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Patriots staying in the East

After a unanimous vote was passed by league, the New England Patriots will remain in the AFC East.

As expected, the Indianapolis Colts will move out of the division when the 2002 season rolls around. That is the only change. Buffalo, Miami and the New York Jets will join the Patriots as the four teams in the AFC East.

While the four remaining teams in the division won't see a major change, the Colts now face the task of competing against recent powers Jacksonville and Tennessee twice a year in the new AFC South. Also in the division will be the expansion Houston team.

The biggest beneficiary at first glance appears to be 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore. The Ravens are grouped with Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Over the last two season Baltimore has a 20-12 record, while the Steelers, Bengals and Browns have combined to go 28-68.

Because of the arrival of the expansion Houston franchise for the 2002 season, the NFL had to re-align its teams. There will now be eight four-team divisions. They are as follows:

AFC East – New England, Buffalo, Miami,
New York Jets

AFC North – Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland,
Pittsburgh

AFC South – Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville,
Tennessee

AFC West – Denver, Kansas City, Oakland,
San Diego

NFC East - Dallas, New York Giants, Philadelphia,
Washington

NFC North – Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay,
Minnesota

NFC South - Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans,
Tampa Bay

NFC West - Arizona, St. Louis, San Francisco,
Seattle

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