In the second half of the 2012 season, the New England Patriots may be showing that they are the best team in football.
New England hasn’t lost since Week 6, and has been dominant after starting off the year at 3-3. They’ve won their last seven games by an average of 21 points, and are on pace to go down as one of the best offensive teams in the history of the NFL.
The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the best teams in the NFC all season, Even after Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith at starting quarterback, the teams has remained amongst the league’s elite.
While the Patriots are the best offensive team in the league, the 49ers have the NFL’s best defense. They are allowing just 14.2 points per game, and haven’t allowed more than 26 points in a contest.
In Week 15, the two teams will meet, with the top seed in each conference still up for grabs. The 49ers will visit the Patriots at 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday Night Football. The game will air on NBC, but you can watch a free live stream online with Sunday Night Football Extra.
The matchup is a potential Super Bowl preview. New England and San Francisco almost met in the big game last year. The Patriots advanced to play the Giants for the title, after an overtime loss for the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
The Patriots are coming off a victory against the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. They were able to hold Defensive Player of the Year candidate J.J. Watt in check. They will look to do the same against his biggest competitor for that award, Aldon Smith. The 49ers linebacker leads the league with 19.5 sacks. He’s on pace to pass Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5.
Teams have always had to worry about stopping Tom Brady and the Patriots aerial attack. This year, New England has a formidable running game with Steve Ridley. If any team can slow down the Patriots rusher, it’s San Francisco. They’ve allowed just three rushing touchdowns in 13 games.
Betting Line: New England-4, 47
Prediction: Even the 49ers defense will have trouble with this Patriots offense. They’ve proven they can score at will. San Francisco will keep it close, but the Patriots should get the win at home.
Predicted Score: New England 30 San Francisco 20