Heading in to tonight’s game against the unbeaten, defending champion Kansas City Chiefs without our star quarterback may feel like an inevitable loss for the Patriots, but don’t go bet the farm on it. Actually it would be safe to avoid the situation altogether. When it comes to conjuring up major upsets, Bill Belichick is the master. The Patriots are a perfect 4-0 while being underdogs by 10 or more points during the Belichick era.
Of course it has been almost 20 years since the Patriots were in this situation. It all began in Tom Brady’s first start at home against Indianapolis. I remember that day all too well, as my roommates and I were recovering from a keg party we had the previous night when a friend came by to offer us free tickets to the game. It was a perfect 78 degree day, but not feeling up to the task, and expecting the 0-2 Patriots to get blown out with their new no-name quarterback against a mighty Colts team lead by Peyton Manning, we elected to watch the game at home. Of course we will regret passing up that opportunity for the rest of our lives, but it left us all a great story. The Patriots went on to smoke the Colts in a 44-13 blowout, and kicked off the legend of Tom Brady.
Of course many saw that as an abberation , and the Patriots would be heavy underdogs once again a few weeks later at Indy, but the Patriots once again handed the Colts their ass in a 38-17 win.
From that point the Patriots surged and made believers out of everyone in New England, but outside of the area nobody was buying into the teams chances of going all the way. The Patriots Cinderella season was supposed to strike midnight in Pittsburgh during the AFC Championship. An injury to Tom Brady did not help the cause, but Drew Bledsoe rose to the occasion and marched the Patriots to a 24-17 victory , and into a matchup in the Super Bowl against the greatest show on turf.
The Patriots 20-17 win over the Rams in Superbowl XXXVI in 2001 was the last time the Patriots found themselves as heavy underdogs prior to tonight. A lot of that had to do with Tom Brady, but he was far from the fully developed GOAT at that time. The Patriots are clearly in for their toughest challenge in decades, but history tends to repeat itself, and it is never safe to bet against Belichick.
The Patriots are currently 10.5-point underdogs for tonight's game vs. KC.
Per @pfref, NE has only been a 10-point dog in four games during the Belichick era. The Patriots won all four.
STL, SBXXVI (+14.0)
PIT, AFCCG '01 (+10.0)
IND, Wk 6 '01 (+10.5)
IND, Wk 3 '01 (+11.5)
— Tucker Boynton (@Tucker_TnL) October 5, 2020