The Washington Redskins, a team with a solid defense that is a legitimate playoff contender, goes to Foxborough on Sunday to play New England as a 16-point underdog.
That is a measure of how dominant the Patriots are this season - more than a two-touchdown favorite over a winning team.
In a sense, it figures - New England has yet to beat anyone by fewer than 17 points. Which, of course, means nothing to Bill Belichick.
``I don't think our record means anything as far as this week goes. I don't think it will mean anything as far as any other week goes,'' he said.
``We just try to take each week at face value, for what it is, where our team is, where our opponent is. I just think about what our team needs to do to put itself in the best position to compete against a very good team that's coming in here on Sunday in Washington.''
Call it coachspeak. Call it sincere. Call it standard Belichick. It's just a way to tell his players that no matter what the oddsmakers say and no matter what the standings say, his team can still lose.
Maybe, but not to Washington and not in Foxborough.
Yes, the Redskins are a decent team, a potential playoff team in the NFC. And their defense is probably the best the Patriots have faced this season.
But New England is a unique team for the salary cap era. In fact, they're a lot like the 1991 Redskins, who finished 14-2 and went on to win the Super Bowl, outscoring their postseason opponents 102-41.
The coach of those Redskins was Joe Gibbs. The coach of these Redskins is Joe Gibbs.
That's the only similarity.
PATRIOTS, 34-17
---
New York Giants (minus 9) vs. Miami (London)
Both teams will be jet lagged. Doesn't matter. The Dolphins have been jet lagged all season.
GIANTS, 37-17

Indianapolis (minus 6 1/2) at Carolina
The Panthers are 0-2 at home, 4-2 on the road and the Colts aren't the kind of team that looks ahead - New England is next week.
COLTS 33-21

Detroit (plus 5) at Chicago
The Lions won in Brian Griese's first start as Chicago's QB. They're also awful on the road.
BEARS, 31-10

Green Bay (plus 3) at Denver (Monday night)
The Broncos awoke last week. The Packers regrouped after a lucky win.
BRONCOS, 21-20

Pittsburgh (minus 3) at Cincinnati
Ben Roethlisberger doesn't throw ducks like Chad Pennington.
STEELERS, 27-19

Cleveland (minus 3) at St. Louis
Is this a measure of how much the Browns have improved or how far the Rams have fallen?
BROWNS, 31-20

Jacksonville (plus 4 1/2) at Tampa Bay
A lot depends on the state of David Garrard's ankle.
BUCS, 15-10

Oakland (plus 7) at Tennessee
Never mind Vince Young's quad, go with Rob Bironas' foot.
TITANS, 26-13

Philadelphia (minus 1) at Minnesota
Neither team can score.
EAGLES, 16-14

Houston (off) at San Diego
Questions about Matt Schaub's availability. Questions about the site of the game.
CHARGERS, 24-10

New Orleans (minus 3) at San Francisco?
The Saints' surge stops here.
49ers, 20-14

Buffalo (plus 3) at New York Jets
The Jets are probably due. Probably.
JETS 17-16
LAST WEEK: 5-9 (spread); 8-6 (straight up)
SEASON: 51-47-5 (spread); 68-35 (straight up)

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