NFL Week 15: 49ers vs. Patriots

14

Dec 2012

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San Francisco 49ers (+5) @ New England Patriots (-5) Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 8:20 p.m. ET

After embarrassing the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football in Week 14, the New England Patriots went into a short week as arguably the best team in the AFC. The consensus as the league’s best in the AFC was not argued by many with the Patriots putting on a clinic at the expense of the Texans on Monday and doing it all without arguably their best offensive player in All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Without Gronkowski on the field, superstar quarterback Tom Brady has been able to lead this supercharged offense to three of seven straight wins averaging 38 points per game over these past three wins. New England has been virtually unstoppable on offense and will hope to continue to put up almost 40 points per contest against the lockdown defense of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. As an elite defense in the NFL this season, Jim Harbaugh’s squad is ranked second in the league at stopping the run and against the pass. The 49ers give up only 90.8 rushing yards and 184.7 passing yards per game this season and will be put to the test against arguably the best offense in the NFL away from Candlestick Park on Sunday with the Patriots aiming for a first-round bye in the playoffs. Coming into this matchup, both teams have agendas with the 49ers the more desperate of the two. San Francisco is trying to hold off the division rival Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and a win over New England in Week 15 will do just that. If the 49ers are able to figure out a way to slowdown Brady and company while coming out on top on Sunday night, San Francisco will win the NFC West division crown. The matchup with the Seahawks the following week will be meer formality for the 49ers as they’ll already be playoff bound with via division title. As for the Patriots, Bill Belichick and company will attempt to keep up their winning ways in the final three weeks of the season with a first-round bye in their crosshairs. Although not crucial, New England covets that extra week to rest injured players like Gronkowski. At this point in time, the Patriots will be the team to beat at Gillette Stadium with a -5 point spread in their favor. I believe this spread is on the money despite a tough test against the 49ers.

Prediction: Patriots -5

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