Patriots will take care of business

Updated: February 11, 2005, 12:16 PM ET
By Hank Goldberg | ESPN Insider
The rare occasion when you have to be concerned with the spread is when New England is in the Super Bowl. Last year, the Patriots failed as a seven-point favorite, beating Carolina on an Adam Vinatieri field goal. Two years prior, it was a New England three-point win, but they were getting 14 so the number was of no consequence.

In 30 of 38 title games, the victor has won by more than seven points. That has held up in nine of the last 11 -- the two exceptions being New England. There are some key factors favoring the defending champs:

  • More playmakers
  • Slight turnover edge (+9 to +6)
  • Better goaline defense
  • Experience
  • Third down efficiency (45.17% to 36.97%)
    Hank Goldberg is an NFL reporter on a variety of ESPN programs. He first joined ESPN2 as football analyst on SportsNight when the new network launched Oct. 1, 1993. He has also been a frequent contributor on ESPN Radio since June 1992.