The Patriots’ dynasty has been prematurely declared dead several times, most notably after two regular-season losses to the Chiefs.
New England was whipped 41-14 at Kansas City on “Monday Night Football” in 2014, when Bill Belichick repeated afterward that “We’re on to Cincinnati.” The Patriots went on to beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl that season.
Many pundits also buried New England last year after it was soundly defeated at home 42-27 by the Chiefs in the season opener. The Patriots went on to win the AFC championship.
New England got off to a rough start this season as well before bouncing back with two dominant home wins over the Dolphins and Colts.
Now the Patriots have a revenge game against the high-flying Chiefs in the NFL’s marquee matchup on “Sunday Night Football.” New England was a 7-point favorite over Kansas City before the season started in games of the year posted at the Westgate sports book.
However, after the Chiefs won and covered their first five games, the Patriots are laying only 3½ points at home — where they’re 3-0 ATS this season and have covered nine of their last 10 games as favorites of 7 or less.
There are countless other stats that support a play on New England, which we’ll buy at a bargain price.
According to CBS Sports, since 2001 the Patriots are 31-1 at home against first- and second-year quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes is lighting up the league in his second season, first as a starter, with 1,513 yards passing and 14 touchdown passes. But he has only one TD pass in his last two games and threw his first two interceptions of the season in last week’s win over the Jaguars.
New England coach Bill Belichick has had extra time to prepare for this game and will no doubt design some schemes that will test Mahomes.
On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady should carve up a Chiefs defense that ranks last in total defense (461.8 yards per game) and next-to-last in passing defense (343 ypg).
Brady has his go-to guy back in receiver Julian Edelman, threw his first TD pass to Josh Gordon last time out and has seen rookie running back Sony Michel rush for 210 yards and two TDs the past two weeks. And we haven’t even mentioned Rob Gronkowski and James White.
We’re on to the rest of the picks.
Four more plays (home team in CAPS):
Jaguars (-3) over COWBOYS: Dallas has one of the league’s worst offenses and Jacksonville has the best defense. The Jaguars will be focused for this one after their embarrassing 30-14 loss at Kansas City in which Blake Bortles threw four interceptions. “Sacksonville” should feast on Dak Prescott after keeping Mahomes in check. The Cowboys are 0-7 ATS after an overtime game and have covered only three of their last 10 games as a home underdog.
FALCONS (-3) over Buccaneers: Atlanta is finally facing a defense as bad as its own. Tampa Bay is last in scoring defense (34.8 ppg) and allowing opposing QBs to complete 77.1 percent of their passes. At 1-4, the Falcons are desperate for a win and should get one here at home while laying a short price. The favorite has won 28 of the last 34 meetings while going 23-11 ATS.
Seahawks (-2.5) over Raiders: Seattle almost dealt the Rams their first loss in last week’s 33-31 defeat. The Seahawks will have the best player on the field at Wembley Stadium in QB Russell Wilson, who should have plenty of time to pick apart a porous Oakland defense. Since international NFL play started in 2007, the favorite is 15-5-1 straight up and 13-8 ATS.
DOLPHINS (+3.5) over Bears: Home underdogs are 16-7 ATS this season and Miami is on a 6-2-1 cover streak as a home underdog. This line is an overreaction to the Bears winning three straight games and coming off a bye after a 48-10 blowout of the Bucs. It’s also a bit of an overreaction to the Dolphins losing their last two games after a 3-0 start. But Miami led Cincinnati 17-0 last week before allowing 27 unanswered points, including two defensive TDs.
Last week: 2-2-1 against the spread.