Carolina Panthers (2-7) at Detroit Lions (6-3)
CAROLINA plus 7
If Carolina doesn’t fall behind too much too early, the Lions’ 27th-ranked run defence will see a lot of the DeAngelo Williams-Jonathan Stewart-Cam Newton ground monster (each averaging 4.7 yards/carry or better).
The pick PANTHERS
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) at Cleveland Browns (3-6)
JACKSONVILLE minus 1
The banged-up Browns will give running back Chris Ogbonnaya another start; the quietly stout Jags defence is pleased.
The pick JAGUARS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) at Green Bay Packers (9-0)
TAMPA BAY plus 15
Green Bay averages 35.6 points to Tampa’s 17.3, with the Packers a perfect 4-0 against the spread at Lambeau Field. You do the math.
The pick PACKERS
Dallas Cowboys (5-4) at Washington Redskins (3-6)
DALLAS minus 8
Washington coach Mike Shanahan can shuffle the quarterbacking deck all he wants, it won’t matter a lick against a suddenly rampant Cowboys outfit.
The pick COWBOYS
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) at Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
CINCINNATI plus 7
Another performance like last week’s and the Ravens will have thrown away any advantage gained from sweeping the Steelers. On the bright side, they are 4-0 at home.
The pick BENGALS
Oakland Raiders (5-4) at Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
OAKLAND minus 1
Carson Palmer looked sharp using a limited playbook last Thursday. After another 10 days to learn the Raiders plan, the veteran QB faces one of the worst pass defences in the NFL.
The pick RAIDERS
Buffalo Bills (5-4) at Miami Dolphins (2-7)
BUFFALO plus 1
The Bills aren’t out of the playoff picture just yet, but the flame is starting to flicker.
The pick BILLS
Seattle Seahawks (3-6) at St. Louis Rams (2-7)
SEATTLE plus 2
The Seahawks had been moving the ball on the ground with authority in recent weeks (surprise, Ravens!), but lost their starting right guard AND right tackle to knee injuries in recent days.
The pick RAMS
Arizona Cardinals (3-6) at San Francisco 49ers (8-1)
ARIZONA plus 10
Backup QB John Skelton has the Cards on a two-game win streak. That will end Sunday, in what looks to be a rainy day by the bay.
The pick 49ERS
Tennessee Titans (5-4) at Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
TENNESSEE plus 7
The light may have finally clicked on for Titans running back Chris Johnson.
The pick TITANS
San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Chicago Bears (6-3)
SAN DIEGO plus 4
Who would have guessed that last year’s playoff pariah, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, would be outperforming preseason MVP front-runner Philip Rivers?
The pick BEARS
Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) at New York Giants (6-3)
PHILADELPHIA plus 5
No Michael Vick (ribs), no Jeremy Maclin (shoulder) … the Eagles “dream team” season is in tatters.
The pick GIANTS
Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) at New England Patriots (6-3)
KANSAS CITY plus 15
It hardly seems fair giving Patriots head coach Bill Belichick an extra day to prepare for a Chiefs team shorn of their heart and soul, former New England quarterback Matt Cassel (hand).
The pick PATRIOTS
Bye week: Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Houston
Last week 10-5-1