Giving a legendary head coach like Bill Belichick an extra week to prepare for an opponent has been a real advantage for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are coming off a Week 10 bye and will travel to Lincoln Financial Field for Sunday's much-anticipated Week 11 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, who also had a Week 10 bye.
The defending Super Bowl champs are 8-1 and sit atop the AFC standings, but they have only a 1-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens for the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Eagles, meanwhile, are 5-4 in a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race.
Let's break down the numbers for the Patriots coming off a bye during Belichick's first 19 seasons as the team's head coach.
Win/Loss record: 14-5
The Patriots have a .736 win percentage under Belichick in their first game after a bye. Tom Brady's record following a bye is 13-4. He was one of the backup quarterbacks in 2000 and was injured in 2008. The Patriots had an 8-game win streak following a bye snapped in 2011 with a loss to the Steelers. New England is 6-3 coming off a bye this decade.
Here's a full breakdown of the Pats' results after a bye.
2000: 16-13 loss to Buffalo Bills
2001: 38-6 win over Carolina Panthers
2002: 24-16 loss to Denver Broncos
2003: 12-0 win over Dallas Cowboys
2004: 31-17 win over Buffalo Bills
2005: 21-16 win over Buffalo Bills
2006: 28-6 win over Buffalo Bills
2007: 56-10 win over Buffalo Bills
2008: 30-21 win over San Francisco 49ers
2009: 27-17 win over Miami Dolphins
2010: 23-20 win over Baltimore Ravens
2011: 25-17 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers
2012: 37-31 win over Buffalo Bills
2013: 24-20 loss to Carolina Panthers
2014: 42-20 win over Indianapolis Colts
2015: 30-6 win over Dallas Cowboys
2016: 31-24 loss to Seattle Seahawks
2017: 41-16 win over Denver Broncos
2018: 27-13 win over New York Jets
Most Common Opponent: Buffalo Bills
The Patriots have played their AFC East rivals six times after a bye in the Belichick era, with the last such meeting coming in 2012. New England is 5-1 in these games versus Buffalo.
Margin of Victory
The average margin of victory in the Patriots' 14 wins after a bye since 2000 is 17.42 points, which is a pretty strong number. The most lopsided win came in 2007 when Tom Brady and Randy Moss destroyed the Bills 56-10 on "Sunday Night Football." Moss tallied 10 receptions for 128 yards and four touchdowns.
The bye came at a perfect time for the Patriots because their schedule is about to get much more difficult. New England's next four games are against playoff-caliber opponents, and the outcome of this stretch probably will determine whether the Patriots secure homefield advantage throughout the postseason.
Here's a look at the upcoming schedule for the Pats:
Week 11: at Philadelphia Eagles (tied for NFC East lead)
Week 12: vs. Dallas Cowboys (tied for NFC East lead)
Week 13: at Houston Texans (AFC South leader)
Week 14: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West leader)
The Patriots finish the regular season with games against the winless Cincinnati Bengals, the 6-3 Bills and 2-7 Dolphins over the final three weeks. So, if they go 3-1 or 4-0 during the next four games, the schedule is set up nicely for them to secure a first-round playoff bye.
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