Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

NFL Sunday Game of the Week: Patriots vs. Packers

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

NFL Sunday Game of the Week: Patriots vs. Packers

Article excerpt

Only five weeks remain in the 2014 NFL season and the field of playoff hopefuls continues to narrow.

The AFC remains in a log-jam as 11 teams with six wins or more are fighting for only six spots. In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are on the outside looking in despite being multiple games above .500, while in the NFC South, a team with a losing record will likely stumble their way to a playoff berth.

Sitting at the top of their conferences, the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers seem likely to make the postseason, but have their eyes set on securing a coveted first-round bye. Their match- up is the must-see game of Week 13.

The Packers and Patriots enter the game this Sunday as the most potent scoring offenses. The Patriots narrowly edge out the Packers by 0.3 points per game in scoring. However, in their last three games, the Packers have averaged 44 points to the Patriots' 39.7 points. An even stronger indicator of the team's successes have been their margins of victory. Per Team Rankings, the Patriots have the highest margin of victory, 11.8 points while the Packers sit second at 9.8. Over the last three, the two teams have been blowing teams away, with the Packers outscoring opponents by 25.7 points and the Patriots by 23.0.

Over their seven-game win streak, the Patriots have used a unique, game-by-game approach that has exposed the opposition's weaknesses. Two weeks ago, the Patriots handed the ball off to Jonas Gray and several others 44 times and scored four touchdowns, wearing down the Indianapolis Colts front seven in the process. In that game, Brady only threw the ball 30 times en route to a 22-point victory.

Compare that performance with last week's in which the Patriots abandoned the run for much of the game, throwing the ball 53 times for 349 yards and blowing out the Detroit Lions by 25 points. …

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