The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years back at the beginning of the Belichick/Brady era, but they’ve been looking for that fourth championship for some time now. Last year they came close, again, but gave up a late score and lost the Super Bowl, again to the New York Giants. This year the Pats are once again expected to contend, and with the adjustments they’ve made it’s difficult to make a case against their chances.
Last year in Review
New England started 5-1 last year, and it could have been 6-0 had it not blown that big lead at Buffalo. But the Patriots then lost back-to-back games to Pittsburgh and the Giants, and sat at 5-3 going into the second half of the season. Unfazed, they then won their last eight in a row to finish at 13-3, winning the AFC East for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons. New England then dispatched of Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs, got fortunate to avoid overtime in the AFC championship game victory over Baltimore, but lost the Super Bowl to the Giants 21-17.
The New England Patriots ranked second in the league in offense last year at 428 YPG, although only 20th in rushing at 110 YPG, moving the ball, of course, for the most part through the air.
But over on the other side of the line of scrimmage the Pats ranked 31st in defense, allowing 411 YPG. Now, while one might think a lot of that yardage was given up as New England played with big leads, and opponents had to throw in an attempt to stay in the game, the Pats also gave up 117 YPG on the ground, which ranked 17th.
Overall New England ranked 10th in total yardage at +17 YPG, but 20th in total rushing at -7 YPG and
just 26th in time-of-possession at -2:26 per game.
That’s how the Giants beat them in the Super Bowl; they outrushed the Patriots 114-83 and held the ball for 37 minutes.
Betting-wise New England went 9-7 ATS, which wasn’t bad, considering they were favored in every game but one, and are always popular with the betting public. And finally, as Patriots games averaged 53 points, fourth-most in the league, they went 11-5 on the ‘over/unders.’
Over the off-season New England lost leading rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who signed with Cincinnati; OL Matt Light retired; and DT Mark Anderson, who had 10 sacks last year, signed with rival Buffalo Bills. But the Patriots were busy in the acquisitions department. They added great depth at wide receiver by bringing back former Patriots Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gafney and adding former Bronco Brandon Lloyd, and signed RB Joseph Addai, OL Robert Gallery, CB Will Allen and LB Bobby Carpenter, among others. They then went defense with their first six picks in the draft, using the 21st overall pick to take 6-5 DE Chandler Jones and the 25th pick to nab Alabama LB Dont’a Hightower.
2012 Patriots Schedule
We’re not sure how they arranged this but New England will play the easiest schedule in the league this season, based on last year’s W/L records. The Patriots play just four games against teams that made the playoffs last year, and three of those are at home. They also get games with St. Louis, Seattle and Arizona, as the AFC East inter-conferences with the NFC West. Their toughest road game is probably at Baltimore, but looking from afar New England should be favored in at least 15 of its games.
2012 New England Patriots Betting Odds and Prediction
Bookmaker is listing the Pats as a -390 favorite to win the AFC East, and has them pegged with a wins ‘over/under’ of 12, while Bovada is offering New England at 3/1 to win the AFC and 13/2 to win the Super Bowl. That price on the division is a bit too steep for our taste, and the 3/1 to win the conference isn’t enough. But the Super Bowl odds aren’t bad. Also, considering the Patriots won 13 games last year with the 31st-ranked defense, which should be better this year, and they play a very manageable schedule, we’re not afraid of taking the ‘over’ on 12 wins.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.