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Handicapping New England (11.5)
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Is 2108 the season that the New England Patriots finally slip back to the pack, or will it be yet another dominating year?

The Patriots have won 12 or more games in each of the last eight seasons and oddsmakers believe New England has a good chance to win that many games in 2018, as they set the win total for New England at 11.5.

That number is the highest of any team for the 2018 NFL season, just ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a win total listed at 10.5

2018 New England Patriots Win Total - per BetDSI
Over 11.5 (-116)
Under 11.5 (-114)

The Patriots have been a safe bet to win at least 12 games for most of the past decade, as they have won at least that many games for eight straight years. Can Tom Brady at 41-years old lead the Patriots to yet another great season in 2018? He will have his tight end Rob Gronkowski back in the fold and New England gets Julian Edelman back from an ACL injury. Let’s look at the 2018 New England Patriots schedule that includes five prime time contests and examine each of their 16 games.

2018 New England Patriots Schedule Analysis

Week 1: Sunday Sept. 9, vs. Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET
The key question for this game will be the status of Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson. If he comes back at full strength, and playing like he did last year, then the Patriots will have a very difficult home opener.

Week 2: Sunday Sept. 16, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 4:25 p.m. ET
This is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game so you know the Jaguars will be looking for revenge. It is not out of the question that the Patriots could start the season 0-2.

Week 3: Sunday Sept. 23, at Detroit Lions, 8:20 p.m. ET
This is a prime time game on NBC and it will be Lions head coach Matt Patricia facing his former mentor Bill Belichick. This is no bargain for the Patriots on the road.

Week 4: Sunday Sept. 30, vs. Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Patriots will face former teammate Danny Amendola who is now with the Dolphins. Miami almost never wins at New England, as they have lost their last nine at Gillette by an average score of 32-14, so this should be a win for the Patriots.

Week 5: Thursday Oct. 4, vs. Indianapolis Colts, 8:20 p.m. ET
It is hard to see how the Colts win this on the road at New England playing on short rest on Thursday night. Whether or not Andrew Luck is healthy doesn’t really matter, as the Patriots roll.

Week 6: Sunday Oct. 14, vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m. ET
The Patriots will have extra rest for this game and they have been great coming off a Thursday night game and this one is at home. The Chiefs will be coming off a game against the Jaguars and may not have much left for the Patriots in this one.

Week 7: Sunday Oct. 21, at Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Patriots have not visited Chicago since 2010. New England should be able to handle Trubisky and the Bears in this one.

Week 8: Monday Oct. 29, at Buffalo Bills, 8:15 p.m. ET
The last time the Bills hosted a Monday Night game was in 2008, so this atmosphere will be wild. Whether or not the Bills have enough talent to contend with the Patriots is another story. It won’t be easy, but Brady wins prime time games.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, vs. Green Bay Packers, 8:20 p.m. ET
The last time these two teams met at Gillette was in 2010 and Aaron Rodgers didn’t even play due to injury. The Patriots might be able to outscore Rodgers and the Packers in a Sunday night shootout.

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Titans will be coming off a Monday night game, so the Patriots have the edge as they go against former New England linebacker Mike Vrabel who is coaching the Titans. It may not be easy but the Patriots should get the road win.

Week 11: Bye

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Jets are excellent coming out of a bye under Belichick, as they are 13-5. They should be able to roll in this one against a New York team that doesn’t look like a contender.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. Minnesota Vikings, 4:25 p.m. ET
The Vikings are a much better team at home than on the road and it is hard to see Kirk Cousins going into New England and coming out with a win.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Patriots struggled last season in this same spot, as they lost 27-20 to Miami. This is a game that New England should win, but the Dolphins might be playing for their playoff lives.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m. ET
This is a rematch of last year’s game that the Patriots won to give them home field advantage in the AFC. The Steelers will be out for revenge and they just might get it.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Patriots have been outstanding within the AFC East since 2001 and they have dominated the Bills through the years. This should be another New England win.

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, vs. New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Jets rarely win at New England and they usually are not that competitive. The Patriots should close out the 2018 regular season with a win.

There is very little margin for error if the Patriots are to win 12 games and go over their win total of 11.5. If Brady stays healthy, then a 12-4 season is definitely possible, but unlike many previous seasons, New England doesn’t have the look of a super team.

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