A roundup of how ESPN’s analysts see Sunday night’s Patriots-Packers game playing out:
* ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss: If Aaron Rodgers plays: Packers 30, Patriots 27. No Rodgers: Patriots 31-14. The Packers need this game to keep their playoff hopes in a good place and I expect them to play much better than they did in Detroit. If Rodgers plays, I could see the Packers winning a close game late as I envision him having success against a pass defense without Devin McCourty (if McCourty is held out after being limited in practice).
* ESPNBoston.com’s Tedy Bruschi: With Rodgers: Patriots 31-24. No Rodgers: Patriots 28-7. My result is the same no matter who plays at quarterback. The Packers are beat up. You could field a pretty good team with their players that are on IR. I don't see this Patriots momentum slowing down. This is the most dialed-in I've seen Tom Brady since 2007.
* Bill Simmons: PATRIOTS (-11) over Packers. If you watched the Patriots (and I did) and Matt Flynn (and I did) last week, you'd think this line should be "Patriots -30." Intriguing spot for the 8-5 Packers: Should they risk a twice-concussed Aaron Rodgers in New England when they have pivotal home games against the Giants and Bears coming up? Why even risk it? By the way, what word has been said the most during the 2010 season: "touchdown," "Favre" or "concussion"?
* ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter: Patriots over Packers. You can't watch the Patriots and not be impressed. They've scored in their last five games 196 points, which is 32 more than the Panthers have scored in 13 games this season. The team looks incredible, but the one thing that I would say is that these things go in cycles. And just because in Weeks 12 and 13 you look dominant does not ensure postseason success. I was talking to a head coach yesterday and we were talking about the Patriots and their dominance. And he goes, "They're not as good as people are making them out to be." I go, "No?" And he goes, "Every team has flaws, and they show up at different times." The Patriots' flaws have not shown up the last few weeks. They have not turned over the football in five weeks, which is an NFL record. At some point, the secondary is going to get beat, Brady's going to get intercepted, there's going to be a fumble from a running back. These things have not happened to them lately, and they will happen. All I'm saying is, because they've been so dominant the last two weeks, they're not that good. Not that good. Not dominant. I may not pick against the Patriots from here through the Super Bowl. So, there's going to be one week -- maybe, maybe -- when I'm wrong. Otherwise, I'll be right every single week with this team. (From a WEEI interview)
* ESPN NFL analyst Mike Golic: Patriots over Packers. New England does not hurt themselves. They don’t make mistakes. They wait for you to make a mistake and then they pounce on it. As far as that defense goes, they were really bad early on. They still give up a ton of yards but they don’t break as much, they’re actually getting better. And that offense is machine-like. I think they are as close to unstoppable right now as we’ve seen when they went undefeated in the regular season. Green Bay, this could effectively knock them out of the playoffs.
* ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth: Patriots over Packers. I don’t think there’s any question right now, the New England Patriots are the most efficient team in the NFL. Offensively, they spread you out, they throw it around the field, they put points on the board, and then they just let their defense go. And they’re gonna create turnovers, that’s who they are. Green Bay right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Aaron Rodgers, but they’re so one-dimensional. I just can’t see them going into New England and winning this game.
* ESPN experts: All eight experts pick the Patriots to beat the Packers.
* Sunday Countdown: Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Ditka, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson all pick the Patriots.
* Madden simulation: Patriots 30, Packers 20. How much is Randy Moss regretting that trade right now? Sans Moss, the Patriots are now the offensive juggernauts of the NFL, and according to "Madden," the Packers are about to be their latest victim. Tom Brady throws for 350 yards and three touchdowns as the Pats move to 12-2 on the season.
* Matt Williamson, Scouts, Inc.: Patriots 35, Packers 20. (Insider)
* Make your Week 15 picks with our Pigskin Pick’Em contest.
* What's your prediction for Patriots-Packers? Leave it in the comments section of this blog post.