The Pats as Dogs


The Pats as Dogs

The Patriots will find themselves in an unfamiliar spot this Sunday night, and I'm not just referring to the city of Baltimore where New England's played only twice since 1996.

I mean that the Pats are underdogs, by three points to be exact.

According to's database, this will be only the 10th time in the last five years they've had a healthy Tom Brady (that means I skipped the 2008 season in favor of 2006) that the Patriots are underdogs in a regular season game.

Just for fun, here's how they did in the previous nine. (Unsurprisingly, all nine games were on the road):

November 13, 2011 (at N.Y. Jets): Final Line: Pats 2.5; Final Score: Pats 37, Jets 16

November 14, 2010 (at Pitt): Final Line: Pats 4.5; Final Score: Pats 39, Steelers 26

October 24, 2010 (at San Diego): Final Line: Pats 2.5; Final Score: Pats 23, Chargers 20

October 4, 2010 (at Miami): Final Line: Pats 1; Final Score: Pats 41, Dolphins 14

November 15, 2009 (at Indianapolis): Final Line: Pats 1; Final Score: Colts 35, Pats 34

November 30, 2009 (at New Orleans): Final Line: Pats 1; Final Score: Saints 38, Pats 17

December 31, 2006 (at Tennessee): Final Line: Pats 3.5; Final Score: Pats 40, Titans 23

December 24, 2006 (at Jacksonville): Final Line: Pats 3; Final Score: Pats 24, Jaguars 21

October 1, 2006 (at Cincinnati): Final Line: Pats 5.5; Final Score: Pats 38, Bengals 13

The final count? Over the last five seasons, Tom Brady's Pats are 7-2 straight up as underdogs, and 6-1-1 against the spread.

That leaves me with two questions for Vegas:

1. How about making New England an underdog a little more often?

2. I think Bernard Pollard owes one of you guys money. Can someone break his knee caps before Sunday night?

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.