Muddled numbers: Seeing opponents twice really that great for Patriots?

Bill Belichick likes seeing opponents twice in one year ... during the regular season.

The train of thought with the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era has been that the more times the coach sees an opponent in a season, the better.

In divisional play, where the Patriots see each of their AFC East opponents twice a year, the team is a highly impressive 61-21 under Belichick. They have gone a perfect 6-0 against AFC East opponents twice during the Hoodie Regime, in 2007 and in this past regular season. Familiarity breeds victory, it seems.

Of course, this was not the case in the 2010 NFL playoffs as the Jets upset the Patriots, 28-21, in the two teams’ third meeting of the season. Looking back, however, maybe on-lookers shouldn’t have been that stunned by the Jets postseason win.

The Jets split the season series with New England that season, earning a 28-14 win in New Jersey in Week 2. In that game, the Jets tricked Tom Brady into throwing a pair of interceptions and No. 12 finished with a stat line of 20-for-36, 248 yards and two touchdowns. By Brady standards, that’s a pretty mediocre afternoon.

No, the Texans haven’t set such a precedent in fooling Brady and there is little evidence to suggest that Houston will come to Foxboro and take down the rested Patriots this Sunday. There is also this – under head coach Gary Kubiak, who has been at the Texans helm since 2006, Houston is just 19-23 in division play.

The Patriots have a history of winning games with familiar opponents. Their opponents this Sunday don’t have that track record. 

If there is one “familiarity” stat the Texans can hang their hat on it is this, however: in every playoff loss in the Belichick era, the Patriots have lost to a team they saw in the regular season.


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