Patriots are the Double Dogs

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots are underdogs when they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers, which marks the second time this year New England is the dog (Atlanta is the other). They're also projected to be the dog against Denver. Back-to-back? How rare is that?

When the Denver Broncos come to Gillette, it will mark the second consecutive week the Patriots are the underdog. The Patriots are 2.5 point underdogs this week against the Panthers and Odds-makers already have marked out the Patriots as a 2.5 point underdog to the visiting Broncos. Barring an explosion by the Patriots offense against the Panthers and their elite defense, those odds probably won't move too much.

Note that homefield advantage is worth roughly 3 points, so the Broncos are favored by almost two field goals on a neutral field, while the Patriots are actually expected to beat the Panthers on a neutral field.

In the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have been underdogs in consecutive weeks eleven times (twelve if you include the Jets game that brought Brady into this world). Six of those times were in Brady's first year as a starter (consecutive in weeks 3 through 8), and a seventh was the first two weeks of 2002. An eighth was the first two weeks of 2003, when the Patriots team was in "total disarray" and Belichick "lost the locker room" and a whole bunch of other nonsense when they were smoked 31-0 by the Bills.

I don't think many would argue that through the first two weeks of the 2003 season that the Patriots truly didn't have an identity as a power house and any odds makers going against the Patriots can be forgiven.

Since Brady became Brady, though, the Patriots have only been consecutive dogs three times.

2005: Weeks 5 @Atlanta (3-1) and Week 6 @Denver (4-1) - The Patriots (2-2 entering Atlanta) squeaked out a win by a field goal against Atlanta and lost by 8 to the Broncos.

2006: Week 16 @Jacksonville (8-6) and Week 17 @Tennessee (8-7) - I have no idea how the Patriots (10-4 entering Jacksonville) were three point dogs to both of these teams. Pats won both to finish the season 12-4.

2006 Playoffs: Divisional @San Diego (14-2) and Championship @Indianapolis (15-4) - The Patriots team most compared to this season's offense and they managed to win in San Diego and then there was the Championship game which I don't believe ever actually happened.

And that leaves the upcoming two weeks. The home game against Denver marks the first time the Patriots have been considered a consecutive dog at home since 2002 (week 1 home against Pittsburgh).

In the 18 games the Belichick/Brady games were consecutive dogs, they've posted a 13-5 record. However, that record's nothing but a thing of the past as this current team is almost entirely disconnected from the teams in 2006, with only quarterback Tom Brady, guard Logan Mankins, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski carried over (and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on the IR). There's no recent history with the Patriots playing dog.

Hopefully the Patriots can take on the Panthers in Carolina and come away with a victory before moving on to the Broncos.

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