Give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for an opponent and he’ll devise a game plan that will confuse most quarterbacks.
The Patriots are 12-5 after a bye week under Belichick. But we’re guessing the coach didn’t need two weeks to come up with a winning formula against Brock Osweiler and the reeling Broncos.
Osweiler filled in for Peyton Manning as Denver’s quarterback in a 30-24 overtime win over the Patriots in 2015. But that was then, and this is now.
New England beat the Broncos 16-3 in Denver last season, when it also shut down Osweiler in two wins over the Houston Texans.
The Broncos have lost four straight games by an average margin of 32-13, as their worn-out defense has descended into a tie with the Buccaneers for 25th in the NFL in scoring defense at 24.8 points per game.
The Patriots appeared to have fixed their early-season issues on defense, winning four straight while allowing fewer than 13 points per game and holding Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers in check along the way.
Osweiler, who was discarded by the Browns earlier this season, replaced Trevor Siemian as Denver’s starter in a 51-23 loss at Philadelphia. He completed 19 of 38 passes for 208 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Tom Brady is still playing at an elite level at age 40, throwing 16 TDs and two interceptions for New England while averaging 318 passing yards.
The Patriots have won 11 straight road games, are 8-2 against the spread in their past 10 games as road favorites and have covered six of their past nine meetings against the Broncos.
We’re backing well-rested New England as a 7½-point favorite over Denver and also recommend putting the Patriots in any teaser.
Four more plays for Week 10 (home team in CAPS):
JAGUARS (-4½) over Chargers: Jacksonville leads the league in scoring defense (14.6 ppg), passing defense (156.0 ypg) and sacks (35). Leonard Fournette returns to anchor the NFL’s top rushing attack, and quarterback Blake Bortles has taken much better care of the ball, throwing eight TDs and three interceptions in his past six games. The Jaguars are tied for eighth in the NFL in scoring with 25.8 points per game, and Los Angeles averages 18.8 a game.
LIONS (-11) over Browns: Fading Cleveland has been a profitable venture, as it’s 2-6 ATS this season and 6-18 ATS overall under coach Hue Jackson. The Browns, on a 3-12-1 ATS slide on the road, might be better off with Tito Jackson running the show. Cleveland has thrown a league-high 17 interceptions. Detroit’s defense is among the league leaders in takeaways, and quarterback Matthew Stafford (14 TDs, four interceptions) should pick apart the Browns’ suspect secondary, which has allowed 16 TD passes.
BILLS (+3) over Saints: Buffalo and the Eagles are the NFL’s only teams unbeaten at home. The Bills are coming off an ugly 34-21 loss to the Jets, but have had three extra days of rest to incorporate new wideout Kelvin Benjamin into the offense.
Packers (+5½) over BEARS: Backup quarterback Brett Hundley and Green Bay have struggled without Aaron Rodgers. But Chicago shouldn’t be laying 5½ points, an overadjustment based on the Packers’ performance in Monday night’s 30-17 loss to the Lions. The Bears opened as 3-point favorites.
Last week: 2-3 against the spread