In Week 17, the New England Patriots suffered their worst loss of the year, falling 27-24 at home to the 5-11 Miami Dolphins. The defeat dropped the Patriots to the No. 3 seed in the AFC, forcing them to play a Wild Card game for the first time since 2009.
The odds for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl on Fanduel Sportsbook have fallen to +1200. Their odds to win the AFC sit at +600, well behind the Baltimore Ravens (-110) and Kansas City Chiefs (+185). Midway through the season, the Patriots were the clear favorite to emerge from the AFC, but that is now far from the case. While the Ravens and Chiefs have surged down the stretch, the Patriots lost three of their last five games and struggled to find a rhythm on offense.
Despite their recent issues, the Patriots are probably undervalued at +1200. Those odds offer Tom Brady and Bill Belichick just a 7.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl, which seems low considering their pedigree and talent.
The Patriots remain the No. 1 defense in the NFL, leading the league in defensive DVOA, points allowed, and total yards allowed, all by a large margin. Led by Jamie Collins, Stephon Gillmore, Jason McCourty, and Devin McCourty, the Patriots secondary is definitively the best unit in the game. Their pass defense DVOA rating is a full 11.6% better than the next-closest team.
Clearly, the issue is the Patriots' offense, which has gone completely flat over the last seven games, being held to 20 points or fewer four times and 10 points or fewer twice in that span. Tom Brady has been okay through this stretch, but it's still a downgrade over what we've come to expect throughout his storied career. His adjusted yards per attempts has dropped to 6.8, his lowest number since 2006.
Meanwhile, the Patriots' offensive line has regressed significantly from 2018, falling from No. 3 in adjusted line yards to No. 11. Injuries and suspensions have also played a role, with Julian Edelman limited due to multiple issues.
Still, it's tough to count out Brady and Belichick in the playoffs given what we've seen in their history together. They've gone 30-10 in the postseason and 12-2 since 2014.
Brady is capable of switching to a different gear in the postseason, and he could very well repeat his stellar performances from 2016, 2017, and 2018. The prospect of a No. 1 defense leading a team to the Super Bowl is not unprecedented either—in 2015-16, Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos ranked 25th in offensive DVOA, but still won the Super Bowl behind a suffocating defense.
There's no doubt the Patriots are no longer the favorites in the AFC. Their status as modest 4.5-point favorites at home against Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans reflects the market's lack of confidence. However, while the Patriots have significant roadblocks, we've seen teams with strong defenses overcome them in the playoffs before.
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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.