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Early odds have Patriots as the favorite in half of their 2020 regular season games

Related: AFC East Report: Bills already talking about taking over the division from the Patriots

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have been a safe bet to win 10+ games every year since Tom Brady took over as their starting quarterback in 2001. With the future Hall of Famer headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a new passer taking over, however, the team’s outlook has changed — at least according to the oddsmakers: recently released a list of game-for-game odds, and it has the Patriots favored in eight of their 16 games.

The breakdown looks as follows:

AFC East games

Bills at Patriots -1.5

Patriots at Bills -3

Dolphins at Patriots -7.5

Patriots at Dolphins +2.5

Patriots at Jets +1.5

Jets at Patriots -7

Despite Tom Brady and a career win percentage against the AFC East of .791 (87-22) leaving town, the Patriots are favored in five of their six divisional games in 2020: only the road contest in Buffalo is currently seen as a favorable matchup for New England’s opponent. The other games, meanwhile, currently have the 11-time reigning AFC East champions as the favorites — including the rematch against the Bills at Gillette Stadium.

That said, the Patriots still have only the second best cumulative odds: Buffalo is favored in 11 of its regular season games in 2020. This is largely due to the fact that the Bills will have to play a second-place schedule against the other teams in the AFC, whereas New England will play the proverbial cream of the crop:

AFC games

Patriots at Texans -1

Patriots at Chiefs -8.5

Patriots at Chargers PK

Broncos at Patriots -5

Raiders at Patriots -6

Ravens at Patriots +3

The Patriots are favored in their two home games against AFC West opponents, while their trip to Los Angeles is seen as a toss-up. The games against the three other division winners from a year ago, however, are all predicted to end in disappointing fashion for New England: the Patriots are 8.5-point underdogs against the reigning world champion Chiefs, and are also projected to drop their home game against the Ravens and the road contest in Houston.

NFC West games

Patriots at Rams -3

Patriots at Seahawks -4

Cardinals at Patriots -5.5

49ers at Patriots +2

The NFC West is among the more competitive divisions in the NFL, and the Patriots will have to go up against it in 2020. This means not only playing the reigning NFC champions — the 49ers — but also having to travel to Seattle and Los Angeles. All three of those games are marked down as potential losses for New England, with only the home game against the Cardinals projected to end in victory.

If we add it up, we can see that New England is favored in eight of its games, with one being a toss-up and seven projected as losses. Given the uncertain state at the quarterback position and a comparatively inactive free agency period — in large parts due to a challenging salary cap situation — this projection seems fair at this point in time. That said, a lot can and will change between now and the start of the regular season.