Tom Brady thinks it’s “ridiculous” to assume the Patriots will just walk over the Texans on Sunday, but everyone else assumes they will. In fact, the Patriots are favored by 16 points in the fourth-largest spread in postseason history.
Sixteen? That’s bold, even with how much better the Patriots are than the Texans. Then again, it’s not like postseason ass-kickings haven’t been in Bill Belichick's bag of tricks over the years.
Brady and Belichick have won 22 playoff games together. Six (27 percent) of those wins have been by at least 16 points, and the average margin of victory in the aforementioned six wins has been 25 points. Patriots been winning playoff games by 16 points. Here they are:
- 2014 AFC Championship: Patriots 45, Colts 7 (32-point margin of victory)
- 2013 divisional round: Patriots 43, Colts 22 (21-point margin of victory)
- 2011 divisional round: Patriots 45, Broncos 10 (35-point margin of victory)
- 2006 divisional round: Patriots 37, Jets 16 (21-point margin of victory)
- 2005 divisional round: Patriots 28, Jaguars 3 (25-point margin of victory)
- 2004 divisional round: Patriots 20, Colts 3 (17-point margin of victory)
Some notes on those games:
- All of them were at Gillette Stadium.
- Five of the six were division playoff games.
- Only one came against a top-10 defense in terms of yards allowed; the Texans were first this season.
- Somehow, Tom Brady threw for under 230 yards in five of the six games.
- The Patriots have got 100-yard rushing performances in three of them: one from Corey Dillon, two from LeGarrette Blount. Aaron Hernandez (61 yards) was the leading rusher in one of them.
- Two games featured a defensive touchdown, both (2005 against the Jaguars, 2006 against the Jets) in the form of an Asante Samuel pick-6.
The findings there are interesting given that when you think Patriots blowout, you think Tom freaking Brady. Yet it wasn’t like he was carving up those teams for 400 yards or anything like that. However, in the only one of these games in which Brady threw 230-plus yards, he threw 363.
None of this helps give a definitive answer as to whether the Patriots will actually win by 16-plus, but the fact that they already beat Houston by 27 this season explains why the spread is what it is. We'll learn Saturday whether the highest playoff spread in Patriots' history was warranted, but these types of blowout wins have been fairly common during the Belichick era.