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Week 15 prediction roundup

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  December 17, 2010 08:46 AM

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At one point during a large family dinner last Christmas Eve, my son found his way under the table and started crawling around the obstacles of his elders' legs. When we pleaded with him to come up and get off the floor, he emerged from beneath and pointed in the direction of his canine counterpart who was seated at the feet of my aunt a few chairs down.

"But he does it," my son said.

He was 2 at the time. Mike Westhoff, on the other hand, is 62. A grown man. 

Essentially they both did the same thing in trying to lay blame on others for their own misjudgment. In the case of my son, his objection elicited laughter. I suppose the same can be said of the Jets special teams coach's accusations that the Patriots line up in a similar sideline fashion as the Jets do, this week's Dumbest Controversy In NFL History. Until next week, at least.

Sal Alosi created the problem, and the Jets turn around and blame the Patriots? Classic. Blame the dog. Blame the Patriots. Blame it on the rain. 

All this chirping and pettiness in the NFL is getting a little ridiculous. One player says he thinks his quarterback is better than another, and everyone loses their heads. Quelle horreur. At times, it seems like the NFL is populated by a bunch of gossipy, cliquey sororities. "Did you hear what Brian said about Tom? Oh, you're not going to believe this..." Everybody just shut up and play the games. Own up to your mistakes. And for the love of everything holy, stop calling up Cris Carter and asking him to analyze anything other than a mirror, because that truly is the only thing the man can break down meticulously.

In other news, that Yogi Bear movie looks positively awful.

This week's picks

Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 30, Packers 10. "Looking more and more like Aaron Rodgers won't play. And from what I saw in Detroit, Matt Flynn against Bill Belichick is about as fair a fight as Peter King against Manny Pacquiao."

ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board.

Globe staff: Patriots across the board (No line).

Cold, Hard Football Facts: Patriots 34, Packers 27 (With Aaron Rodgers), Patriots 38, Packers 20 (Without Rodgers). "The differences between Rodgers and back-up Matt Flynn could not be more stark: Rodgers right now is the all-time leader in career passer rating (97.6) and TD-INT ratio (2.6 to 1), the only passer in history better than Brady in that latter category. Flynn, meanwhile, has attempted just 46 passes in three NFL seasons and has never thrown a TD. He was useless last week against the lousy Lions defense, a shocking 7-3 Detroit victory over the statistically stout Pack...If Rodgers plays in this game, Green Bay's passing offense can do pretty much whatever it wants against the New England pass defense. But even then, we like the Patriots to outscore the Packers. If Flynn gets the nod, look for New England to romp."

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 23, Packers 17. "The Packers may be without Aaron Rodgers here, depending on his concussion tests. If he can't go, Matt Flynn will have to match wits with Bill Belichick's defense. Good luck. The Patriots are flying high on offense. But the Packers play solid pass defense with two good corners. I look for Green Bay to keep it closer than expected."

CBS Sports.com staff: Patriots across the board.

Sporting News staffPatriots across the board.

Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 35, Packers 10. "It's unclear whether Aaron Rodgers (concussion) will be playing. It's clear that it doesn't matter. The Patriots have become this year's dominant team, and they're dominating at the right time."

Gregg Rosenthal, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 30, Packers 17. "I was all set to go on a long rant that the Packers were the toughest matchup possible for the Patriots. They have a diverse defense that can slow Tom Brady down. More importantly, they have the offense to out-score New England. Then I realized Matt Flynn was probably starting at quarterback. What a shame. (Except for the Bears.)"

Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 30, Packers 13. "Learned my lesson picking against NE last week. Tom Brady and Pats have been great lately and are near unbeatable at home. With Aaron Rodgers concussed and likely out, Pack winning this game is as likely as Giselle Bundchen doing her own laundry."

Pete Schrager, Foxsports.com: Patriots 30, Packers 20. "How good have the Pats been over the past five weeks? Since losing to Cleveland on Nov. 7, the Patriots have won five consecutive games without committing a single turnover. Not one. In those five wins, Tom Brady's been incredibly efficient, completing more than 67 percent of his passes in each outing. Michael Vick's "redemption" story certainly is an interesting one, Matt Ryan's on fire, and Maurice Jones-Drew is quietly putting together a career year, but Brady's your 2010 MVP. That should be unanimous. The Packers need this one badly, but New England's too locked in. On national TV, Brady won't disappoint."

Dave Goldberg, NFL FanHouse: Patriots 27, Packers 10. "This game is off because Aaron Rodgers' status is unknown after his second concussion of the season. Best he not play, because the way New England is going, it won't matter."

USA Today staff: Patriots across the board.

Yahoo! sports staff: Patriots across the board.

We like: Patriots 35, Packers 14. After what the Patriots did to the Steelers, Bears and Jets defenses (2, 3, and 7 in points per game allowed respectively), what makes anyone think they won't shred the Packers' standout (No. 1 in PPG allowed) unit the same way?

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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