2014 New England Patriots Opponents and Schedule Highlights
by George Monroy - 4/4/2014
The New England Patriots always seem to be on the right side of the free agent market even when it seems like they might have lost a key player or two. For the second straight year the Denver Broncos poached an essential player from the Patriots' roster when they signed defensive-stopper Aqib Talib to a six-year, $57 million deal. New England, however, immediately bounced back with a huge free agency signing of its own when the team nabbed Darrelle Revis after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Patriots, it seems, are in title contention every single year, and after two Super Bowl losses in a row and a disappointing playoff exit at the hands of the Broncos, next season should provide even more of an incentive for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to make another deep postseason run. Let's take a closer look at New England's 2014 opponents and schedule highlights with predictions and analysis.
2014 New England Patriots Opponents: Home Schedule
Buffalo Bills : New England did not host the Bills until the final week of the season yet was able to beat its division opponent by two touchdowns in a game the team didn't necessarily need to win. The Patriots ended the year with a 7-2 home ATS record, including the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins : Brady had one of his worst performances of the season during a Week 8 home win over Miami. The Golden Boy threw for only 116 yards, but the team was still able to pull off a 10-point victory and cover the 6.5-point spread. Miami was 4-4 both SU and ATS.
New York Jets : During Week 2 the Jets headed into New England with their usual swagger and loud-mouth antics and managed to keep the game close while nearly pulling off a victory at the end of regulation. New York covered the 10.5-point spread and essentially shut down the Patriots high-flying offense. The Jets were 2-6 SU on the road, but they always seem to play above their normal level against the Patriots.
Denver Broncos : A Brady versus Peyton Manning matchup is always the highlight of the entire NFL schedule, and after the beatdown Denver gave New England during the playoffs, this game will be even more interesting. Last season the Patriots managed to win a thrilling Week 12 overtime game between the two and even covered the spread as one-point favorites. Hosting Denver at home, however, will still be a difficult game as the team went 6-2 on the road last season.
Oakland Raiders : The Patriots rarely lose games they are supposed to win. And facing the Raiders will probably be no exception. In 2013 Oakland had a 1-7 SU road record, but did manage to produce a solid 4-3-1 ATS record. The Raiders might have some betting value in this matchup even though they have little chance of actually pulling off the upset.
Cincinnati Bengals : New England lost a road matchup to the Bengals during Week 5 and managed to score only six points in the process. Cincinnati has not been a great road team over the last few seasons, and this game is a chance for the Patriots to avenge 2013's loss. Cincinnati ended last season with a 3-5 SU road record.
Chicago Bears : This could be a tough and interesting matchup for New England depending on when it is scheduled. The Bears are always a rollercoaster of a team and go through points where they look like Super Bowl contenders and others where they can barely snap the ball without making a mistake. The Bears were 3-5 on the road last season and ended the year a game short of making the playoffs.
Detroit Lions : The Lions were 3-5 ATS on the road last season and continue to be one of the most frustrating teams in the league-shouldn't they have put it all together by now? The team's pass offense and defense were ranked third and sixth in the NFL last year, respectively, but the team still managed to win only seven games and not make the playoffs. Detroit hit its "over" eight times last season, and a matchup with the Patriots will probably be very high-scoring.
2014 New England Patriots Opponents: Road Schedule
At Buffalo Bills : New England opened up the season with a two-point road victory over the Bills but never came close to covering the 10-point spread in its 23-21 victory. The Patriots split the ATS series 1-1 and went on to win their first four games of the year. Buffalo was surprisingly a very good home ATS team last season and earned a 6-2 ATS record. New England may not be able to cover a huge spread in this matchup.
At Miami Dolphins : Brady had a monster passing game during the team's Week 15 visit to Miami, but he could not lead the Patriots to a victory. The Dolphins won by four points and actually covered the spread during one of the few times that New England was actually an underdog in 2013. A road matchup against a decent division opponent will be another tough test for the Patriots.
At New York Jets : Rex Ryan and his squad played two close matchups against the Patriots last year and was able to get a 30-27 overtime victory at home. New York swept the ATS series in the process and was a 10- and 3.5-point underdog in both games. The Jets will have value in both of these games next season and may have even improved with the arrival of Michael Vick.
At Kansas City Chiefs : The Chiefs were the surprise team during the first half of the season and nearly made it out of the first round of the playoffs. The team's defense promises to stay at an elite level. Kansas City, however, was one of the worst home ATS teams in the NFL with a 2-6 record. Kansas City did not allow any opponent to score over 17 points until Week 12 of the 2013 season.
At San Diego Chargers : The Chargers had a 5-3 ATS record at home and finally seemed to live up to some of its potential with a playoff berth and first-round victory over the Bengals. This game is an exciting, yet very winnable matchup for the Patriots next season. San Diego was 5-3 ATS at home and lost games to Houston, Denver and Cincinnait.
At Indianapolis Colts : The Patriots essentially destroyed the Colts during last year's divisional playoff game, and they ran the ball very effectively. The game showed that Luck and the Colts still need a lot of work to do before they become true contenders. Indianapolis may look at this matchup as the highlight of its schedule and a measuring stick for success. The team was 6-3 ATS at home last year (including the playoffs) and will probably be a small favorite in this matchup.
At Green Bay Packers : For a while, this game was the dream Super Bowl matchup for many fans. The Packers struggled in 2013 and won the NFC North with an 8-7-1 record. And even if the team does not improve enough to make it a legitimate title contender, a Brady versus Aaron Rodgers matchup is always exciting football. This may be the biggest game of the year, especially if it were to happen during Week 8 or 9 with both teams still undefeated.
At Minnesota Vikings : Minnesota followed up a record-breaking year, and playoff berth, for Adrian Peterson with a 5-10 overall record. The Vikings were solid at home all year and ended with 5-3 record. New England, on the other hand, was the worst road ATS team in the NFL with a 2-7 record (including the playoffs). It would not be surprising to see Minnesota keep this matchup close and cover the spread.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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