February 01, 2018
Yes, Tom Brady is still the quarterback of the New England Patriots. Yes, Bill Belichick is still the head coach. Yes, Rob Gronkowski is still a behemoth to have to deal with (assuming he makes it through the concussion protocol in time for Sunday). And yes, the Pats, like the Eagles, are 15-3.
Still, this is a flawed team, and not as good as many of the Patriots teams of the Tom Brady era. Out of curiosity, I took a look back at FootballOutsiders.com's DVOA ratings going all the way back to 2001, the beginning of the Brady era, omitting 2008, the season Brady was lost for the season with an injury.
To note, the short, short version of DVOA: "DVOA measures a team's efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent." The higher the number, overall, on offense, and on special teams, the better. The lower the number on defense, the better. Got it? OK, good. Here's what I found:
|Special teams DVOA||3.9||6.9||0.9||0.2||2|
|Special teams DVOA||2.6||2.9||1.2||4.1||3.7|
|Special teams DVOA||5.5||6.7||5.5||3.9||2.7|
The Patriots' DVOA in 2017 is here, ranked in comparison to the 16 seasons of the Brady era.
|Special teams DVOA||6.3||3|
Translation: According to DVOA, it's the eighth- or ninth-best Patriots team in the Brady era. The offense compares favorably but is not the super-elite unit that it was in other years.
On the other side of the ball, this is one of the worst Pats defenses in the Brady era, and we believe that the Eagles' offense matches up very favorably in some key areas:
The Patriots' 5.5-point spread in their favor is more about their mystique than their current talent. This Eagles team is better, I think they know it, and they're not intimidated in the slightest. They're better in the trenches, they're far better on defense, and these two offenses, on the whole, really aren't that far apart.
The Eagles are going to win this game, fly home, and ride down Broad Street. Plan accordingly.
Eagles 29, Patriots 24.
• Picks against the spread: Eagles (+5.5).
• Eagles picks: 14-4
• 2017 season, straight up: 180-86 (0.677)
• 2017 season, ATS: 35-32-2 (0.522)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 2016 season, ATS: 41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)
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