There is an expectation that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be untouchable in a post-bye week game, but their record against the spread in recent instances might suggest otherwise.
The Patriots are 7.5-point betting favorites against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks with a 49-point total in the Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. New England, due to road games and their bye week, is playing at Gillette Stadium for the first time in four weeks.
The OddsShark NFL Database points out the Patriots are 19-0 straight-up in their last 19 home games after consecutive road games. Interestingly enough, since 2009 New England is 5-2 SU and 2-4-1 against the spread in games following a bye week.
The Patriots are 7-1 SU and ATS, with the lone loss occurring when No. 3 QB Jacoby Brissett was starting during Brady’s Deflategate suspension. Brady, whose team is 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS over their last 10 November home games, should have all hands on deck in the passing phase as slot WR Julian Edelman (foot) and TE Martellus Bennett (ankle) wait for minor ailments to heal.
Seahawks CB Richard Sherman will take away some routes from Brady, but that could leave openings for TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan. The Patriots might have some success going after Seahawks CB Jeremy Lane, who had a short week to get over a rough outing against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9.
The Seahawks defense, with DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett leading the front line, are tougher against the run than against the pass. New England mainly uses RB LeGarrette Blount to try to tire out opposing defenders and slow up the pass rush.
The Seahawks, at 5-2-1 SU and 3-4-1 ATS, are in good position to regain the NFC West title, but this is their biggest test of the season. Wilson, with a great deal of help from WR Doug Baldwin and TE Jimmy Graham, has kept Seattle’s offense functional even though they are third-last in the NFL in rushing.
Being one-dimensional against the Patriots, whose only loss came against the Buffalo Bills (who lead the NFL in yards per rush), is hardly a winning strategy.
New England, with a solid secondary led by FS Devin McCourty and CB Malcolm Butler, emphasizes preventing the deep pass. Wilson, who’s facing a tepid pass rush which has only 13 sacks, should be able to make his progressions and complete underneath routes.
Seattle, which has not been this big of an underdog on the NFL betting lines since 2012, barely ran the ball against Buffalo even though they led throughout the game. They will need some output from RB Christine Michael, since three-and-out possessions against the Patriots are a killer.
The total has gone under in six of the Seahawks’ last eight road games. The total has gone over in five of the Patriots’ last seven home games.