New England Patriots (9-2) at Green Bay Packers (8-3)
The Patriots have been the better of these two teams this season, ranking 2nd in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Packers rank 7th. They’ve moved the chains at a 77.75% rate, as opposed to 72.42% for their opponents, a differential of 5.33%, while the Packers have moved them at an 80.17% rate, as opposed to 75.89% for their opponents, a differential of 4.28%. The Patriots have especially been good over the past 7 weeks, moving the chains at an 82.40% rate, as opposed to 72.65% for their opponents, a differential of 9.75%. Their offense has gotten significantly better with the offensive line settling in and Rob Gronkowski returning to form, while their defense hasn’t really missed much of a beat without Chandler Jones and Jerod Mayo.
Despite that, the Patriots are underdogs here by a field goal. The Patriots generally thrive in situations like that. Tom Brady is 46-18 ATS in his career as an underdog or a favorite of fewer than 3 points. However, the usual conditions that accompany the Patriots being in this situation are not in play. They aren’t coming off a loss. They’re not playing a team with a better record than them. They’re also on the road, where they haven’t been that good recently, going 5-9 ATS on the road since the start of last season. Even in situations where they are underdogs or small favorites on the road, they are 4-4 ATS on the road in that time period.
While the Patriots have had struggles on the road, the Packers have been dominant at home this season, so dominant in fact that this line of a field goal seems warranted, as good as the Patriots have been this season and especially since week 5. The Packers move the chains at an 80.37% rate at home, as opposed to 68.67% for their opponents, a differential of 11.69%. This home dominance is nothing new. Aaron Rodgers is 25-9-1 ATS at home since 2010 and 31-4 straight up, with an absurd +543 point differential, meaning they outscore opponents, on average, by 15.51 points per game.
Both of these teams are in good spots in terms of not having any significant distractions on the horizon. This is the toughest game of the season for either of these teams and a potential Super Bowl matchup. The Packers host Atlanta next week, while New England goes to San Diego. Teams are 98-80 ATS since 2008 before being double digit home favorites, as the Packers will be, while teams are 87-57 ATS since 2012 before being road favorites of 3 or more, including 55-33 ATS road favorites of 4 or more. The Patriots will be significant road favorites next week. This is really tough to pick, but I’m going with the Packers to fade the public underdog Patriots.
Green Bay Packers 27 New England Patriots 23
Pick against the spread: Green Bay -3