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December 17, 2012

Predicting the NFL is a fool's game

So you think you know the NFL?

Perhaps you can predict the future, tame the weather and forecast winning lottery numbers, too.

Those claiming to know what will happen in pro football need only look at what went on this wild weekend, which featured a half-dozen super matchups that didn’t turn out quite so super.

Nothing could be juicier than the defending champion New York Giants at Atlanta.

Oops: Falcons 34, Giants 0.

OK, then Denver at Baltimore. Delicious.

Sorry: Broncos 34, Ravens 17.

Houston, coming off an embarrassing Monday night rout at New England, against Indianapolis for AFC South supremacy.

Pffft: Texans 29-17 to clinch the division.

For something even more absurd than the lack of competitiveness in those games, try this one: San Francisco 31, New England 3 in the third quarter.

And this: Patriots 31, 49ers 31 with 6:43 left in the fourth quarter.

Just when the Patriots were on their way to matching the greatest regular-season comeback win in NFL history, the Niners turned around and won 41-34.

“It’s a little bit crazy, a little bit surreal,” said 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who threw for a career-best four touchdowns in his fifth start since replacing Alex Smith.

A little bit? That’s the NFL this season.

If anyone thinks the weirdness has ended with two weeks remaining, well, don’t count on it.

“The season’s not over,” Tom Brady said after his team that doesn’t lose at home in December (20 straight wins heading into the San Francisco game) or in the second half of the schedule (21 straight victories anywhere) lost. And committed four turnovers, nearly half the 10 it had given away beforehand. “There’s still a lot of football to play.”

Plenty of meaningful football. About the only thing predictable is that there will be lots of surprises in those remaining games, too.

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