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Niners Extend Streak To 10 as Patriots Flop

Chris Brocoum
sports columnist

It was a big week in the NFL last week. Denver lost to K.C. in a huge game that propelled the Chiefs to within a game of Denver for the AFC lead. The NFC Central is one of the more powerful divisions in football this year, but you wouldn't have known it by the performances of Green Bay and Minnesota. The Vikings got hammered by the Lions in Detroit, and Indianapolis broke its winless streak by upsetting the Packers. Amazingly, the Colts haven't won a game all year and they beat the Packers? For all those who haven't figured it out yet, no repeat for Green Bay this year.

And, of course, any recap would not be complete without mention of the Patriots. They had a most unmentionable game. One of their worst performance in recent (and extended) memory. Only a last second touchdown saved them from being shutout 270 which would have been their first shutout in 12 years. Perhaps the Patriots were trying to shake off hangovers from their carousing last week, jumping off stages into crowds and stuff. Whatever it was, they played something more akin to little league baseball than professional football. They failed to get a first down until midway through the third quarter!You don't have to be a football fan to know that that is horrendous. They really were playing baseball: three strikes and yer out for most of the game. New England needs to stop worrying about the playoffs and start worrying about finishing above .500.

As promised, the 49er watch continues: San Francisco clinched a playoff berth already by disposing of Carolina 2719. The Panthers are now a tidy four games out of first behind the Niners.

The picks, week 13

Atlanta is hosting the New Orleans Saints. For lack of anyone else to root for, I'm gonna hafta go with Ditka.

The Eagles are heading to Three Rivers to take on the Steelers. The Steelers are 61 at home and Philly is 051 on the road. The Steelers are going to make Jacksonville work to keep up with them.

Baltimore players report feeling unsettled after taking part in the first tie of the season last week. They look to settle things against the Cardinals.

Neither the Packers nor the Cowboys have been very consistent this year. Then again, Green Bay was just part of the Colts' historic first victory of the season, while Dallas won an important game against the Redskins. Regardless, I still don't like Dallas. Take G.B.

The Bills and Oilers are both coming off losing weeks and both have dismal 65 records. Flip a coin take the Bills.

The city of Indianapolis reportedly threw a parade today to celebrate the Colts' first victory of the season. Unfortunately the season started eleven games ago. Take Detroit.

Things were so bad with the Patriots last week that they can only get better. The thing is, better than last week isn't saying much. Take Miami making a little run at the Jets.

Minnesota has a good team this year. They just have a funny tendency of stumbling for no apparent reason, like last week against the Lions. The Jets have a bad team this year, and even though Bill Parcells has worked wonders, he will come up short this week. Minnesota will be on the ball.

The Bears were distressed to hear of the Colts' victory last week because it meant they are now tied for dead last in the NFL. Needless to say, Tampa Bay will have an ego after dismantling the Patriots last week. It will only work in their favor. Take Tampa.

Carolina has had a rough year but 65 isn't so bad for an expansion team. It must be depressing to then be four games behind the Niners. Of course, the Rams are four games behind the Panthers. Take Carolina.

San Francisco is like a runaway truck. Nothing can stop them, especially the Chargers. San Fran goes 111.

The Jaguars are still tied with the Steelers in the AFC Central and the Bengals shouldn't be much of a problem as they win to stay tied with the Steelers. Not only is Kansas City just one game behind Denver, the Chiefs have proven they can beat them too. Do you feel a huge playoff game brewing in the near future? Take the Chiefs easily over the Seahawks.

The Redskins have stumbled their way down to a terrible season, but in an effort to motivate the team, coach Norv Turner has declared that they have a special role in the NFL as spoilers. Take them to knock the Giants back into a tie with Dallas.

Monday Night Special: After a close loss last week to the Chiefs, you can bet Elway and Co. will have something to prove at home on Monday Night in front of a national audience. Especially since the Raiders is the only other team the Broncos have lost to this season. Look out for a lean Denver machine to terrorize the Raiders.

Last week: 68, season record: 9652.