Congratulations, you, like the rest of the world, think the New England Patriots are a very good football team. Bill Belichick is a machine. Tom Brady seems like he could go on forever. They just keep turning over the roster and adding talent, and they were able to make improvements this offseason to a team that won it all last year.
Meanwhile, the Over/Under is at 12.5 wins for the New England Patriots. Like Belichick taking candy from whomever is coaching the Buffalo Bills.
So here’s my best Lee Corso impersonation–Not So Fast. Here are some things to consider in regard to the Patriots win total, offered merely as things to weigh for entertainment purposes.
Yeah, this is boring. But, betting the Don’t Pass Line and taking into account that we don’t know everything is a decent strategy when it comes to predicting the future. NFL teams have a hard time duplicating extreme successes, even a team as consistently great as New England.
Over the last 20 years, 19 teams have reached a Super Bowl while winning at least 13 games in the regular season. These would be teams that are generally heavy favorites the next year, and occupy among the top slots in projected win totals.
They averaged 9.7 wins the next year. Over two-thirds (13) made the postseason, but only three out of the 19 won at least 13 games again.
Which brings me to …
12.5 IS A HUGE NUMBER, AND THAT HALF WIN IS HUGE
The Patriots, we can all agree, have been the most consistent and dominant team in the NFL since 2001, winning five titles, appearing in seven Super Bowls, and making the playoffs all but two seasons.
They have exceeded 12.5 wins in six of those 15 seasons, and four of the last 10. It’s a tough number. A 12-4 record doesn’t cover, and that has been the most common record for Belichick. A 12-4 record can often get you a first round bye, and sometimes the #1 seed, but it isn’t good enough to cover that total.
And while you can question the schedule, they draw the AFC West and NFC South, plus Pittsburgh and Houston, this year, and neither of those divisions appears to have a patsy (in contrast, they got the Browns, 49ers, and Rams in non-division play a year ago).
TOM BRADY APPEARS TO BE GOOD FOR A LONG TIME, BUT HISTORY SAYS YOU NEVER KNOW
Older star quarterbacks can stay effective longer, and Brady wants to play until his mid-40’s. The three best quarterbacks (in terms of team success and overall numbers) after age 37 have been Brady, Brett Favre in 2009, and Peyton Manning in 2014. Do you remember how quickly Manning and Favre went from all-pro to looking washed up just a year later?
You cannot predict a Brady decline, but the chance of things like that happening (after all, stuff happens), or injuries causing issues, are baked into the lines.