Is this the week the Patriots' streak ends?

Friday, October 15th 2004, 8:58 am
By: News On 6

(AP)_In the first 232 minutes of its season, Seattle held opponents to 23 points. Then it allowed 23 in the next 11 minutes, blowing last week's game to St. Louis in overtime.

So now it's the one-loss Seahawks instead of the unbeaten ones who will try to end New England's record 19-game winning streak on Sunday in Foxboro. It might take a little luster off the matchup, but Seattle is certainly the best team the Patriots have faced since their opener, when they barely held on against Indianapolis.

The Patriots are favored by four points, a number that reflects the Seahawks' ability. That's the home-field plus one, perhaps for the Seahawks' air mileage.

New England will have to play better this week than it did against Miami, when it won simply by showing up. And Tom Brady will probably need more than seven completions for 76 yards, which is what he did against the Dolphins.

Mike Holmgren was relatively calm after the loss to the Rams, although the Seahawks' coach acknowledged that in the past, he might have ``erupted like Mount St. Helens.''

Holmgren has won one Super Bowl, been to another and is probably one of the few offensive coaches in the league who can match wits with New England coach Bill Belichick.

More motivation for Seattle: Matt Hasselbeck's father spent seven years as a tight end with the Patriots. He was a ball boy for the team, and he went to Boston College.

The streak has to end some time.

The Patriots may say they don't feel the pressure, but as with the 1998 Broncos _ the last team to win 18 straight before New England _ they know it's there.

That Denver team went on to win the Super Bowl.

New England will take this loss and that win.


Carolina (plus 8 1/2) at Philadelphia

The Eagles want revenge for the loss in last season's NFC championship game.

How can they not get it with so many Panthers out, the latest All-Pro defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, who is lost for the season with a shoulder injury?

EAGLES, 27-10

Green Bay (plus 2) at Detroit

Even when the Packers are playing well and the Lions badly, Detroit often beats Green Bay at home.

LIONS, 28-20

Tampa Bay (plus 6) at St. Louis (Monday night)

Another trend: Brian Griese plays badly after a good game.

RAMS, 17-6

Pittsburgh (plus 3) at Dallas

If Big Ben survives Tuna's defense, he should have been the No. 1 overall pick.

COWBOYS, 13-12

Miami (plus 6 1/2) at Buffalo

Three of Buffalo's four losses are by a total of eight points.

BILLS, 11-3

San Diego (plus 5) at Atlanta

Drew Brees' passer rating is 100. Michael Vick's is 77.7

Vick has better legs.

FALCONS, 26-20

Kansas City (minus 1 1/2) at Jacksonville

Two teams going in opposite directions?

CHIEFS, 23-20

Minnesota (minus 3) at New Orleans

No one can figure out the Saints, certainly not Jim Haslett.

SAINTS, 34-33

Denver (minus 1 1/2) at Oakland

Mike Shanahan, fired by the Raiders in 1989, is 14-4 against them.

BRONCOS, 20-14

San Francisco (plus 10) at New York Jets

The 49ers have allowed 66 points in two road games.

JETS, 66-20

Houston (plus 6 1/2) at Tennessee

The Texans will put up more resistance than the Packers.

TITANS, 24-20

Cincinnati (plus 3) at Cleveland

Marvin Lewis over Butch Davis because Lewis has had a week to prepare.

BENGALS, 24-23

Washington (pick 'em) at Chicago

Good defense vs. bad offense on both sides.

BEARS, 10-6

LAST WEEK: 8-6 (spread), 10-4 (straight up)

SEASON: 41-31-2 (spread), 53-21 (straight up)