Bill Belichick started his NFL career as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts in 1975.
The next season, he was assistant special teams coach for the Lions.
So he has been trying to devise ways to block a field goal for 47 or 48 years.
So it’s pretty remarkable that after all this time, his team was the one to come up with a stunning new way to do it.
According to reports, three assistant coaches, including former Giants head coach Joe Judge, drew up the play the Patriots used to block a field goal try last Sunday night against the Dolphins.
Brenden Schooler lined up far to the left and sprinted along the line.
At the snap, he took a hard left, made a twist like Spider-Man to get around edge protector Christian Wilkins and laid out to block every bit of Jason Sanders’ kick.
The ball was recovered by Kyle Dugger, who would have returned it for a touchdown if not for a great hustle play by Wilkins.
These are no longer the Super Bowl Patriots of the Tom Brady era.
They even lost to the Dolphins, who might turn out to be one of the best teams in the NFL by season’s end.
New England is 0-2, losing both at home, the first one to the Eagles.
But this is still a team to respect, if not fear.
The Patriots will come to MetLife Stadium on Sunday looking to extend a 14-game winning streak against the Jets.
This time was supposed to be different, with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
Instead, it’ll be Zach Wilson going up against The Master, and we’re back to thinking about Sam Darnold seeing ghosts and Wilson moving the ball 2.77 inches per play in the second half last year in Foxborough.
It’s a little odd to see a winless team favored on the road against a team that already has a good home win in the division, against the Bills.
The Jets have more playmakers than the Patriots do, but weaknesses at quarterback and on the offensive line could put the result in the hands of the coaches.
It’s hard to go against Belichick in that case.
The pick: Patriots -2.5.
Denver Broncos (+6.5) over MIAMI DOLPHINS
The Broncos are 0-2 with two losses at home, and the Dolphins are 2-0 with two wins on the road. I’m also 4-0 ATS picking Miami and against Denver.
Though I’d prefer this line to be north of a touchdown, I think the Broncos could make this a game.
Russell Wilson has five touchdown passes and one interception, so it appears Sean Payton is having a positive impact.
Watch for updates on Jaylen Waddle’s concussion.
Houston Texans (+8.5) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The line has ticked down a little toward the Texans because apparently not enough people were willing to lay nine points on a Jacksonville team that managed to score just nine against the Chiefs at home last week.
The Texans had won nine meetings in a row before the Jaguars blew them out 31-3 last season in Week 17.
DETROIT LIONS (-3) over Atlanta Falcons
The Lions are dealing with a lot of injuries to key players on the offense.
RB David Montgomery, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, and OLs Taylor Decker and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are all listed as questionable.
But this will be a different environment for the Falcons, who have won two home games to start the season.
Figuring the Detroit pass rush will give Desmond Ridder problems and am willing to lay what seems like a discounted spread.
Tennessee Titans (+3.5) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
Cleveland got unlucky in Pittsburgh, losing on a pick-six, a sack-fumble TD and a home-run pass to George Pickens.
The Browns outgained the Steelers by 153 offensive yards, even after losing Nick Chubb.
Still this seems like another tight game involving the Titans, so even the small spread could be helpful on top of Derrick Henry and Mike Vrabel.
Los Angeles Chargers (+1) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Props to the Vikings for their backdoor cover in Philadelphia in the Week 2 Thursday night game, but I’m wondering if we’ll be able to say better things about them.
Despite their 0-2 start, I still view the Chargers as one of the better teams in the NFL.
Hopefully I don’t end up paying for that faith in Justin Herbert here.
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (+6.5) over Buffalo Bills
The Commanders held off a miracle attempt by the Broncos, registering seven sacks and two takeaways.
They failed to cover at home in Week 1 against the Cardinals, but I like this price point as near-touchdown home underdogs better.
Indianapolis Colts (+8.5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
My starting point for this game is that the Colts have scored 62 points (26 ppg) over their first two games.
That’s an encouraging element if you’re in need of a late score for a backdoor cover.
Though I prefer Anthony Richardson, I won’t shy away from Gardner Minshew.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-1.5) over New Orleans Saints
Tough setup for the Saints, as they are on back-to-back road games in a short week.
The problem with the Packers is they always seem to have a lot of key players listed as questionable.
Like the idea of backing Jordan Love as such a short home favorite.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-6.5) over Carolina Panthers
Carolina’s lone touchdown on Monday night came on the final drive to secure a backdoor push against the Saints.
Now they have to travel cross-country on short rest and put up with the 12th Man. Need Geno Smith to match his numbers from the 37-31 win at Detroit.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-12.5) over Chicago Bears
The Bears are a Dumpster fire, with Justin Fields questioning the coaching and defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigning under mysterious circumstances. T
here were even rumors about the FBI raiding Halas Hall, which the Bears said were false.
As unreliable as the Chiefs usually are as heavy favorites, you have to be impressed with them holding the Jaguars to nine points on the road and figure they can run away here.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-12.5) over Arizona Cardinals
Already two-thirds there, so I might as well go against my betting religion and take all three double-digit favorites.
Though this one is on the road, the Cowboys appear locked in to trying to destroy the opposition on every play, which has led to two blowout wins. Good luck Joshua Dobbs!
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-2.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh’s another team traveling far after having played on Monday night.
Betting on the NFL?
Las Vegas should get Jakobi Meyers back from concussion and have Davante Adams as a full go.
Have to try to survive the Josh McDaniels versus Mike Tomlin coaching deficit.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+4.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
One factor on the Eagles’ side is the extra rest they get, going from a Thursday nighter to a Monday nighter.
They’ll need the extra time because they’ve already lost some key players on defense.
Looking for the physical Bucs and Baker Mayfield to do enough to stay close.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3) over Los Angeles Rams
It looks as if the Joe Burrow calf injury already is priced into the spread, so if he plays we might get some closing line value.
Either way, it’s time for the 0-2 Bengals to figure out the season has started.
Best bets: Titans, Commanders, Seahawks.
Lock of the week: Titans (Locks 0-2 in 2023)
Last week: 6-9-1 overall, 2-1 Best Bets
Thursday night: 49ers.
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