The odds are stacked against the New England Patriots this year to win the Super Bowl after seeing their best player in franchise history, Tom Brady, leave to go play under Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But their odds to win the division should increase due to a pretty significant but yet understated reason: the absence of fans.
New England had a very tough schedule to start out with. They have games against some of the best teams in the NFL including the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and of course two games vs the Buffalo Bills.
And it’s not like they get to play all of the great teams at Gillette Stadium either. They travel to what would have been the hardest environments to play in the league–at Seattle and at Kansas City.
But now that teams aren’t hosting 70,000+ fans in their stadiums, the Patriots won’t have to deal with the outside noise on top of having to deal with some of the league’s top quarterbacks.
So while everyone is going to be talking about how Cam Newton can fit into the offense, one of the x-factors this season could be the small break that Bill Belichick and the Patriots get by not having to face great teams in totally hostile environments.
(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)