The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are cruising as they have once again done what many anticipated they would by winning the AFC East division for the ninth straight season. Tom Brady and company can also clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs if they can beat the Buffalo Bills and see either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Jacksonville Jaguars lose in Week 16.

Although everything appears to be going to plan in New England, the team has been dealing with a problem with Brady's personal trainer, Alex Guerrero. Reportedly there's been a rift brewing between Guerrero and head coach Bill Belichick and now the team has decided to address, according to Bob Hohler of The Boston Globe.

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For reasons he has declined to explain, Belichick weeks ago stripped Guerrero of his special team privileges, restoring a measure of tradition to the team’s medical and training operation, according to several people familiar with the Patriots’ internal operations.

Along with being stripped of special privileges, Guerrero has also been banned from the team plane as well as access to the Patriots' sideline during games, via Hohler.

Needless to say, Belichick obviously viewed Guerrero as a distraction or a problem that needed to be fixed and it appears he has done just that. The real question moving forward is how Guerrero's absence may impact Brady as he continues to defy the odds at 40 years old and seemingly on his way to another NFL MVP as well as potentially a sixth Super Bowl title.