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New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) flexes following a first down against the Detroit Lions during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints face the Titans in one of Sunday's key NFL matchups. John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE/John David Mercer

Denver Broncos (8-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-9)

DENVER minus 3

Denver tailback Willis McGahee returns to his first NFL home 10 yards shy of becoming just the second player to post 1,000-yard rushing seasons with three teams.

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The pick BRONCOS

Miami Dolphins (5-9) at New England Patriots (11-3)

MIAMI plus 10

After combining for an NFL-record 906 yards passing in the season opener, another air show may well be in the offing.


New York Giants (7-7) at New York Jets (8-6)

N.Y. GIANTS plus 3

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A playoff spot in is on the line for both teams, but motivation has seemingly been in short supply in the Big Apple of late.

The pick JETS

Minnesota Vikings (2-12) at Washington Redskins (5-9) MINNESOTA plus 7 Minnesota at Washington might be an interesting matchup … if it was an NHL game.


San Diego Chargers (7-7) at Detroit Lions (9-5)

SAN DIEGO plus 3

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A Lions win here would mean only one team in the NFL has yet to make the playoffs this century, but we won't name names. Hint: They occasionally play in Toronto, surprise, surprise.

The pick LIONS

Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6)


The Eagles aren't exactly soaring, but they haven't had their playoff wings clipped yet.

The pick EAGLES

St. Louis Rams (2-12) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)

ST. LOUIS plus 17

It appears every player you can name in this one is hurt in some way. The Steelers defence will do enough, but the offence may be lacking.

The pick RAMS

Oakland Raiders (7-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-8)

OAKLAND plus 2

The Raiders defence has fallen on hard times, and QB Kyle Orton looked good in his Kansas City debut last Sunday, but ...

The pick RAIDERS

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) at Tennessee Titans (7-7)


Maurice Jones-Drew is shooting for his first NFL rushing title in a subpar season for Jacksonville. The Titans are shooting for the playoffs in a subpar season for RB Chris Johnson.

The pick TITANS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) at Carolina Panthers (5-9)

TAMPA BAY plus 8

In a game in which neither side can play defence, Carolina's offence will rule.


Arizona Cardinals (7-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

ARIZONA plus 4

Both sides are fighting for their playoff lives. Arizona has enough weapons, and enough desperation, to keep this very close.


Cleveland Browns (4-10) at Baltimore Ravens (10-4)


Just when you think the Ravens have it all figured out, they lay an egg (à la last Sunday in San Diego). Redemption time.

The pick RAVENS

San Francisco 49ers (11-3) at Seattle Seahawks (7-7)


The 49ers are on a short week, have to go into super-noisy (and likely rainy) CenturyLink Field to take on a pumped-up division rival.


Sunday Chicago Bears (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (13-1)

CHICAGO plus 13

The Packers will have no trouble deciding what to give their oldest rivals – the same thing doled out the other three times they've met in 2011, defeat.

The pick PACKERS

Monday Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at New Orleans Saints (11-3)

ATLANTA plus 7

Another Christmas will be history by the time these two teams take the field, and Dan Marino won't be far behind. Saints QB Drew Brees needs just 305 yards in his last two games to supplant the Dolphins legend as the holder of the NFL's single-season passing record.

The pick SAINTS


SEASON 110-103-11

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