It’s so hard betting against the New England Patriots. They’ve been the model franchise in the NFL for going on two full decades, and it’s easy to just assume that their run of dominance is never going to end.
We’re talking about a team which has won at least 12 games in six straight campaigns and at least 10 games every year since 2003. The last non-winning season came in 2000, Bill Belichick’s first year in Foxboro. Since that stretch, New England has won 14 division titles in 16 years.
Brady at 40
But we have to face the facts at this point: Tom Brady isn’t going to be Tom Brady forever. And the magical age of 40 seems to be the one where even the best of the best start to fall off a cliff.
Brady showed signs of losing it in 2013 when he “only” threw for 25 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. His 87.3 quarterback rating was his worst since 2003 (if you don’t include the 2008 season when he threw 11 passes before tearing his ACL). That said, Brady came back these last two seasons with vengeance, posting QBRs of 102.2 and 112.2 respectively. His yards per pass attempt continue to rise, and his interception rate – a mere 0.5 percent last season – continues to drop.
But even last year, the Brady Bunch was fallible. The Pats lost to the Seahawks at home with Brady under center, and they were pushed far harder by the Jets and Ravens than they should have been.
Tough Schedule the Season
The schedule this year? It isn’t easy. The team has to play against four legitimate powerhouses at home outside of the division in the Chiefs, Texans, Panthers and Falcons, and facing road tests against the Saints, Buccaneers, Broncos, Raiders and Steelers won’t be fun either. Just four slips along the way, and that’s the end of that. And all of that is assuming that New England goes 6-0 in the AFC East.
We see some issues on the field, too. This defense might have added Kona Ealy and David Harris, but we aren’t sure about the linebacking corps. This pass defense was only No. 12 in the NFL last season, and the good quarterbacks really had a field day at times against this unit.
Offensively, there’s sure a lot of depth, but as always, there aren’t a lot of superstars aside from Brady. Brandin Cooks makes sense to add to the lineup, as does Dwayne Allen, but it’s hard to say that, even with these two men, this team really is a boatload better than it was last season. Toss in the fact that this offensive line really only has one Pro Bowl caliber player in Nate Solder at left tackle, and there are clear holes that can be exploited in the wrong matchups.
Of course, the Pats don’t have to be that great either. They won 14 games a year ago and were really only involved in a few truly close encounters with Brady playing. Still, if we had to guess, this team is going to be hard-pressed to get to 13 wins. Even the great Belichickian Patriots have won more than 12 games six times in 16 fantastic seasons. This is a huge mountain to climb.
New England Patriots Futures Odds
(Odds courtesy of Bookmaker.eu)
Odds To Win Super Bowl: +310
Odds To Win AFC: +180
Odds To Win AFC East: -1600
Regular Season Win Total: 12.5
Odds To Make Playoffs: -4000
Our Betting Pick:
Take the Under 12.5 on Regular Season Wins Total
Check out the latest NFL betting odds.