The narrative that Tom Brady was more responsible than Bill Belichick for the Patriots’ dynasty might never change. Unless Belichick guides New England to a Super Bowl title without Brady.
But Belichick’s image has been on the rise lately, while Brady’s has taken a hit.
Before Brady apologized Thursday for comparing football season to military deployment, the Buccaneers quarterback had a rough weekend, especially compared to his old coach.
Brady attended Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s star-studded wedding in New York City last Friday night, then lost 20-18 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday as 9½-point favorites.
Belichick skipped Kraft’s wedding, then directed the Patriots to a 38-15 beatdown of the Cleveland Browns as 3-point underdogs.
The victory vaulted Belichick into a tie with George Halas for second on the NFL career win list, playoffs included, at 324.
A home win over Chicago on “Monday Night Football” would break the tie with Halas, aka “Papa Bear,” the Bears founder and former owner and coach.
New England, which has won its last two games over the Lions and Browns by a combined score of 67-15, is an 8-point favorite.
It’s unclear whether Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe will start at QB for the Patriots, but it shouldn’t matter.
New England’s defense is locked in, and Belichick will devise a plan to shut down Chicago’s anemic offense, which is No. 31 in the NFL in scoring (15.5 ppg) and last in the league in passing offense at only 122.8 yards per game.
Take the Pats.
Four more plays (home team in CAPS):
Giants (+3) over JAGUARS: These teams are headed in opposite directions, with New York riding a three-game winning streak and Jacksonville mired in a three-game losing streak. The surprising Giants have won and covered five of their six games this season under new coach Brian Daboll, and they’re getting points.
Browns (+6½) over RAVENS: Besides last week’s loss to the Patriots, Cleveland has been in every game this season, beating the Steelers and Panthers while losing by three points or fewer to the Chargers, Falcons and Jets. The Browns split last season’s series with Baltimore, and the last three meetings have been decided by six points or less. The Ravens are 0-3 against the spread at home.
Texans (+7) over RAIDERS: Both teams have been in every game this season, with only one win each to show for it, and they’re both coming off their bye. The Raiders are only 9-10 ATS at Allegiant Stadium since moving to Las Vegas and haven’t been a favorite of seven points or more since 2019, when they were still in Oakland. Houston is on a 6-2-1 cover streak and should keep it close against a Raiders team that hasn’t shown any indication it’s ready to blow someone out.
Chiefs (-1) over 49ERS: This line dropped from 2½ after San Francisco acquired running back Christian McCaffrey on Thursday in a trade with Carolina. But Niners general manager John Lynch said that “it’s a tall order” he’ll play Sunday. And even if he does play, it will likely be in limited action. Kansas City has covered the last six meetings, most recently in the 2020 Super Bowl. The Chiefs are 25-11-1 ATS under Andy Reid when the line is between -3 and +3. I’ll take Kansas City to bounce back from its loss to Buffalo in what amounts to a pick’em.
Last week: 3-2