The New England Patriots were dealt some bad news last week when they lost Julian Edelman for the entire season to a torn ACL. But that hasn’t stopped Bill Belichick’s gang from being the overwhelming favorite to win the Super Bowl. For as long as Tom Brady is standing upright, the Pats are going to be the favorites to win it all. The biggest question that remains? Can New England pull off a perfect season?
Perfect 19-0 ?
Of course, it’s entirely illogical to think that the Patriots can really go 19-0. This is the NFL, and this team doesn’t seem to be as good on paper as that team that made it to 18-0 and was one bad quarter of football away from perfection. Teams game plan specifically for the Patriots, and they’ll get the best shot from the opposition 16 times this year before ever embarking on their playoff run.
But the fact of the matter is that there isn’t a team that is even 3 to 1 to be the first to knock off New England.
The Chiefs have to be the favorite by default to earn the first victory of the year against New England, as unlikely as this seems to happen. Kansas City is only +7.5, and with its stout defense, anything could theoretically happen.
Week 2 is a tough matchup as well against the Saints. Drew Brees and the gang aren’t going to be much more than touchdown underdogs at home against anyone in the NFL, including New England. The Brady Bunch has gotten into shootouts and been beaten before several times, and this is a spot where that could once again happen.
But if Brady and Belichick get to 2-0, who is going to stop them from going all the way? Houston hasn’t been anywhere near beating New England in recent years, and it’s hard to imagine Carolina coming to Foxboro and walking out with a victory.
That leaves the Buccaneers next in line in Week 5. Jameis Winston had a fantastic preseason and truly looks poised for stardom. This would surely be a jumping off point in his career if he was able to knock off New England, but even still, there’s little way the Pats would be dogs in this game.
After what will certainly be a debacle against the Jets, the Patriots have a Super Bowl rematch at home against the Falcons. Atlanta gave everything it had to New England last year and still lost the big one after taking a 28-3 lead. That said, especially if the Falcons are sitting on 5-2 or 6-1 at that point, the oddsmakers will give them a better shot at pulling off an upset in Foxboro than anyone else in the season.
The Chargers are up next, followed by a trip to Denver. The Broncos are +1541 to hand New England its first loss of the season. Theoretically, this is a nice matchup at home for a team with a great defense and a good pedigree against the Patriots. But remember that that game is off of New England’s bye. Perhaps the next week’s road trip against Oakland is the most dangerous spot, but in order for the Raiders to cash this ticket, the Pats have to be 9-0 when they come to the Coliseum.
You’d like to think if the Patriots keep clearing hurdles, they’re home free. Two games against Miami sandwich a duel at Buffalo, and we can’t imagine Week 15 at Pittsburgh being the stumbling block. The Bills and Jets finish up the regular season before the real fun begins in the postseason.
New England Patriots Odds on First Loss of the Season
(Odds courtesy of Bookmaker.eu)
Week 1 vs. Chiefs: +302
Week 2 at Saints: +332
Week 3 at Texans: +1315
Week 4 vs. Panthers: +1000
Week 5 at Buccaneers: +806
Week 6 at Jets: +5000
Week 7 at Falcons: +1122
Week 8 vs. Chargers: +2610
Week 10 at Broncos: +1541
Week 11 at Raiders: +864
Week 12 vs. Dolphins: +10000
Week 13 at Bills: +6000
Week 14 at Dolphins: +5000
Week 15 at Steelers: +1674
Week 16 vs. Bills: +15000
Week 17 vs. Jets: +12000
AFC Divisional Round: +3846
AFC Conference Round: +4000
Super Bowl 52: +2199
Undefeated Season: +2790
Check out the latest NFL betting odds.