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TODAY’S GAMES RAIDERS AT BUCCANEERS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Buccaneers by 13

Synopsis: To get in the playoffs, Tampa must win and Dallas must lose or tie. Oakland’s long out of it, but QB JaMarcus Russell has thrown for 478 yards and 4 TDs, with 1 interception, during the past 2 games. Tampa’s defense has struggled recently. Still . . .

PICK: Buccaneers 23, Raiders 13.

LIONS AT PACKERS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Packers by 10 1/2

Synopsis: It’s Detroit’s last chance to win, and it faces a team that’s lost 5 in a row. Although Detroit has been competitive in some recent games and the players want to avoid the 0-16 stigma, that probably won’t be enough to get things done here.

PICK: Packers 30, Lions 13.

GIANTS AT VIKINGS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Vikings by 7

Synopsis: Minnesota gains a playoff spot if it wins, whereas NY already has wrapped up the top seed in the NFC. Will the Giants go all out in a meaningless-to-them late-season game, as they did last year vs. unbeaten New England? Probably not. Coach Tom Coughlin has said, “No years are the same, no situations are the same. This will be dealt with as it should be under the context of where we are.” Translation: Look for a lot of regulars to play little, if at all.

PICK: Vikings 24, Giants 20.

BEARS AT TEXANS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Texans by 3

Synopsis: Chicago must win or tie and get help elsewhere to get into the playoffs, and faces a team that has won 5 of its last 6 home games and has the NFL’s 4th-rated aerial attack. Chicago is No. 28 vs. the pass and has lost 3 of its last 4 on the road.

PICK: Texans 27, Bears 17.

PANTHERS AT SAINTS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Panthers by 3

Synopsis: Carolina has wrapped up a playoff spot and is playing for a first-round bye, but the defense is banged up and rest for ailing players probably is more important than trying to go all out. New Orleans is lousy on the road but a force at home, and QB Drew Brees needs 402 passing yards to break Dan Marino’s single-season record.

PICK: Saints 30, Panthers 23.

RAMS AT FALCONS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Falcons by 14

Synopsis: Atlanta already has a playoff slot and wins the NFC South with a victory here and a Carolina loss. The Falcons should hold up their half of the equation, as they face a team that’s lost 9 in a row and has lost its last 3 road outings by an average of 29 points. Rams are 28th vs. the run and face the NFL’s 5th-ranked ground attack.

PICK: Falcons 30, Rams 13.

CHIEFS AT BENGALS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Bengals by 3

Synopsis: Miserable teams meet in a matchup that has meaning only to close relatives and draft positioning. Who cares?

Pick: Bengals 23, Chiefs 21.

TITANS AT COLTS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Titans by 3

Synopsis: This is the only matchup between two teams already locked into their playoff position, and with the possibility of them meeting in the postseason look for a close-to-the-vest game plan from both, with many first stringers getting a lot of time off. Seven Titans starters are hurt or ill and don’t figure to play much, if at all.

PICK: Colts 23, Titans 17.

BROWNS AT STEELERS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Steelers by 11

Synopsis: Pittsburgh is locked into the No. 2 slot in the AFC playoffs, and Cleveland long has been assured of missing the playoffs. Coach Mike Tomlin has been making noise that his starters could play a lot, but it’s hard to believe dinged-up QB Ben Roethlisberger will do so.

PICK: Steelers 20, Browns 6.

PATRIOTS AT BILLS

When: 1 p.m. Line: Patriots by 6

Synopsis: New England must win and get some help to make the playoffs and gets a favorite whipping post here — Pats have won 10 in a row vs. the Bills, and 15 of 16. QB Matt Cassel is humming (14 TD passes, just 4 interceptions) in his last 6 outings, and works vs. a pass defense that struggled last week. It should be uncharacteristically warm (temperature in the upper 40s), but rain and wind are forecast.

PICK: Patriots 27, Bills 20.

SEAHAWKS AT CARDINALS

When: 4:15 p.m. Line: Cardinals by 6 1/2

Synopsis: Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt has said the team will go all out after being blown out in its last 2 outings after clinching a playoff slot, but it’s hard to imagine QB Kurt Warner and most of the other starters on the field in the 4th quarter no matter how close this one is then. It’s the finale for Seattle coach Mike Holmgren.

PICK: Cardinals 23, Seahawks 16.

REDSKINS AT 49ERS

When: 4:15 p.m. Line: 49ers by 3

Synopsis: Neither team can make the playoffs, but SF has adjusted to that situation for many weeks and has been playing better (winning its last 2 home games). Given the Skins’ offensive problems, the fact San Francisco has allowed fewer than 17 points in all but one of its games since early November plus Washington traveling cross-country for a meaningless game, look for the 49ers to prevail.

PICK: 49ers 25, Redskins 10.

COWBOYS AT EAGLES

When: 4:15 p.m. Line: Eagles by 1 1/2

Synopsis: Dallas’ tumultuous season comes down to this — win and it’s in the playoffs. It’s not so simple for Philly, who must win and get help. Dallas needs to shore up a previously stout run defense that allowed Baltimore to gain 265 yards on the ground last week.

PICK: Cowboys 26, Eagles 20.

JAGUARS AT RAVENS

When: 4:15 p.m. Line: Ravens by 12 1/2

Synopsis: Baltimore gets into the playoffs if either New England loses earlier in the day or if the Ravens win here. And the outcome of the Patriots’ game should have a huge impact on how much playing time the Ravens’ starters get, making this one tough to call. Injury-ravaged Jacksonville has lost 4 of 5.

PICK OF THE WEEK (TO WIN): Ravens 20, Jaguars 10.

DOLPHINS AT JETS

When: 4:15 p.m. Line: Jets by 3

Synopsis: Miami wins the AFC East if it’s victorious. NY needs to win, with New England or Baltimore falling. This could be the career finale for Jets QB Brett Favre, who is banged up and has been struggling recently. The man the Jets traded to make room for him, Chad Pennington, makes his homecoming and has outshined Favre this year.

PICK: Jets 23, Dolphins 17.

BRONCOS AT CHARGERS

When: 8:20 p.m. Line: Chargers by 8

Synopsis: The winner claims the AFC West title, the loser is done (Denver advances via a tie). Denver had a 3-game lead with 3 weeks to go but is on the verge of an epic collapse and its RB corps is an injury-ravaged mess. San Diego has won 3 in a row. Both clubs are in the top 7 in passing and the bottom 6 in pass defense.

PICK OF THE WEEK (vs. point spread): Chargers 31, Broncos 27.

RECORD:

Overall: Last week, 5-11. Season, 159-84-1.

Vs. point spread: Last week, 4-12. Season, 113-123-8.

PICK OF THE WEEK:

To win: Last week, Right. Season, 15-1.

Point spread: Last week, Right. Season, 10-6.

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