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Analyzing the Patriots' Past Bye Weeks

New England's 2015 bye will come rather early. It's not the first time, though.

2014's week 4 debacle can't repeat itself in 2015.
2014's week 4 debacle can't repeat itself in 2015.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the NFL has released its 2015 schedule, we know all the important dates for the New England Patriots: prime time games, divisional match ups, Brady vs. Manning XVII and so on. We also know that the team will have its bye on the earliest possible weekend next season – in week 4.

The Patriots have been blessed with favorable byes the last couple of years. It should therefore come as no surprise that their 2015 off-week is scheduled early. It had to happen sometime. Obviously, an early bye is less than ideal but it does not necessarily mean that the team's chances to repeat as world champions took that big of a hit. Just look at the 2004 season.


Bye: Week 9
Next Game: Loss (13-16, Buffalo Bills)
Post-Bye: The Patriots had a favorable bye week in 2000 but still lost five of their last eight games to finish the 2000 season 5-11 and out of the playoffs.


Bye: Week 16
Next Game: Win (38-6, at Carolina Panthers)
Post-Bye: In one of the strangest scheduling occurrences of the last years, the Patriots had their bye in week 16, followed by a game in Carolina, only to be followed by their first round playoff-bye. The team headed into the postseason rested, and went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.


Bye: Week 7
Next Game: Loss (16-24, Denver Broncos)
Post-Bye: Coming off a three-game losing streak, the Patriots' week 7 bye came at the right time. After losing the first post-bye game, the Patriots rebounded a little and won six of their final nine contests to finish 9-7 but unable to enter the playoffs on a tiebreaker.


Bye: Week 10
Next Game: Win (12-0, Dallas Cowboys)
Post-Bye: Prior to the bye, the Patriots have won five consecutive games. After the bye, the winning-streak would continue as the team would not lose again until week 8 of the following season – including a victory in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Just like in 2003, the 2015 Patriots – coming off their bye – will face the Dallas Cowboys.


Bye: Week 3
Next Game: Win (31-17, at Buffalo Bills)
Post-Bye: New England won 10 out of 12 games after the early week 3 bye – with losses in week 8 (in Pittsburgh) and week 9 (in Miami) as the only blemishes. The team ended 2004 with a 14-2 record, a first-round playoff-bye and a Super Bowl-win.


Bye: Week 7
Next Game: Win (21-16, Buffalo Bills)
Post-Bye: Entering their week 7 bye, New England had a 3-3 record. The team hit its stride after its off-week to win seven of their last 10 contests to finish at 10-6. The Patriots eventually won their Wild Card playoff game but lost in the Divisional Round.


Bye: Week 6
Next Game: Win (28-6, at Buffalo Bills)
Post-Bye: The 5-1 Patriots had their bye week a little early but that did not seem to bother them: the team went on to win eight of its final 11 games and end the regular season with a 12-4 record. New England played three more games this season; the last one a 35-38 loss in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts.


Bye: Week 10
Next Game: Win (56-10, at Buffalo Bills)
Post-Bye: For the fourth consecutive year, the Patriots and the Bills squared off after New England's bye week. And for the fourth consecutive year, the Patriots won – just like every other regular season game before and after the week 10 bye. New England went 16-0, earned another bye in the playoffs but eventually lost Super Bowl XLII.


Bye: Week 4
Next Game: Win (30-21, at San Francisco 49ers)
Post-Bye: Led by Matt Cassel, New England entered its early bye at 2-1. The team followed its bye with a two-game trip to the West Coast (going 1-1) before winning eight of the final 11 games. Due to tiebreakers, however, the 11-5 Patriots were unable to reach the playoffs.

2008 marks the last time that the Patriots had a bye as early as in 2015. The 2008 squad had two road games (in San Francisco, in San Diego) post-bye, just like the 2015 one (in Dallas, in Indianapolis).


Bye: Week 8
Next Game: Win (27-17, Miami Dolphins)
Post-Bye: New England had a well placed bye in 2009 but could not take advantage of it. The Patriots went 5-4 afterwards (to finish the year 10-6) before losing in the Wild Card playoff round.


Bye: Week 5
Next Game: Win (23-20, Baltimore Ravens)
Post-Bye: The Patriots had another early bye in 2010. It did not seem to bother the team: New England won 11 of 12 post-bye contests and, with a 14-2 record, earned another bye in the first playoff-round. However, the Patriots would go one-and-done in the postseason.


Bye: Week 7
Next Game: Loss (17-25, at Pittsburgh Steelers)
Post-Bye: In 2011, New England's string of eight consecutive post-bye wins came to an end as the team lost its first two games after the off-week. However, the Patriots would not lose again – until Super Bowl XLVI.


Bye: Week 9
Next Game: Win (37-31, Buffalo Bills)
Post-Bye: Coming off a road-trip to London, the 5-3 Patriots earned their week 9 bye. After the bye, they only lost two more times in 2012: in week 15 and in the AFC Championship Game.


Bye: Week 10
Next Game: Loss (20-24, at Carolina Panthers)
Post-Bye: The 7-2 Patriots traveled to Charlotte after their bye week to lose on a controversial last-second interception. It marked one of two post-bye losses for the 2013 Patriots, who – after another first-round playoff-bye – would advance to, and eventually lose, the AFC Championship Game


Bye: Week 10
Next Game: Win (42-20, at Indianapolis Colts)
Post-Bye: Just like the year before, the Patriots entered their bye at 7-2. They would however win their first post-bye game and go 5-2 after the off-week. New England earned its fifth consecutive first-round playoff-bye and went on to win Super Bowl XLIX.


Bye Week Quantity
Week 3 1
Week 4 2 (including 2015)
Week 5 1
Week 6 1
Week 7 3
Week 8 1
Week 9 2
Week 10 4
Week 16 1


Looking at the past, New England has had some fortunately scheduled bye weeks as 2015 will only be the third time that the Patriots have their bye week as early (or earlier) as week 4. The team made the best out of the early bye in 2004 – repeating as world champions – but struggled without Tom Brady in 2008.

2015 also marks the third year in a row that the Patriots have to travel after their bye week. Overall, they have had to go on the road eight times post-bye (compared to seven home games) – next season will be away-game number nine.

Furthermore, the Patriots will play their sixth (and third consecutive) post-bye prime time game in 2015.