The New England Patriots looked great the other night in
dismantling the Houston Texans. Though they did catch some breaks, they
took full advantage on both sides of the ball and completely dominated.
Now many people don't see how the Patriots could possibly lose the
Super Bowl. May be they will win it. Perhaps they will not. There is
good reason to think they will be headed back to New Orleans. Their
offense looks unstoppable, while their defense is coming together at
the best possible time. They look great. But hold on just one second.
They have, in fact, looked very, very good lately,
possibly the best team in the NFL. While they did manhandle the Texans
Monday night, one must remember that the Patriots caught Houston on
their third straight road game, which is never easy for a visiting
team. And, since they spanked the Texans on Monday, many think that if
the two teams meet again in the playoffs, the Patriots will run right
over Houston again. I am not so sure on that. Now this isn't to say the
Patriots would not win a rematch. They very well might. But the game
likely would be in Houston, and there is no way the Texans play the way
they did Monday night. Houston is very good, they just had a bad game
on Monday. Sure, New England played a big part in that, but a second
game would likely be much different. Let us not forget the 2010 season,
where the Patriots destroyed the New York Jets 45-3 in the regular
season, then lost to them in the playoffs at home. A second game or
third game often leads to different results.
Another factor to consider is the Patriots schedule this
season. Yes, they have to play what is given, but they had a very
favorable schedule this year. Four of the Patriots biggest games this
year were home. Denver, Indianapolis ( not considered big at the time
but they are likely a playoff team ), Houston, and the upcoming San
Francisco game. The Patriots won the first three fairly easily. No
matter what the result is Sunday it is still a home game. Now, when the
Patriots played a good team on the road this year, they lost, at
Baltimore and Seattle ( the Seahawks are similar to the Colts in this
case ). Barring something unforeseen, it looks like New England will
play an away game in the playoffs against a very good team. When they
have played very good teams on the road this year, they are 0-2. Most
teams in the NFL are different at home then on the road. The Patriots
are no different.
This certainly doesn't mean the Patriots can't win
the Super Bowl this year. Of course they can. But they need to get
there first. The way they are playing right now allows fans to have a
very high amount of optimism. But that optimism should come with a
As always, home team in CAPS.
Cincinnati 4 PHILADELPHIA
The Bengals are going to try and make a last minute push for the post
season. It won't be enough. The Eagles...well wait until next year.
Pittsburgh 2 DALLAS
The Steelers had a stunning loss last week, which didn't help their
post season chances. They should make it though. The Cowboys won last
week, but really are a mess. They lose Dez Bryant, and now Jerry Jones
is getting into fist fights with the players. Very nice.
Detroit 5 1/2 ARIZONA
The Lions have been a major disappointment, and the Cardinals have
totally fallen apart after a great start. So, in other words, this game
Seattle 5 1/2 BUFFALO
The Seahawks have had an amazing season, and are absolutely in the
playoff chase in the NFC. The Bills, not so much. I don't see the
Seahawks falling here in a game they really need. I'll take them here.
SAN DIEGO 3 Carolina
Talk last week is that Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith and Head
Coach Norv Turner were on their way out, and then they upset
Pittsburgh. It really shouldn't matter. The Chargers need a major
overhaul. I think the Panthers took a step back before going forward.
They could be interesting next year. I think they will pull an upset
here, if anybody sees it.
HOUSTON 7 1/2 Indianapolis
The Texans got smoked Monday, and now they need to run the table to
keep the number one seed. They have a pretty good chance of
doing so. This is their first home game in a month. It looks like the
miracle Colts are heading to the playoffs, but they aren't going to go
anywhere. The Texans will. Expect a big game from them this week.
MIAMI 7 Jacksonville
Really, I am not even sure anybody in Florida will be watching this
Washington 2 1/2 CLEVELAND
It looks like Robert Griffin III is itching to play, but it isn't known
yet if he will. The Redskins are looking at the playoffs, while the
Browns are still playing hard. Washington is hot right now, and even on
the road I think they will pull this one out.
ST. LOUIS 2 1/2 Minnesota
The biggest story is Adrian Peterson, who is looking to be a 2,000 yard
rusher. Oh yeah, the Vikings are still in the playoff chase. The Rams,
ah no. I'll take Minnesota. They have more to play for.
NEW ORLEANS 3 1/2 Tampa Bay
The Saints are done and so are the Buccaneers after their awful loss
last week. So, like some other games on the schedule this week, makes
this game a nothing.
ATLANTA 2 New York Giants
I think this game has flown under the radar a little bit but it is a
huge game in the NFC. I think the Giants need it more but that doesn't
mean they are going to get it. But may be they will. I am not sure I
can trust Atlanta in the playoffs.
Green Bay 3 CHICAGO
The Packers are quietly playing well, and the Bears have totally
dropped off. They might not even make the post season. The Packers
will, and they could be a very dangerous team.
NEW ENGLAND 5 1/2 San Francisco
This is another big game this week, and I think this one is more
important to New England than last week's game. The 49ers defense is
very good, but I am just not sure that they can hang with the Patriots
on the offensive side of the ball. But I think their defense will keep
it close. I think the Patriots will win, but the 49ers will keep it
close enough to cover the points.
TENNESSEE 2 New York Jets
The Jets can somehow make the post season. Wouldn't that be something.
The Titans haven't done much this year. So, the Jets get the nod here.
Game of the Week
Denver 2 1/2 BALTIMORE
I picked this game as opposed to New England and San Francisco because
this is a conference game and I think more is on the line. The Ravens
have really struggled lately, but they could start getting healthy as
the playoffs begin. The Broncos are crusing right now, and they would
like to get a first round bye in the playoffs. The Ravens likely can't,
but they really need a win to get some momentum back. I'll take them
Stinker of the Week
OAKLAND 3 Kansas City
Yup, we sure have a Stinker here.
Record For Week 14: 7-9 ( 8-8 without spread )
Record Through Week 14: 89-104-4 ( 111-86 without
the spread )
Game of Week Record: 6-8
Stinker of Week Record: 6-8
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to
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