The New England Patriots have lost two straight games and there’s no doubt that Bill Belichick is in a very foul mood. Were that not enough, he’s got to deal with the controversial way Sunday’s game against Kansas City ended with a blown pass interference call that likely cost the Patriots the game and saw their 21 game winning streak come to an end. Making Belichick’s week all the worse is yet another phony controversy regarding videotaping. This confluence of factors could mean that the Cincinnati Bengals are in the wrong place at the wrong time as they welcome the Patriots to town on Sunday.
To hear the mainstream sports media talk about it you’d think that the Patriots’ season is swirling down the drain. They’ve had their offensive struggles to be sure but they’ve also got the best defense in the NFL. They’re 10-3 on the season and still alive for the best record in the AFC. They’ve got a +170 differential which is the second best in the NFL. There’s nothing *really* wrong with the Patriots but that hasn’t stopped the talking heads from all but burying Tom Brady and Coach Belichick. This is a perfect spot for the best team of the past decade to shut up these clueless media types, at least temporarily.
Of the many amazing stats that the Patriots have compiled during the Brady/Belichick era this might be the most amazing: New England has not lost three straight games since 2002. You can be pretty sure that this streak won’t end at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals–a team that has lost 19 of their last 21 games SU. New England off a loss has been one of the best plays in NFL betting for much of the past decade covering 71% of the time. This is a very ugly matchup for the Bengals who rank #31 in the NFL in scoring offense and who haven’t exceeded 23 points in a game all year.
The Patriots have most definitely not gone easy on the league’s bottom feeders in recent seasons. Over the past three years, New England is 14-1 SU/13-2 ATS against opponents with losing records. They’re 4-0 SU/ATS this year in that spot. The Bengals simply can’t expect to put many points on the board against the nasty New England defense and although Cincy’s defense has played better of late they’re still nothing special. The Patriots have made beating up on the dregs of the NFL a cottage industry and that will happen again here.