Tampa Bay (6-3) at Atlanta (6-3): The teams may have the same record, but we just see the Falcons as being a clearly better team. Sure, they didn't show it last week against Green Bay, but Michael Vick and Co. will rebound. Atlanta, 20-17.
Carolina (7-2) at Chicago (6-3): This is a lot better game than a lot of people might think. The Panthers might be the best team in the NFC, but the Bears are awfully good on defense and if it's as windy as it was last Sunday in Chicago, neither team is going to have much success on offense. Chicago, 13-10.
Pittsburgh (7-2) at Baltimore (2-7): This isn't the mismatch the records might indicate. The Ravens played the Steelers awfully tough when the teams met at Heinz Field a couple of weeks ago, and that was with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Now, the Steelers have to go with Tommy Maddox. We're tempted to go with the upset special here, but ... Pittsburgh, 14-10.
Detroit (4-5) at Dallas (6-3): The Cowboys are coming off a big-time win at Philly on Monday night and there might be a bit of a letdown here. That's the only way Detroit has a shot in this one. Dallas, 24-21.
Miami (3-6) at Cleveland (3-6): Two teams with new coaches trying to rebuild. As of Friday afternoon, we still didn't know whether Gus Frerotte was going to be able to start for the Dolphins, but it might not make a difference anyway. The truth is Cleveland has been playing decent defense in recent weeks. Cleveland, 19-16.
New Orleans (2-7) at New England (5-4): The Pats have gone win, lose, win, lose all year, but it's time for their first winning streak of the season. New England, 27-17.
Philadelphia (4-5) at N.Y. Giants (6-3): The Eagles are in deep trouble. Mike McMahon will start at quarterback and that's not good news for a team with no running game. The Giants should bounce back after the embarrassing loss to Minnesota. N.Y. Giants, 24-14.
Arizona (2-7) at St. Louis (4-5): Anquan Boldin returns for the Cardinals and that will help. But it won't help their defense, which won't be able to stop the Rams offense. St. Louis, 35-21.
Jacksonville (6-3) at Tennessee (2-7): The Jaguars quietly have put themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff race, mostly by beating the teams they're supposed to beat. Tennessee qualifies as that. Jacksonville, 24-20.
Oakland (3-6) at Washington (5-4): The Redskins suffered a heartbreaking loss at Tampa Bay last week, while the Raiders gave the game away to Denver. The Redskins defense has sprung some holes in recent weeks, and we're thinking Kerry Collins and LaMont Jordan might have a big day. Upset special. Oakland, 26-23.
Seattle (7-2) at San Francisco (2-7): Mismatch. Doesn't matter who plays QB for the 49ers. Seattle, 35-14.
Indianapolis (9-0) at Cincinnati (7-2): The Bengals are a chic pick in this game because they're good and because the Colts won't go undefeated. But Cincy couldn't stop the Pittsburgh running game several weeks back, and they won't be able to stop Edgerrin James. Indy will lose, but not this week. Indianapolis, 28-24.
N.Y. Jets (2-7) at Denver (7-2): Yawn. Another mismatch. Denver, 30-10.
Buffalo (4-5) at San Diego (5-4): Two teams coming off byes. JP Losman starts at quarterback for Buffalo, but the Bills can't slow down LT, Brees and Gates. San Diego, 31-16.
Kansas City (5-4) at Houston (1-8): ESPN has got to be loving this matchup, huh? Ugh. The Texans are bad, real bad. The Chiefs aren't great, either, but they're in a different league. Kansas City, 34-10.
Monday, November 21
Minnesota (4-5) at Green Bay (2-7): The Vikings have won two in a row since Brad Johnson replaced Daunte Culpepper at quarterback to get themselves back in the NFC playoff race. But they only beat the Giants because of their historic triple play (touchdowns on interception, punt and kickoff returns). Green Bay, meanwhile, has been playing much better lately, even if the results aren't always there. They will be this week. Green Bay, 27-16.
Last week's record: 8-6
Season record: 98-46