First let me say, 2013 could and SHOULD belong to the Patriots. The Patriots have had a legitimate challenger in the AFC the past two years... the Ravens. Who are now in the SB, and will be hit hard either way next season with the either the SB bullseye on their backs, or the SB letdown for losing it.
Who else is ready to dethrone the Patriots in 2013? No one. Only injury and misfortune stand in their way of another run to the AFCCG and beyond. That simple folks, the Patriots without Gronk, Jones, Talib, and others nearly punched their tickets to another SB against a fierce and determined (as well as more talented) Ravens team...
And the Patriots will be right back again, with all their key players (and a couple more FAs and Draft picks) ... and from Ballard to Dowling, the Patriots have half a dozen IRs that didn't even see the football field this year that COULD come in and be major contributors in 2013.
The shelves are stocked except in two areas:
The Patriots #1 need come the AFCCG and SB is HEALTH...
Having 3 or more of your TOP players sidelined in the AFCCG is tough to overcome (IE - Jones, Gronk, Talib, etc.)... you can't overcome the loss of your top playmakers when going up against the very best teams in the biggest games of the year, health has a LOT to do with who wins.
The holes the Patriots have now are a physical deep threat at WR (IE - Ravens Torrey Smith) and a punishing Safety presence like they had with Harrison back when trips to the SB were a regular occurrence in Patriots Nation (IE - Ravens Pollard)
When it comes to the playoffs, if you can't intimidate in the middle of the field you get picked apart, and if you can't make a Defense respect your deep threat they can clog the middle just like the Ravens did, and the Jets did two years before that, to a Patriots Offense that is very limited these days when either Gronk or Hernandez are injured.
The Patriots need a Torrey Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, of their own... add that type of WR to what they have now (even minus Welker) with Lloyd, Gronk, Hernandez, and a dangerous group of RBs and they will be able to spread a Defense and have success in the playoffs... without such a WR added to the mix, the Offense will be more easy to limit and defend against.
On Defense they DO have almost all the pieces, D-line, Linebackers, CBs (if Talib returns)... they just don't have the intimidating SS presence, the hard hitter, the impact player, that makes players afraid to go across the middle.
If they can fill those two positions with top tier players, and keep the majority of the team intact (which they should be able to do this offseason) they will easily be the dominant team in the AFC in 2013.