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Unfamiliar Underdogs: Patriots Given No Chance to Win in Green Bay?

Now given little chance to win with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, New England once sported a 67-game streak of being favored under Tom Brady.

Is your confidence in the New England Patriots waning? You're not alone.

NFL oddsmakers have put the six-time Super Bowl champions in a rare position entering Week 4: biggest underdog in the league. More damning, this will mark only the sixth time in the last 20 years that Bill Belichick's Pats have been at least 7-point underdogs.

Though "Dr." Bill hasn't yet officially ruled out starting quarterback Mac Jones and his sprained ankle for Sunday's 3:25 p.m. game against reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, the rest of the world is anticipating seeing Brian Hoyer under center. According to oddsmakers that's a grim scenario, with the once-proud Pats being established as 9.5-point underdogs.

In the Tom Brady era, New England once enjoyed an almost unfathomable streak of 67 consecutive games being favored.

Under Belichick it's rare for the Pats to be this big of an underdog. Since winning Super Bowl XXXVI in the 2001 season they've been 7-point underdogs or more only five times. New England was never given worse odds to win a game all of last season.

Of course, in that Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams they pulled one of the biggest upsets in NFL history as a whopping 14-point underdog.

So anything is possible, but ... Sunday's spread seems appropriate.

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While Rodgers and the 2-1 Packers aren't quite humming along at their usual high-scoring pace, the Patriots are coming off a loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in which they committed four turnovers, coughed up 37 points and lost their starting quarterback.

Hoyer is 16-23 during his 14-year journeyman career, and he's lost his last 11 starts.

The Patriots trudge into Lambeau Field - where they are only 1-2 all-time - without an array of projected offensive weapons including Jones, running backs James White (retired) and Ty Montgomery (injured) and receiver Tyquan Thornton (injured). And although they found receiver DeVante Parker (five catches for 156 yards) last week against Baltimore, reliable tight end Hunter Henry has been mysteriously absent. After catching 50 passes and team-leading nine touchdowns last season, he has only three grabs for 28 yards through three games.

New England is 0-2-1 against the spread. If they were playing at the Buffalo Bills Sunday the spread might be flirting with two touchdowns.


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