NFL Simulations Pinpoint Patriots’ First Loss

Oct 18, 2019 10:45 AM EDT
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Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady

  • Through six weeks, the Patriots are undefeated and the best team in 2019 so far.
  • We ran 10,000 simulations to determine when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will lose their first game.

Ricky Bobby once said, “I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.” This quote defines the Patriots’ 2019 season

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick lead the only team in the NFL that is 6-0. New England has outscored its opponents by 142 points. The offense is leading the league in scoring (31.7 ppg) and the defense is allowing a ridiculous 8.0 points per game.

There is a case to be made that this is the best Patriots team in the Brady-Belichick era. Fans in Foxborough have been talking about another 16-0 season, and bettors that believe TB12 & Co. can run the table can get +500 odds (FanDuel) on the a perfect Patriots season.

Of course, the Pats have faced a soft schedule. Combined, the teams they have defeated are 10-23 this season. But their schedule is backloaded with losable games that include road trips to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Houston as well as home games against the Cowboys and Chiefs.

According to The Action Network NFL simulations, there is only a 7.2% chance New England finishes the season 16-0. So, if 16-0 isn’t likely, when will the Patriots lose their first game?

Based on 10,000 simulations, these are the probabilities on when Brady & Belichick will take their first L:

  • Week 7 at Jets: 15.6%
  • Week 8 vs. Browns: 15.0%
  • Week 9 at Ravens: 26.6%
  • Week 11 at Eagles: 15.4%
  • Week 12 vs. Cowboys: 5.4%
  • Week 13 at Texans: 7.6%
  • Week 14 vs. Chiefs: 3.8%
  • Week 15 at Bengals: 1.9%
  • Week 16 vs. Bills: 1.3%
  • Week 17 vs. Dolphins: 0.3%
  • Finish 16-0: 7.2%

Our model has the Patriots favored in every remaining game this season. The numbers expect New England to not only win but cruise to victory in most matchups. For example, the Pats have better than an 80% chance of defeating the Jets and Browns, respectively, in the next two weeks.

The most likely spots for the Patriots to get bounced from the ranks of the undefeated are road games in Baltimore and Philly. The Ravens and Eagles lead their respective divisions and rank in the top 10 in Football Outsider’s DVOA.

The Patriots have a 60.4% chance of defeating the Ravens and a 59.9% chance of topping the Eagles. These are the only remaining games in which New England’s projected win probability is less than 64.0%.

The Ravens get the first of those two cracks at the Patriots in Week 9 and this is the most likely spot for New England to fall.

Of course, Brady and Belichick often defy expectations.

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