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Patriots on track to be playoff underdogs for first time since 2006

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

As has been the case in all of their previous regular-season and playoff games in the 2013 campaign, the Broncos are favored in next Sunday’s AFC title matchup with New England.

According to Pregame.com, multiple Nevada sports books have made the Broncos a six-point favorite against the Patriots next Sunday in Denver.

The Patriots had been favored in their previous 11 postseason games dating back to 2007, per Marc Lawrence point spread data and Saturday’s Indianapolis-New England closing line. The Pats were last underdogs in the 2006 AFC title game, when they fell 38-34 at Indianapolis as three-point underdogs.

According to Jim Feist point spread records, the Patriots have been playoff underdogs just five other times in Bill Belichick’s tenure as head coach.

Three times, the Belichick-led Pats have won outright playing the underdog’s role in the postseason.

Twelve seasons ago, they pulled off two major upsets, knocking off host Pittsburgh (-10) in the AFC title game and then beating St. Louis (-14) in Super Bowl XXXVI. The Patriots also won at San Diego (-4.5) in the 2006 divisional round.

On the other side of the ledger, the Patriots lost 27-13 at Denver (-3) in the 2005 divisional round. And the next year, they could not hold off the favored Colts’ second-half charge in the RCA Dome.

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64 Responses to “Patriots on track to be playoff underdogs for first time since 2006”
  1. kev86 says: Jan 12, 2014 8:52 PM

    Best four teams from 2013 season still alive. Should be great.

  2. truthfactory says: Jan 12, 2014 8:57 PM

    Interesting that all 3 of those improbable victories came during the spy gate era. Just saying…

  3. marima07 says: Jan 12, 2014 8:58 PM

    I bet Brady is now the 4th-best quarterback of the remaining teams.

  4. pats777 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:00 PM

    It’s been a whole year since the Pats lost by more than a touchdown. Maybe this time they’ll spot the donkeys 27 points just to mess with them.

  5. craniator says: Jan 12, 2014 9:06 PM

    I am so sick and tired of seeing this team in the conference championship game , year after year after year , but have to admit they are very , very good.
    New England , on behalf of the rest of the country , please go away.
    Pretty please ?

  6. siknutty says: Jan 12, 2014 9:11 PM

    Patriots fans are some of the most classless in sports. I love how so many of them are so confident of a pats victory. It’s going to be a great game and one of the last times we will witness a manning vs Brady matchup.. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  7. badgerbuck says: Jan 12, 2014 9:13 PM

    New England will beat Denver and win the Super Bowl. Best quarterback of the four teams left.

  8. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:15 PM

    Good, I like seeing the Pats as underdogs. They always play well in that circumstance.

  9. tb12x3 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:16 PM

    counting down the seconds until forest gump puts his own hands around his neck……

    time to fire up a blount…..after all we are playing in denver…..

  10. therooneyskilledwebster says: Jan 12, 2014 9:17 PM

    Truthhurts…thanks for clarifying your lack of football knowledge for all of us. I’m guessing cuz you’re new to the sport you weren’t aware that the greatest team of the century won 2 AFC Championships on the road in Pittsburgh. Only a dimwit would find it “improbable” that a 7 point favorite would win back to back titles.

  11. davikes says: Jan 12, 2014 9:18 PM

    Apparently the bookies had turned off the TV before the fourth quarter. The Bronco’s pass defense looked awful, and they benefited greatly from the Chargers sticking with the run too long. The Pat’s played a much more complete game Saturday than the Bronco’s did today. The line should be 3 pts for home field. And I’m a Bronco’s fan.

  12. 6ball says: Jan 12, 2014 9:18 PM

    .
    @truthfactor

    Are your Jets playing in the early or late game? Just asking…..

    .

  13. sabatimus says: Jan 12, 2014 9:19 PM

    You spygate whiners apparently stopped intellectual growth after 2007.

  14. peymax1693 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:23 PM

    Considering that Tom Brady is the only Pats player left from the Pats teams mentioned in the article, what happened in those games means exactly nothing.

  15. bullcharger says: Jan 12, 2014 9:25 PM

    siknutty says:
    Jan 12, 2014 9:11 PM
    Patriots fans are some of the most classless in sports. I love how so many of them are so confident of a pats victory. It’s going to be a great game and one of the last times we will witness a manning vs Brady matchup.. Enjoy it while it lasts.

    ———–

    I don’t think the some of the trolls who post on here are representative of all Patriots fans. see all the idiotic posts in Denver’s favour for example. Those don’t represent all Broncos fans either. Any true Patriots fan is both excited and nervous about playing the Broncos.

    It should be a good one.

    The Patriots fans aren’t classless, but stereotyping a huge group of people is.

  16. kev86 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:25 PM

    Giants have made a killing in underdog roll their past three super bowls. Denver vs. NE for AfC this year is must see football. NFC should be a slug fest.

  17. pats1stfan1 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:29 PM

    @truthfactory

    Alleged Spygate was in 2007…Troll.

  18. bullcharger says: Jan 12, 2014 9:31 PM

    marima07 says:
    Jan 12, 2014 8:58 PM
    I bet Brady is now the 4th-best quarterback of the remaining teams.

    ——

    I hope you didn’t bet your life savings.

  19. shockgee says: Jan 12, 2014 9:31 PM

    Ugh, Spygate, Spygate, Spygate. When will these mom’s basement dwelling, pencil neck geeks get over this?

    I vote for a new ‘Gate. Moron’Gate. Livinginthepast’Gate. Can’tstandthePatscausemyteamsucks’Gate. Icantthinkofanythingwittytosaysinceweek2of2007’Gate. MyNewYorkJetshadaratfinkcoach’Gate.

    (catchphrase of the month) -sayin’

  20. patriotgame says: Jan 12, 2014 9:41 PM

    I wish all the haters would try to come up some new material!!!

  21. s2mikey says: Jan 12, 2014 9:42 PM

    Actually the Tuck rule is still the worst call in the history of sports at any level. It’s the call that launched the infamous dynasty. Or whatever ya call it. Spy gate was just I icing on the cake. I think San Fran and Denver is what the world wants to see in the SB. It’s the sexiest matchup and the two best teams. Period.

  22. pats1stfan1 says: Jan 12, 2014 9:51 PM

    @ s2mikey

    Yeah, San Fran and Denver…Two clean teams that never cheated the Salary Cap!!!

  23. 7mantel says: Jan 12, 2014 9:52 PM

    Patriot fans don’t want to hear about spy gate, you can’t erase the fact that NE has not won since ! Until they win on an even field they will never get credit for winning without cheating .

  24. Deb says: Jan 12, 2014 9:53 PM

    Won’t pretend to fathom (or care) how Vegas folks set their odds. The Pats beat Denver by a FG in OT in November and overwhelmed the Colts by three touchdowns yesterday, while the Broncos won today by only a single score. Weather won’t bother either of these teams, so the oddsmakers must be giving Denver the home field advantage. That makes sense given the intensity their crowd showed today.

    But both these teams are formidable. After their performance against the Colts, it’s hard to think of the Pats as anyone’s underdog.

  25. arwiv says: Jan 12, 2014 9:54 PM

    I like the pats over the broncos and seattle over the niners…..and the seattle over he pats.

    Broncos play next week like they did today and they will lose. The most impressive team this week were the pats, followed by the seahawks and then broncos. The niners won, but the panthers obviously didn’t belong playing this week. Cam Newton is gifted, but he doesn’t appear to have the brains to be able to win against a good team when his team is down….at least not right now.

  26. j0esixpack says: Jan 12, 2014 10:00 PM

    Of course they’re underdogs.

    Something like 30% of their salary cap is on IR

    Brady counts for a big chunk of what’s left.

    A lot of so called experts forget this is the 2nd youngest team in the league and is in the middle of rebuilding and overcoming a major injury spree

    This is far from a shock.

  27. vcupats says: Jan 12, 2014 10:03 PM

    Peyton’s Broncos are 1-6 against division-winning QB’s and 26-1 against everyone else. Also 0-4 against teams 12-4 or better. Despite all of their bravado, Denver will be outside their comfort zone on Sunday.

  28. mrdownslider says: Jan 12, 2014 10:09 PM

    7mantel says: Jan 12, 2014 9:52 PM

    Patriot fans don’t want to hear about spy gate, you can’t erase the fact that NE has not won since ! Until they win on an even field they will never get credit for winning without cheating .

    =====================================

    7mantel, Pats are now playing in their 4th AFC title game and possibly 3rd Super Bowl AFTER Spygate…..How many other franchises can say that??? NONE!!!!!

    Nice try though…

  29. fearthehoody says: Jan 12, 2014 10:13 PM

    Win or lose, how scary is this Patriot haters: This is a rebuilding year for New England !

  30. micknangold says: Jan 12, 2014 10:13 PM

    Pats fans are just as obnoxious as Jets fans. (I am a Jets fan myself). It’s about 90% of why the fanbases hate each other.

    Anyways, the Broncos in a rout. Should be over by halftime.

  31. mayers59 says: Jan 12, 2014 10:13 PM

    I keep seeing people posting that the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since spygate. True. They have been to 2 and lost. Can someone find out how many teams haven’t even been there since that time?

  32. j0esixpack says: Jan 12, 2014 10:16 PM

    7mantel says: Patriot fans don’t want to hear about spy gate, you can’t erase the fact that NE has not won since !
    —————-

    Um… might want to check your facts – the Patriots have the best record in the NFL since Spygate.

    Heck – they even went 16-0 one season. That’s not exactly “proof” that they can’t win without cheating.

    But their overall record IS proof that there’s has been no better consistent team in the NFL in the free agency salary cap era than the Patriots.

    That’s what the haters can’t accept.

  33. mrdownslider says: Jan 12, 2014 10:16 PM

    Should be over by halftime?? Thats laughable. These 2 teams played about 6 weeks ago, with NE winning. But this game will be “over by halftime” ??????

    Other than your obvious bias and hatred of New England, enlighten us all to as WHY ??

  34. jmblosser82 says: Jan 12, 2014 10:20 PM

    Patriots blew out the colts, but the colts gave up 40+ points in 2 straight playoff games, they also got blown out in what 3 if the last 6 games? Chargers are a divisional foe. Division games are always tough. This will be a good game, Denver is the more complete team tho.

    In the end it doesn’t really matter, this will be a win by the NFC this year.

  35. mjl74 says: Jan 12, 2014 10:30 PM

    It’s sad, the negators commenting on here can’t simply be a fan. Enjoy watching football, with some beer, wings and such with their buddies. It’s ok, life’s in a downward spiral? no real life friends? We understand.

    Clinging on to the past because that’s when their lives peaked. It’s called in denial of what their 2014 lives have become, yep truth does hurt!

    Anyhow, the 4 deserving teams are going forward, that’s all that matters.

  36. rushbacker says: Jan 12, 2014 10:34 PM

    That spread sounds about right. These two teams have an awful lot of similarities– and one key difference.

    Both are captained by aging HOF QBs. Both have strong O-lines despite losing a good tackle to injury. NE’s stable goes deeper, but both teams can run the ball effectively. Both have questionable and injury-riddled defenses. Both teams lost their best run-stopping tackle to IR– Denver will most likely also be without their stoutest defensive end for another week. NE has backups playing at two of the three starting LB spots– Denver has a backup starting at free safety.

    The difference? NE is also without Gronkowski, and they don’t have a particularly strong group of wideouts. Including Julius Thomas, Denver has the deepest and most dynamic receiving corps in the league. At home, with vastly superior weapons for Manning to operate with, less than a TD advantage isn’t out of line.

  37. jmblosser82 says: Jan 12, 2014 10:41 PM

    mrdownslider, the steelers have been to 4 AFC title games, 3-1,and went 2-1 in the SB. The 1 loss in the AFC title game was to NE during spygate.

  38. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 12, 2014 10:45 PM

    Anyone who thinks any of the 4 remaining teams are going to have it easy is nuts. Every one of the remaining teams can beat any of the other 3 on any given day. They’re all excellent teams and the only way a blowout happens is if one of them totally loses their focus.

    I like the Pats next weekend but it will be a very tough game. I think if they can force Manning into an early INT he’ll stiffen up and make further mistakes.

  39. nesuperfan says: Jan 12, 2014 10:48 PM

    marima07 says: Jan 12, 2014 8:58 PM

    I bet Brady is now the 4th-best quarterback of the remaining teams.
    __________________________________

    I am pretty sure he was being sarcastic. Last week, a writer at The Sporting News said that Brady was the 8th best QB remaining in the playoffs. The piece was sharply criticized.

  40. tigerlilac says: Jan 12, 2014 10:56 PM

    If you love NFL football you know the fantasy leagues are what their name says they are, that stats are what Belichick says they are (for losers), and that posting to threads knocking any team is juvenile. Real NFL fans are appreciating the playoff competition (a great final four this year) while lamenting that the season is coming to a close.

  41. orangecrush823 says: Jan 12, 2014 10:58 PM

    davikes says: Jan 12, 2014 9:18 PM

    Apparently the bookies had turned off the TV before the fourth quarter. The Bronco’s pass defense looked awful, and they benefited greatly from the Chargers sticking with the run too long. The Pat’s played a much more complete game Saturday than the Bronco’s did today. The line should be 3 pts for home field. And I’m a Bronco’s fan.
    ————————————————-
    and if YOU actually watched the game you would have seen that it was Jammer who’s incompetency led to a pair of San Diego touchdowns.. Harris was out with a leg injury. As far as you being a Broncos fan..I doubt it.. If you were, you wouldn’t be fawning over the Patriots like a spoiled super model… loser..

  42. badmoonrison says: Jan 12, 2014 11:06 PM

    Ernie Adams will be burning the midnight oil til next weekend. Better break out the video tapes and NSA gear. The cheating begins!!!

  43. micknangold says: Jan 12, 2014 11:15 PM

    Lol obviously no one got the joke. I don’t think it’ll be a blowout sheesh.

  44. mrdownslider says: Jan 12, 2014 11:16 PM

    Jim Blosser…Steelers won 1 SB since spygate. and they lost a Sb also. Thats 1–1, not 2-1. Also, Pats have not played Steelers in AFc title game since Spygate. You may want to check your facts.

  45. arwiv says: Jan 12, 2014 11:22 PM

    Im a Giants fan….but I greatly respect what the pats have done for so long now, despite the spygate nonsense. BUT….despite that this may be a rebuilding year, its also a year closer to the great Brady hanging it up….which will usher in the real rebuild. Brady’s window for getting number 4 is closing.

    The oldest Qb to ever win the big one was Elway at 38…..Brady will be 37 next August.

  46. ampatsisahypocrite says: Jan 12, 2014 11:42 PM

    13 of 25 for 198 yards.

    When Tom Brady does it, bobzilla is drooling all over Belichick for coming up with a brilliant game plan that emphasizes the run.

    When Ben Roethlisberger does it, bob screams how much it shows how average a QB he is, with those kind of lame numbers.

    Time to quit claiming you’re a Steelers fan, bob. Time to strap on your Patriots red and blue, and be the guy you were always meant to be!

  47. stakex says: Jan 13, 2014 12:03 AM

    I’ll say this much… when it comes to Brady vs Manning in the big games, I would never bet against Brady. Manning has made a career out of choking in the playoffs… and the Patriots aren’t going to wait till the 4th quarter to actually go on the offensive like the Chargers did.

    Not to say I would be surprised if Denver won next week, but I definitely wouldn’t put money on it.

  48. therooneyskilledwebster says: Jan 13, 2014 12:37 AM

    Orange Crushed was more like it…Craig Morton then Norris Weese. I guess you never watched that game. I actually rooted for Denver as they beat the hated Raiders but were then Crushed by Doomsday.

  49. kanemoney says: Jan 13, 2014 1:20 AM

    The comments and reaction to the comments are overwhelmingly pro-Patriots. I am really surprised by this. While the Pats are a fantastic team, they are also easy to hate and have been good for a long time.

    I personally like parity in sports, which is why I strongly prefer the NFL over the NBA. I am so sick of Tom Brady segments on ‘Best QB ever?” that I endure every AFC championship game it seems.

    Also, while I appreciate that Spygate was many years ago, they did win each of the Superbowls in question by 3 points. So perhaps it’s the aura of dominance that offends me.

  50. pypersrealm says: Jan 13, 2014 2:27 AM

    Some football fans are so ugly to one another.

    Looking forward to the Conf. Championships. We couldn’t have a better quartet of teams. These are the best four teams in the league so hopefully we’ll see some great football.

    Seattle has DOMINATED San Fran at home recently but my gut thinks this one will be different. I can see either team winning it.

    I feel like my Pats should be resounding underdogs but I love the heart and mental toughness of this team. We’ve got a bunch of young guys and gritty veterans. Having said that, a victory here seems improbable. So many injuries and our passing game is still out of sync. I was hoping Dobson and Thompkins would get healthy and pick up the slack after Gronk’s injury but that hasn’t happened. Not sure we can beat the Broncos with the running game alone. We’re going to need to play our best game of the year to win. Hopefully we do. Either way, I LOVE MY TEAM!!! GO PATS!!!

  51. flash1283 says: Jan 13, 2014 4:29 AM

    Denver’s D sucks a$$!!
    Check out Brady’s numbers vs a Jack Del Rio D.

    8-0 over 1700 yards 18TD 0 int. qb rating of 117. This includes this season.

  52. dynastyposeiden says: Jan 13, 2014 6:54 AM

    for everyone who is tooting belichick’s horn just think if he could draft well …..
    awesome coach but a proven horrible drafter especially since scott pioli left town

  53. therealtruth210 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:04 AM

    j0esixpack says:
    Jan 12, 2014 10:16 PM

    7mantel says: Patriot fans don’t want to hear about spy gate, you can’t erase the fact that NE has not won since !
    —————-

    Um… might want to check your facts – the Patriots have the best record in the NFL since Spygate.

    Heck – they even went 16-0 one season. That’s not exactly “proof” that they can’t win without cheating.

    But their overall record IS proof that there’s has been no better consistent team in the NFL in the free agency salary cap era than the Patriots.

    That’s what the haters can’t accept.

    _______________________________

    UM…might want to check your facts…ZERO SUPER BOWLS SINCE SPYGATE

  54. patriottony says: Jan 13, 2014 7:11 AM

    ughhhhh are you all really that obtuse? (LOOK IT UP)

    BB will assign J Collins to Thomas,,since he (collines) is super fast, tall and young,,,problem sovled….(3 catches max)

    He will assign TALIB to Decker as an even matchup…problem solved (4-5 cacthes)

    He will double welker with the remaining 2 guys….Problem solved

    On Offense,,,Denvers weak backside LB/Corners,,BB will use both run and screens to get past DL,,,,,very few passes to Thompkins/Edleman,,,Danny etc.

    Brady will be…16 of 22 for 200 Rushing: 188

    Score: PATS 32- Denver 17

    BTW….where else in the NFL do you have a HOF QB holding for a kicker???? NEXT MAN UP!!!!!

  55. superpatsfan3 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:12 AM

    Something I would’ve never said post 2004….I actually like the match-ups of our DB’s vs. their WR’s. The Pats secondary isn’t perfect by any stretch..but it’s pretty good. Talib/D. Thomas, Ryan/Decker, Collins/J. Thomas, Dennard/Welker…that’s not too bad. IF the DL and inside backers can limit the inside running of Denver I like our chances.

  56. richwizl says: Jan 13, 2014 8:05 AM

    This should be a very close game between the two best teams in the AFC. These Brady/Manning collisions are the ones people will be talking about for years to come; like Bird/Johnson in the NBA. Home field gives Denver the edge, but the Patriots will remain focused on the task at hand and won’t get rattled. I expect the game may be decided by one mistake, just as in their last meeting. I relish seeing a championship game being played between the two rivals who played the very first game in the old AFL, very cool. Go New England!

  57. xamadeix says: Jan 13, 2014 8:58 AM

    I’m a pats fan and I’m shocked they made it this far with there given roster.. so many key injuries on both sides of the ball, you gotta give this team some props. Of course I’m gonna pick the pats to win but it isnt going to be a cake walk. Either way win or lose it was a great season considering who they have left on the field playing for them.

  58. Chuck Norris says: Jan 13, 2014 9:13 AM

    Why does everyone just expect Denver to pound New England? When they played in November, New England spotted Denver 17, and then they decided to play. And spent the next 3 quarters crushing the Broncos. You take the first quarter out of that game, and New England dominated the Broncos. We havent seen “Forsburgler” since, lol…

    Is this going to be a different game? Absolutely. Am I predicting a Pats win? No. I am just saying that all of the fan “analysis” that I am reading eludes to the Broncos being a class A team, and the Patriots being a B team and the inevitable beat down is coming. I just dont see that from either side

    As far as Seahawks and 49ers, based on this past weekends games, the Hawks dont have a chance. But we all know that you cant base it on that. If Wilson has another 85 yard performance it is going to be another miserable off season for Seattle. Both defenses are great, so it will come down to the offense, and the 49ers offense just handled a very good Panthers defense. And the Seahawks offense just barely did enough to beat a mediocre Saints defense

  59. xamadeix says: Jan 13, 2014 11:01 AM

    ^ I like everything you have to say but Seattle defense is far better than Panthers.. This could easily be a low scoring game. I like seattle over 49ers though.

  60. jmblosser82 says: Jan 13, 2014 11:11 AM

    mrdownslider, I said the loss to the Pats in the AFC title game was during spygate. I’ll rephrase and say the steelers were 3-1 in AFC title games and 2-1 in the SB during and after spygate. The point I was making was the steelers had a similar run to the pats during spygate.

  61. brazzz01 says: Jan 13, 2014 12:01 PM

    Also, while I appreciate that Spygate was many years ago, they did win each of the Superbowls in question by 3 points.

    —-

    They got some breaks in those Super Bowl runs. Tuck rule, Kasay kickoff out of bounds and so on.

    Their last two runs to a SB appearance, the other team got the breaks. Helmet catch, safety, Welker drop, dropped INT, and so on.

    By law of averages when you get the breaks to win close SB’s, you’re due not to get them to lose close ones.

  62. brazzz01 says: Jan 13, 2014 12:05 PM

    Anyways, the Broncos in a rout. Should be over by halftime.


    The Patriots have been routed one time (Browns) in the past 4 seasons. Manning has routed the Pats once (2005) in his entire career.

    So I would say it’s a reasonable presumption based on facts and track record as opposed to wishful thinking, that this game won’t be over by halftime.

  63. brazzz01 says: Jan 13, 2014 12:08 PM

    Im a Giants fan….but I greatly respect what the pats have done for so long now, despite the spygate nonsense. BUT….despite that this may be a rebuilding year, its also a year closer to the great Brady hanging it up….which will usher in the real rebuild. Brady’s window for getting number 4 is closing.

    The oldest Qb to ever win the big one was Elway at 38…..Brady will be 37 next August.

    ———–
    Maybe the key to extending Brady’s career and winning another ring will be… a running game. Just like it was for Elway….

  64. brazzz01 says: Jan 13, 2014 2:27 PM

    Actually the Tuck rule is still the worst call in the history of sports at any level

    —-
    Nope

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