Judging by Belichick standards, the Patriots absolutely suck after the bye.
Since 2010, the Pats are just 4-3 after a bye week.
That’s just not up to snuff for a team that regularly loses just three or four times a season.
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The conventional wisdom says that if you give Belichick an extra seven days to prepare for a team then he’ll thrive. Not quite. If anything, the Pats have been using that first game back after a bye as an opportunity to knock off the rust … and THEN go on a lengthy run the rest of the season starting the week after.
We don’t have to go back to far for evidence of this. The Pats lost their first game off the bye last season at home to Seattle, 31-24. It was the last game they would lose all season.
The Pats had a relatively easy schedule after the Seattle game last season, beating the 49ers, Jets and Rams before taking down the Ravens and Broncos.
In 2013 off a bye, the Pats played at Carolina on a Monday night and fell, 24-20.
In 2011 off a bye, the Pats actually dropped two games in a row: a 25-17 decision in Pittsburgh and a 24-20 loss at home to the Giants.
It won’t be easy for the Pats this year after the bye either. The Pats play at Denver this coming Sunday night. Even though the Broncos got absolutely annihilated Sunday at Philly, winning at Mile High is never an easy task – particularly for the Patriots.
Bye weeks can obviously come at different times in the season each year, so let’s look at it this way instead: How do the Pats fare in the final two months of the regular season – the time when Belichick says you really get a good feel of what kind of team you have - each year?
The answer here is absurdly well.
The Pats are a whopping 47-12 from November through the end of the regular season each year since 2010. Last year they went 7-1 down the stretch, in 2014 they went 6-2, in 2013 they went 6-2, in 2012 they went 7-1, in 2011 they went 8-1 and in 2010 they went 8-1. The only outlier season was 2015 when the Pats started the season 10-0 before losing at Denver, at home against Philly, at the Jets and at the Dolphins in the final two months of the year.
The Patriots’ schedule down the stretch this season is not easy: at Broncos, at Raiders in Mexico City, vs. Dolphins, at Bills, at Dolphins, at Steelers, vs. Bills and vs. Jets. Those teams have a combined record of 21-18 this season.
But the Pats still at least resemble the Pats and they’ll always be in the mix as long as Belichick is manning the No. 1 headset and No. 12 is under center. With that, there’s no reason why they can’t go 6-2 this November and December and finish with an overall record of 12-4.
A 12-4 mark should be good enough to get one of the top two seeds in the AFC and a home game in the divisional round. Given the season-ending injuries to Julian Edelman and Dont’a Hightower, and the overall lack of confidence from Pats fans right now in regard to this being a legit Super Bowl contender – everyone should sign up for 6-2 the rest of the way