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Friday, November 9, 2012
Closer look at Pats after bye

By Field Yates

During Week 8 of the regular season, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid had something happen to him for the first time during his 14-year head coaching tenure -- he lost a game following his team's bye week.

The previously unblemished mark became a natural talking point as it related to the Eagles during and following their bye week, and it appeared that the additional preparation time gave Reid's team an edge leading into its next game.

Similar discussions have been held as it relates to the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick, who is the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL, trailing only Reid.

Here's a look back at how Belichick's Patriot teams have fared coming off of their bye during his 12 previous seasons as the helm. (Note: records shown indicate records entering the game).

2000: (2-6) Patriots lose to (4-4) Bills 16-13 (OT)
2001: (10-5) Patriots beat (1-14) Panthers 38-6
2002: (3-3) Patriots lose to (5-2) Broncos 24-16
2003: (7-2) Patriots beat (7-2) Cowboys 12-0
2004: (2-0) Patriots beat (0-2) Bills 31-17
2005: (3-3) Patriots beat (3-4) Bills 21-16
2006: (4-1) Patriots beat (2-4) Bills 28-6
2007: (9-0) Patriots beat (5-4) Bills 56-10
2008: (2-1) Patriots beat (2-2) 49ers 30-21
2009: (5-2) Patriots beat (3-4) Dolphins 27-17
2010: (3-1) Patriots beat (4-1) Ravens 23-20 (OT)
2011: (5-1) Patriots lose to (5-2) Steelers 25-17

So, what does it all mean?

In 12 games following the bye under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have gone 9-3. Given Belichick's meticulous preparation, it would seem that his team would benefit from the extra time associated with the bye.

But ask any player, coach or member of an organization, and they'll tell you winning in the NFL is an extremely difficult chore. Whether a team has a day, a week, or two weeks to prepare for a game, showing up and winning on Sunday is never easy.

The Patriots have fared well under Belichick after the bye because of the extra time, but also because they are and have been a very good team during that time. No matter how much time they've had this week to dedicate to the Bills, it'll take a four-quarter effort to win Sunday.