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Patriots on track to be playoff underdogs for first time since 2006

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 21: Tom Brady #12 and Troy Brown #80 both of the New England Patriots walk off the field after Brown missed a pass during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 21, 2007 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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As has been the case in all of their previous regular-season and playoff games in the 2013 campaign, the Broncos are favored in next Sunday’s AFC title matchup with New England.

According to Pregame.com, multiple Nevada sports books have made the Broncos a six-point favorite against the Patriots next Sunday in Denver.

The Patriots had been favored in their previous 11 postseason games dating back to 2007, per Marc Lawrence point spread data and Saturday’s Indianapolis-New England closing line. The Pats were last underdogs in the 2006 AFC title game, when they fell 38-34 at Indianapolis as three-point underdogs.

According to Jim Feist point spread records, the Patriots have been playoff underdogs just five other times in Bill Belichick’s tenure as head coach.

Three times, the Belichick-led Pats have won outright playing the underdog’s role in the postseason.

Twelve seasons ago, they pulled off two major upsets, knocking off host Pittsburgh (-10) in the AFC title game and then beating St. Louis (-14) in Super Bowl XXXVI. The Patriots also won at San Diego (-4.5) in the 2006 divisional round.

On the other side of the ledger, the Patriots lost 27-13 at Denver (-3) in the 2005 divisional round. And the next year, they could not hold off the favored Colts’ second-half charge in the RCA Dome.