This just in: the New England Patriots are a strong freakin’ football team. The bookmakers in Las Vegas are so confident in their victory, in fact, that they’re starting them out with the largest post-season point spread since 1998. When they take the field against the Houston Texans on Saturday for their AFC divisional playoff game, they’ll do so as 14 ½-point favorites.
Wait, this just in again: that 14 ½-spread was the initial line. Shortly after it was posted the line quickly grew to 16 points – which is where it currently remains. That ties the fourth-largest spread in the last 40 years, when the ’98 Vikings were favored to crush the Cardinals by 16.
In ’94, Steve Young’s 49’ers were favored to romp over the Bears by 17 ½ points. Then, in the Super Bowl, they were favored to roll the Chargers by 18. You can go back even further to Super Bowl III, when Joe Namath’s Jets beat up on the Baltimore Colts – even though those same Colts were favored to win by 18.