Patriots

New NFL schedule study finds Patriots have easiest road to Super Bowl LIV

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New NFL schedule study finds Patriots have easiest road to Super Bowl LIV

There hasn't been a repeat Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004.

Fifteen years later, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are hoping to become the second head coach/quarterback duo to win back-to-back titles twice. The only duo to do it was Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll and quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Noll and Bradshaw both are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Brady and Belichick will one day join them.

Just getting to the Super Bowl again would be a historic accomplishment for the Patriots. It would make them the second team ever to reach the Super Bowl four consecutive seasons, joining the Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s.

What are the chances of the Patriots advancing to another Super Bowl?

John Breech of CBS Sports recently did a ranking assessing the difficulty of each team's path to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. The formula used three main factors: schedule difficulty, Super Bowl odds and the first three games of the season. Breech found that teams starting worse than 2-1 over the first three weeks rarely wind up in either the AFC or NFC Championship Game.

The Patriots actually have the easiest road. Here's what CBS Sports had to say about the Patriots' path.

32. New England Patriots

Based on our formula, the team with the easiest road to Super Bowl LIV is the New England Patriots, which probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, because the Patriots seem to have the easiest road every year. Although it seems like a vast NFL conspiracy to keep the Patriots on top, the fact of the matter is that we really just need to blame the Jets, Bills and Dolphins for not being competitive at all over the past 20 years. Anyway, we should probably just all save ourselves some time and go ahead and pencil them the Patriots in for the Super Bowl. 

Schedule difficulty rating: 84.375

The team with the toughest path to Super Bowl LIV is the Chicago Bears.

In case you forgot, here's the Patriots' 2019 regular season schedule.

Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Sept. 8 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 2: at Miami Dolphins (Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.)
Week 3: vs. New York Jets (Sunday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m.)
Week 4: at Buffalo Bills (Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m.)
Week 5: at Washington Redskins (Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.)
Week 6: vs. New York Giants (Thursday, Oct. 10 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 7: at New York Jets (Monday, Oct. 21 at 8:15 p.m.)
Week 8: vs. Cleveland Browns (Sunday, Oct. 27 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 9: at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, Nov. 3 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 10 Bye
Week 11: at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Nov. 17 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 12: vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, Nov. 24 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 13: at Houston Texans (Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 14: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 15: at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.)
Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills (Saturday, Dec. 21 or Sunday, Dec. 22, time TBD)
Week 17: vs. Miami Dolphins (Sunday, Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.)

If you go by a strict strength of schedule ranking, which CBS did not do in its study, the Patriots have the second-easiest schedule in 2019 based on their opponents' win percentage (.473) from 2018. 

The Patriots went 11-5 last season, and it was their worst record since 2009. They did not secure homefield throughout the AFC playoffs, but they overcame it by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium to win the AFC Championship Game.

New England's schedule for 2019 has the defending champs well-positioned to earn the conference's top seed and ensure the road to Super Bowl LIV again goes down Route 1 in Foxboro. 

Click for where Patriots stand in latest Super Bowl LIV odds>>>

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Bill Belichick sums up Patriots' shut out win vs. Dolphins with classic line

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Bill Belichick sums up Patriots' shut out win vs. Dolphins with classic line

The New England Patriots went into a hot Miami environment Sunday and embarrassed the Dolphins with a 43-0 win at Hard Rock Stadium.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick summed up his team's win perfectly with a classic line during his postgame press conference.

“Yeah, it’s always good. If you don’t let them score, you can’t lose,” Belichick told reporters in Miami.

The math certainly checks out.

The Patriots' shutout win was their first since Week 3 of the 2016 season when third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was filling in for a suspended Tom Brady and an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, led a 27-0 victory over the Houston Texans.

New England's defense hasn't given up a touchdown since the fourth quarter of last season's AFC Championship Game versus the Kansas City Chiefs -- a streak of 12 straight quarters (as well as the short overtime period in that AFC title game). The Patriots also have pitched four consecutive first half shutouts dating back to the 2018 AFC Championship Game.

The defensive dominance from the Patriots should continue next week when the New York Jets come to Gillette Stadium and start backup quarterback Trevor Siemian.

 

Click for the best/worst from the Patriots' win over the Dolphins>>>

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Julian Edelman celebrates Patriots' win vs. Dolphins with Jaws-themed Instagram post

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Julian Edelman celebrates Patriots' win vs. Dolphins with Jaws-themed Instagram post

If you were to compare the New England Patriots' performance Sunday to a marine animal, it would be a great white shark.

Therefore, it was fitting that Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman celebrated his team's impressive 43-0 win over the rival Miami Dolphins by posting a Jaws-themed picture to his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Check it out in the post below:

Edelman tallied four receptions for 51 yards and was one of seven players to catch at least one pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. New England's rushing attack also was much-improved from Week 1, gaining 136 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

The real story of the game was the Patriots' defense, which has held opponents to just three points and a 5-for-27 mark on third downs over the first two weeks of the season. 

The Patriots' dominance should continue next week at Gillette Stadium when the defending Super Bowl champions host the New York Jets, who will be without young quarterback Sam Darnold because of illness. 

Click for the best/worst from the Patriots' win over the Dolphins>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device