything's possible," Wallace told USA Today on Sunday. "As long as they have Coach (Bill) Belichick up there, man, you never count those guys out.

"You never want to say, 'Oh, this happened and that happened,' because as soon as you say that, they come back at 12-4, 13-3," Wallace continued. "You learn just to accept the Patriots for who they are. But at the same time, we're in the same division as them, and we want to win the division. If you're not playing to win, why are you playing the game?"

We're in the same camp as Wallace on this issue. On paper, the Patriots are a weaker team than they were last season, especially if Gronkowski misses extended time. But the line forms to the right for people writing off Brady and Belichick. Have fun with that.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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