Hot button: Pats best in AFC?

In a "Hot Button" series on ESPN.com, senior writer John Clayton and NFL reporter Ashley Fox debate which team is the best in the AFC. Clayton points to the Patriots, while Fox picks the Steelers.

"The stage is set for the New England Patriots to repeat as the best regular-season team in the AFC," Clayton writes. "Bill Belichick made the right fixes in the roster to put them as the top dogs in the conference."

Fox counters by looking back at 2010.

"The New England Patriots are the favorites to win the AFC this season, but let's not forget that they couldn't get past the New York Jets in the playoffs last season, despite going 14-2 in the regular season," she writes. "The Pittsburgh Steelers worked their way past Baltimore, then the Jets, and were 47 seconds and 67 yards away from winning Super Bowl XLV."

Clayton concludes his thoughts by writing, "On paper, the Pats are better than the team that won 14 games last season."