AFC Champs Favored To Defend SB Title
The dynasty in the American Football Conference continues. As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are a part of this franchise, then the New England Patriots are likely to threaten for the AFC Championship.
The Patriots (15-3) defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, earning a second straight trip to the Super Bowl. The legendary coach and his star QB have gained a spot in the AFC Championship game for seven straight seasons, winning four of them.
The Patriots now have two weeks to prepare for the Eagles (15-3) in Super Bowl LII, which will be played indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 4 in Minneapolis. The defending champions are favored by 5.5 points to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy and tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most titles ever (odds provided by topbet.eu). It’s the biggest point spread for the big game in eight years.
These two teams met once before in the league final in Super Bowl XXXIV in Jacksonville. The Patriots won their third title at the time 24-21. Brady, with stitches in his right passing hand, threw two touchdown passes in the last nine minutes of Sunday’s conference championship, both to Danny Amendola, as the Patriots scored the game’s final 14 points to rally past the Jaguars (12-7), who led 14-10 at halftime.
The Patriots never had the lead in the game until Amendola caught a four-yard TD pass with 2:48 left in the game. New England’s best receiver, Rob Gronkowski, was knocked out of the AFC final in the first half with a concussion.
Brady completed the game 26-for-38 for 290 yards. He was sacked three times. Brandin Cooks finished with six catches for 100 yards, while Amendola had seven receptions for 84 yards. As usual, Brady chose to spread the ball around with seven players having at least one reception. The victory gave the Patriots an all-time playoff record of 33-19.
New England has been favored by 5.5 points or more in the Super Bowl three times. They won two of those games but were 0-3 against the spread.
- Super Bowl XXXVIII at Houston: New England (-7) over Carolina 32-29
- Super Bowl XXXIX at Jacksonville: New England (-7) over Philadelphia 24-21
- Super Bowl XLII at Glendale, Ariz.: New York Giants over New England (-12) 17-14
So, what does a dynasty look like? Since Belichick was hired as the team’s head coach in 2000, the Patriots have finished first or second in the AFC East every year except his first season. They have won 14 division titles and have a regular season record of 201-71 (.739 win percentage).
Belichick has won seven AFC championships as a head coach. Brady has been the quarterback for those seven teams — an NFL record. Tack on all those Super Bowl rings, and these two may go down as the greatest coach and quarterback of all time.
In the last 10 Super Bowls, the AFC has been favored six times with one pick ‘em game. The conference is 4-6 against the spread (ATS) in those finals.
This is New England’s 10th trip to the Super Bowl. They are 5-4 straight up in those games and 3-5-1 ATS. But they have covered in their last two victories.
The Patriots have been as much as a 12-point favorite in Super Bowl XLII where they lost to the New York Giants 17-14. And they have been a 14-point underdog twice in Super Bowl XXI where they lost to the Green Bay Packers 35-21 and Super Bowl XXXVI where they beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17.
So far this season, New England is 12-6 ATS and 6-2 on the road.