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NFL 2012 picks from Globe staff

The Globe’s football staff makes its picks for winners during the 2012 season:

DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Patriots – 16-0. Borrowing a page from the 2011 Red Sox, the Patriots are “Best Team Ever.”

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AFC East – New England

AFC North – Pittsburgh

AFC South – Houston

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AFC West – San Diego

AFC wild cards – Baltimore, Oakland

NFC East — NY Giants

NFC North – Green Bay

NFC South — New Orleans

NFC West — San Francisco

NFC wild cards – Dallas, Detroit

Super BowlGiants over Patriots. Crosby, Stills & Nash sing “Déjà vu” at halftime show in New Orleans

CHRISTOPHER L. GASPER

Patriots — 14-2. Maybe Brian Waters comes back for the Super Bowl.

AFC East — New England

AFC North — Pittsburgh

AFC South — Houston

AFC West — Denver

AFC wild cards — Baltimore, Indianapolis

NFC East — Philadelphia

NFC North — Green Bay

NFC South — Atlanta

NFC West — San Francisco

NFC wild cards — NY Giants, New Orleans

Super Bowl Patriots over Falcons. Patriot Place becomes Legacy Place as Belichick and Brady finally win a fourth title.

GREG A. BEDARD

Patriots — 14-2. The quarterback mismatches on the schedule are ridiculous, and the league is all about the quarterbacks.

AFC East — New England

AFC North — Baltimore

AFC South — Houston

AFC West — Kansas City

AFC wild cards — Buffalo, San Diego

NFC East — Dallas

NFC North — Green Bay

NFC South — New Orleans

NFC West — San Francisco

NFC wild cards — Philadelphia, Carolina

Super Bowl Packers over Patriots. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers finally go head to head in perhaps a changing of the guard. Unfortunately their “defenses” have to play.

SHALISE MANZA YOUNG

Patriots — 13-3. On paper, they have the easiest schedule in the NFL, and it looks like the AFC is in a down year. A Week 3 prime-time game against Baltimore will be a big early-season challenge.

AFC East — New England

AFC North — Baltimore

AFC South — Houston

AFC West — Kansas City

AFC wild cards — Pittsburgh, Denver

NFC East — NY Giants

NFC North — Green Bay

NFC South — Carolina

NFC West ­— San Francisco

NFC wild cards — Philadelphia, New Orleans

Super Bowl — Patriots over Packers. This is the prediction for the second year in a row, but both will need improved defenses to make it this far.

SCOTT THURSTON

Patriots — 14-2. Have you checked out this schedule? Put me down for 15-1 if the defense steps up and wins a game this year.

AFC East — New England

AFC North — Baltimore

AFC South — Houston

AFC West — San Diego

AFC wild cards — Pittsburgh, Denver

NFC East — NY Giants

NFC North — Green Bay

NFC South — Atlanta

NFC West — San Francisco

NFC wild cards — Dallas, New Orleans

Super Bowl — Patriots over 49ers. With four guys covering Gronk in red zone, a wide-open Wes Welker atones for the “drop” in last year’s loss to Giants with winning TD reception.

JIM McBRIDE

Patriots — 13-3. I was originally thinking 11-5, but now that Greg Salas is aboard . . .

AFC East — New England

AFC North — Baltimore

AFC South — Houston

AFC West — Kansas City

AFC wild cards — Cincinnati, Denver

NFC East — NY Giants

NFC North — Green Bay

NFC South — New Orleans

NFC West — San Francisco

NFC wild cards — Chicago, Atlanta

Super Bowl — Ravens over 49ers. Ed Reed’s clock-cleaning hit on Randy Moss in the end zone as time expires finally brings a smile to John Harbaugh’s face. Jim Harbaugh? Not so much.

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