New England Patriots First Loss of 2017: Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
If you can't feel the excitement as you read those three simple words, I am afraid you are in the wrong place. Before we prepare ourselves for another five-month rollercoaster of emotions, we must reflect on how dramatically the 2016-17 NFL season came to an end. The New England Patriots erased the largest deficit in Super Bowl history by coming back from a 28-3-hole midway through the third quarter to force overtime. From there, history was made and the Patriots captured their fifth Super Bowl title. I can still vividly hear Joe Buck's game-winning touchdown call; "Toss to White, *silence*, heeeeeeee's in! Patriots win the Super Bowl! Brady has his fifth. What a comeback!"
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And yet, despite winning their second Super Bowl in three years, the Patriots didn't rest on their laurels and decided to add a few pieces to a team that is already being talked about as one of the best Patriots teams ever. The Patriots added wide receiver Brandin Cooks to an already-explosive offense. Cooks caught 78 passes for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns last year in New Orleans and figures to be one of Brady's main weapons this year. On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots were able to lure Stephon Gilmore away from the rival Buffalo Bills. Gilmore is a shutdown corner that possess the skills to make life difficult for opposing team's No. 1 receiver.
However, no matter how the offseason plays out, the games are still played on the field, and every team, including the Patriots can lose if they give less than their absolute best effort. Our friends at Bookmaker.eu are offering odds on when the Patriots will suffer their first lost of the regular season. Here's the list.
Week 1 vs Kansas City +360
Week 2 At New Orleans Saints +600
Week 3 v Houston Texans +1200
Week 4 v Carolina Panthers +1000
Week 5 At Tampa Bay Buccaneers +450
Week 6 At New York Jets +5000
Week 7 v Atlanta Falcons +1200
Week 8 v LA Chargers +2000
Week 10 At Denver Broncos +1200
Week 11 At Oakland Raiders +1800
Week 12 v Miami Dolphins +10000
Week 13 At Buffalo Bills +5000
Week 14 At Miami Dolphins +5000
Week 15 At Pittsburgh Steelers +1500
Week 16 v Buffalo Bills +15000
Week 17 v New York Jets +25000
AFC Divisional Round +2000
AFC Conference Round +2000
Super Bowl LII +2000
Undefeated (19-0) +2500
If I was a betting man, I would put my money on either Week 2 versus the Saints, Week 4 versus the Panthers, or Week 11 versus the Raiders. Barring any injuries between now and kickoff on Sept. 7, the Patriots should take care of an uninspiring Chiefs team. The Pats are currently nine-point favorites . The Patriots have won 14 of their last 15 home openers, with their lone lose coming in 2012 courtesy the Arizona Cardinals. They also defeated the Chiefs in their 2008 home opener.
The Patriots get an early road test in Week 2 as they travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the Saints. The Saints have typically been a much better home team than road team, and they come into this year with what should be a much better defensive unit than last year's version. Brees and the Saints are one of the handful of teams league-wide who can go toe-to-toe with the Patriots on offense. If the Saints can get a few key stops and maybe force a key turnover or two, the Pats could be looking at a 1-1 start.
However, should the Patriots escape Louisiana with a 2-0 record, a Week 3 home date with the Texans should push the Patriots to 3-0. I can't envision a scenario where a Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson led team escapes Foxboro with a win.
My prediction is that the Patriots hit their first road block in Week 4 at home against the Panthers. The Panthers are coming off a dismal 2016 season, but I believe they can't possibly play as bad as they did last year. Cam Newton should be 100 percent healthy by this encounter (barring any setbacks from now until the end of September.) They added a player in Christian McCaffrey whom I believe is going to take the league by storm. They posses a solid defensive unit with Luke Kuechly and Tomas Davis leading the way. The Panthers are a methodical team that loves to run the ball and keep possession, thus keeping the opposing team's offense off the field. The longer Brady and Co. are on the sideline, the better chance you have of beating the Patriots.
If the Patriots find a way to defend home field and bring their record to 4-0, they should beat the Bucs in Tampa in Week 5 and will handle the Jets with ease in Week 6. Week 7 could be a tricky spot as they will welcome the revenge-minded Falcons to Foxboro. The Falcons' offense is in the same category as the Patriots in terms of weapons, but home-field advantage may be the deciding factor. The Falcons are usually a weak road team with the exception of last season's dominance.
The Patriots welcome the Chargers to Foxboro in Week 8, so that should be a relatively straightforward win for a potential 8-0 start. The Pats then travel to Denver after their bye week for a Week 10 showdown with the Broncos. This could be a slip up, but I doubt Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian have what it takes to beat Tom Brady. A 9-0 start would all but ensure them a playoff spot and will have them in position for another first-round bye in the postseason.
However, a Week 11 date with the Raiders in Mexico (of all places) may provide bettors with a real legitimate chance of taking the Raiders on the money line in this contest. The Pats will be playing the second game of back-to-back "road" games against a team that is coming off a bye week and has weapons on both sides of the football to make some noise. After last season's brutal ending (Derek Carr breaking his leg) and the Raiders going one-and-done in the postseason, they will be hungry to prove they can play with the best team in the league.
After Week 11, the Patriots have the Dolphins twice, the Bills twice the Jets once and the Steelers once. I'm going to assume they will have a first-round bye locked up by Week 12 or 13, so resting a few starters down the stretch would probably be the play. I don't believe the Pats will have a perfect regular season, but I have a hard time seeing them go worse than 13-3 or 14-2.
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