Case For & Against Pats Running Table
New England is favored in every game in 2017. But can the Patriots run the regular season table?
CASE FOR 16-0 PATRIOTS
Seemingly ageless Tom Brady returns for the New England Patriots and for a shot at a sixth world championship in 17 seasons. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, early odds have the Patriots favored in ALL of the 15 games.
(Week 17 is excluded, too, because of high variance caused by potential playoff seeding, quarterbacks sitting out the final week or playing partial games, etc.)
Remarkably, early lines have New England as a double-digit favorite twice in 2017. The Patriots are a 12 1/2-point fave, the most of all games in 2017 at home against the Chargers in Week 8. And New England is an 11 1/2-point pick at home against Buffalo in Week 16. The Patriots are also 9 1/2-point picks at the New York Jets in Week 6. At home, they are 9-point favorites in Week 3 vs. Houston, vs. Carolina in Week 4 and in Week 12 against Miami.
Even with all the possible player resting scenarios, Week 17 seems safe for the Patriots. That weekend, the New York Jets visit Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Dec. 31 for an almost sure-thing win.
CASE AGAINST 16-0 PATRIOTS
Not all point-spread favorites are created equal, too, with some of New England’s early lines bearing that out. The Patriots are only 1 1/2-point favorites Week 11 against the Raiders in Mexico City. And New England is a 1 1/2-point favorite over host Pittsburgh in Week 15.
Being at home, too, usually proves to give a substantial bump. That puts the Week 1 test against Kansas City (-7), and the Week 7 game against Atlanta (-6 1/2), narrower than if those games were on the road.
Injuries can be a huge wild card and relevant in any situation, and such a scenario would drastically alter every one of these early lines. Brady or all-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski could go down at any time, not to mention lesser stars like Julian Edelman or Devin McCourty. Furthermore, there’s no telling when coach Bill Belichick might want to inject curious strategy late in a game and turn a close win into a loss.
New England was an NFL-best 84.21% against the spread last season. New England opened as a 13/2 choice to defend, and are currently listed at 31/10 to win Super Bowl LII. The Dallas Cowboys are second choice to win the Super Bowl, currently listed at 10-1.