There are a number of things about the National Football League that are said, nodded on as truth, and never recognized as completely false. For example, you know what is going to be said about a playoff matchup between two teams that met twice in the regular season with one team winning both?
Say it with me, “It is really tough to beat the same team three times in the same season.”
In fact, when a team meets an opponent in the postseason they beat twice during the regular season, nearly 70% of the time they complete the three game sweep and cover the point spread 64% of the time over the past 50 NFL seasons.
How about this one? Give Bill Belichick extra time to prepare for an opponent and he is tough to beat.
In fact, Belichick’s lifetime record has a higher winning percentage in games in which he has less days to prepare for his opponent. When he has played with only four days rest, he has the highest winning average and his lowest winning percentage is when he has had ten days or more to get his team ready.
Perhaps, it is because Belichick’s Patriots are one of the the best prepared teams in the league all year long, and when their opponents have less time to prepare for a contest against Tom Brady and company, they are at the disadvantage.
How about this one?
The Patriots are a good bet coming off a loss.
That is true. No team has been better at ending a one game losing streak than Brady and his merry group of men. Since he took over as quarterback in 2001, the Patriots have played 53 games in which they lost the prior week and are looking to end a one game skid. In those 53 games, the Patriots are 42-11 straight-up and 36-17 against the point spread. That includes a loss in this spot earlier this season when following a defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in second week action, they lost a third week Sunday Night Football Football contest against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
There were a lot of reasons why the Patriots were in trouble that evening based on overconfidence and facing the Lions new head coach, and former New England Defensive Coordinator, Matt Patricia.
But, after that loss, the Patriots didn’t lose again until two weeks ago, before their bye, to the Tennessee Titans on the road. In that game, New England had their six game winning streak snapped by a one-sided score, 34-10.
This week, the Patriots travel to New Jersey to meet the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. They have had two weeks to prepare for this game, which we now know is not a statistical advantage for Belichick’s team. But, they are playing after a loss, and we know that is an edge considering. It can be further noted that following a loss as a road favorite, the Patriots are favored by ten points over the Jets on Sunday, New England is 14-5 against the spread.
So, could the Patriots fall in the category of being overconfident?
Last night, after the New Orleans Saints tallied their tenth straight win, one announcer said during the postgame show, “With no disrespect to the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, the Saints are clearly the best team in the NFL.”
Well, there may have been no disrespect to the Rams or Chiefs, but how about not even mentioning the two time defending AFC Champions in a brief discussion of the NFL’s best?
Aretha Franklin sang it, on Sunday, the Patriots will earn it … R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Qoxhi Picks: New England Patriots (-10) over New York Jets