When: 1 p.m. Line: Browns by 3
Synopsis: Houston is 0-5 on the road, but the last 3 losses have been by a TD or less. Defense is the problem as the Texans allow 28.7 points per game, No. 30 in the NFL. Cleveland has turned to Brady Quinn at QB, but he broke the index finger on his throwing hand last week but plans to play. The offense manages just 287 yards a game, No. 27.
PICK: Browns 24, Texans 23.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Bills by 3
Synopsis: Bills have lost 4 in a row and last 13 quarters QB Trent Edwards has thrown 8 interceptions, lost 2 fumbles and given up a safety. KC 3rd stringer Tyler Thigpen has done the opposite. In his last 4 starts he’s completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 8 TDs and only 1 interception. KC is getting healthier and faces a banged-up Bills secondary.
PICK: Chiefs 23, Bills 17.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Titans by 5
Synopsis: Both teams are sizzling. Tennessee is the NFL’s lone undefeated team and N.Y. has won 6 of 7. This will be only the third NFL regular-season game to feature starting quarterbacks with more than 100,000 yards passing combined. N.Y.’s Brett Favre has 63,892 yards, Tennessee’s Kerry Collins has 36,472. Tennessee allows just 13.1 points per game, No. 1 in the NFL. New York scores 28.9, tops in the AFC.
PICK: Jets 24, Titans 20.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Dolphins by 1
Synopsis: Miami pulled an upset when the teams met in September, as New England couldn’t figure out the visiting Dolphins’ new Wildcat offense. But the Pats have had plenty of time to study film. On offense, QB Matt Cassel is coming off a monster 400-yard passing game and New England hasn’t been swept by a division foe since 2000.
PICK: Patriots 23, Dolphins 17.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Cowboys by 10
Synopsis: Dallas QB Tony Romo looked shaky at times last week in his first outing since suffering a broken pinkie, but that was vs. Washington’s stout defense. We’ll know if he’s back here, because if he doesn’t feast on SF’s 25th-ranked pass defense there is cause for concern. 49ers QB Shaun Hill makes his 2nd road start, after a shaky outing in Arizona.
PICK OF THE WEEK (to win and vs. point spread): Cowboys 28, 49ers 16.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Buccaneers by 8
Synopsis: Tampa, in the thick of the wild-card race, tries to keep Detroit winless, but it’s not a given. The Bucs needed a big rally when they played at lowly K.C. a few weeks ago to win. Tampa RB Earnest Graham is out for the year so Warrick Dunn takes over and Cadillac Williams might play for the first time this season. Tampa’s defense is No. 5 in the NFL.
PICK: Buccaneers 20, Lions 16.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Ravens by 1
Synopsis: Philly comes off a messy tie with Cincy, now RB Brian Westbrook is nursing injuries and might not play. Baltimore is 3-1 at home, has the NFL’s 3rd-rated defense and rookie QB Joe Flacco has been steady.
PICK: Ravens 20, Eagles 16.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Bears by 7
Synopsis: Chicago is tied for first in the NFC Central despite being just 5-5, QB Kyle Orton is banged up and the Bears have the NFL’s 22nd-rated offense. But they face a team allowing the most points in the league (31.7 a game) and its popgun offense is minus ailing RB Steven Jackson.
Pick: Bears 23, Rams 17.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Jaguars by 2
Synopsis: Minnesota unleashes Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s leading ground gainer, against the 20th-ranked run defense. But the Vikes are just 1-4 on the road and are in a stretch of 4 of 5 games on the road.
PICK: Jaguars 23, Vikings 13.
When: 1 p.m. Line: Falcons by 1
Synopsis: If Carolina wins and N.Y. loses at Arizona, the Panthers will tie the Giants for the best record in the NFC. But Carolina’s defense is mediocre vs. the run, and Atlanta’s 2nd-rated ground attack, led by Michael Turner, will be pounding away.
PICK: Falcons 24, Panthers 17.
When: 4:05 p.m. Line: Broncos by 9
Synopsis: Oakland hasn’t scored an offensive TD in 13 quarters, which means Denver’s 29th-ranked defense might hold someone under 20 points for the first time in 6 games. Look for the Broncos to try to establish a ground game vs. the NFL’s 30th-ranked run defense.
PICK: Broncos 26, Raiders 13.
When: 4:15 p.m. Line: Redskins by 3
Synopsis: Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck makes his 2nd start after a long injury-caused absence, but the Seahawks are a lost cause. Washington’s better on the road (3-1) than home (3-3) and is in the playoff race despite scoring just 18.1 points per game. They win with defense (No. 4 overall).
PICK: Redskins 21, Seahawks 17.
When: 4:15 p.m. Line: Giants by 3
Synopsis: Top NFC game of the day, as Arizona QB Kurt Warner is a leading MVP candidate as he guides the NFL’s 2nd-ranked offense vs. the 2nd-ranked defense. N.Y. leads the league in scoring (29.1 points per game) and key RB Brandon Jacobs plans to play despite a knee injury. However, WR Plaxico Burress (hamstring injury) might be sidelined.
PICK: Cardinals 30, Giants 26.
When: 8:20 p.m. Line: Chargers by 3
Synopsis: Indy has won 3 in a row to right itself, while San Diego is in free fall, losing 3 of 4. Indy QB Peyton Manning has struggled vs. the Chargers, with 6 interceptions in his last outing. San Diego needs this one desperately and S Bob Sanders, the key to Indy’s defense, might not play (knee ailment).
PICK: Chargers 26, Colts 21.
When: 8:40 p.m. Line: Saints by 3
Synopsis: New Orleans unleashes the NFL’s top aerial attack against the No. 3 pass defense. Green Bay has lost 3 of its last 4 road games. In a twist, both teams are 5-5, but Chicago is tied for the NFC North lead and New Orleans is last in the NFC South. Saints RB Reggie Bush hopes to return from a knee injury that has sidelined him for several games.
PICK: Saints 30, Packers 23.
Overall: Last week, 11-4-1; Season, 105-54-1
Vs. point spread: Last week, 9-7; Season, 75-81-4
PICK OF THE WEEK:
To win: Last week, Right; Season, 10-1
Vs. point spread: Last week, Wrong; Season, 5-6