PATRIOTS (3-2) at SEAHAWKS (3-2), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: A legit Game of the Week nominee, with Patriots putting that big, great offense up against a Seahawks defense that is terrific. Seattle also is a better team at home. Upset watch here but I can’t not like a Patriots offense that has Tom Brady and averages 165 yards on the ground.
Prediction: Patriots, 27-23
COWBOYS (2-2) at RAVENS (4-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: This one got a brief whiff from the Game of the Week panel. Dallas coming in off a bye and Ravens off their game last week, barely beating KC, has a leveling effect here. But Baltimore has won 13 straight regular-season home games and I see a bounce-back from Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and that crowd.
Prediction: Ravens, 24-19
RAMS (3-2) at DOLPHINS (2-3), 1 p.m.
Outlook: The Rams’ best offensive threat, Steven Jackson, won’t do much against Miami’s tough run defense, and QB Sam Bradford will be missing his top target in the injured Danny Amendola. Key for Miami on offense will be the play of the line, because the Rams can do that sack dance. Rams are 0-2 on the road and catching a Dolphins team feeling very confident. St. Louis hasn’t had a three-game winning streak since 2006. Why start now?
Prediction: Dolphins, 19-13
CHIEFS (1-4) at BUCCANEERS (1-3), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Easy choice for the Dog panel, which hailed this game the worst of the week. Chiefs played Ravens tough in a 9-6 loss last week but lose QB Matt Cassel to a concussion. KC fans cheered Cassel’s injury — but only because they hadn’t seen Brady Quinn play. He makes his first start since 2009. Both teams’ propensity to ineptness makes this a nervous call either way, but Chiefs are a turnover waiting to happen, so give me the home team coming off a bye.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 24-20
RAIDERS (1-3) at FALCONS (5-0), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Here is the NFL’s other unbeaten team, and it’s hard to imagine the Falcons not staying that way in this one. Atlanta is 27-0 when Matt Ryan has a 100 passer rating, and Ryan should go happy-stats-nuts against a pass-D allowing a 71.5 completion percentage. Also, Atlanta has won six in a row at home while Oakland is 0-2 on the road by a combined 72-19 score.
Prediction: Falcons, 34-16
BENGALS (3-2) at BROWNS (0-5), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Ohio is too close to call with Obama-Romney, and apparently with Bengals-Browns, too. Near pick-‘em game finds the Browns with a big shot to get off the winless schneid in the Pound, especially with top CB Joe Haden back from suspension and a good bet to neutralize A.J. Green. Cincy has won 13 of past 16 in this rivalry, including 34-27 in September, but every Dawg has its day. Upset!
Prediction: Browns, 24-21
COLTS (2-2) at JETS (2-3), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Struggling Jets offense is sticking with QB Mark Sanchez for now. Could it be because the alternative is Tim Tebow? Going from Sanchez to Tebow is like wanting a safer neighborhood and moving from Beirut to Fallujah. Andrew Luck and rejuvenated Reggie Wayne are coming off a big upset of Packers, but Jets are too desperate for something good to happen to not find a way at home.
Prediction: Jets, 23-20
LIONS (1-3) at EAGLES (3-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Lions have lost six in a row in the series since last beating Philly in 1986. And on a 1-6 road skid, allowing 36.6 points per game in the process. Nevertheless, I’d still play this one closer than the bet line. Philly and Mike Vick are error-prone, while Detroit is desperate and off a bye.
Prediction: Eagles, 27-24
BILLS (2-3) at CARDINALS (4-1), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: Buffalo’s defense has allowed 1,201 yards the past two games — most by any team over a two-game stretch since 1950. That same defense has been outscored 52-7 in the past two fourth quarters, indication of a team quitting. Did I mention the Bills’ offense also is struggling? Chan Gailey could be the first coach fired. On the other side, Arizona has won eight straight at home.
Prediction: Cardinals, 24-10
GIANTS (3-2) at 49ERS (4-1), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Game of the Week committee looked hard at Green Bay-Houston for Week 6, too, but how can you turn down a grudge rematch of last season’s NFC championship game? Niners lost that one at home on their own mistakes. They want this one. Badly. Both teams have explosive offenses, but even the Giants can’t match the balance of a 49ers squad that last week became first team ever with 300 yards passing AND rushing in the same game. Also, only one of these teams has a really good defense, and it’s not the Giants. I’d still play this one inside the betting line, though. Eli Manning is awfully good to get a five-point head start.
Prediction: 49ers, 31-27
VIKINGS (4-1) at REDSKINS (2-3), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: This stayed off betting boards late because of Washington QB Robert Griffin III leaving last week’s game with a mild concussion. He has been cleared to play and likely will, and this pick assumes he’ll do just that. Think Vikings would have been a small favorite, but I see Minnesota due a road stumble, and Skins are way beyond due to end that eight-game home losing streak.
Prediction: Redskins, 21-20
PACKERS (2-3) at TEXANS (5-0), 8:20 p.m.
Outlook: “AAAWWWK!” bleats the Upset Bird, tipsy on Old Milwaukee and wearing a cheesehead hat. “Green Bay Paaawwwk!” Love this ready-for-prime-time matchup. Two big offenses led by Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster. And two exciting defenses led by Clay Matthews and J.J. Watt. (Houston will miss injured LB Brain Cushing, though.) Green Bay’s D will have its hands full; then again, Matt Schaub has not yet faced a pass rush like the Pack’s. I’m banking on Greg Jennings playing and on Green Bay being fired up to prove to doubters they’re still elite. “And another unbeaten falls beak-first into the dust,” notes U-Bird. “Somebody wake the ’72 Dolphins. Still perfect! Still 17 and aaawwwk!”
Prediction: Packers, 28-27
BRONCOS (2-3) at CHARGERS (3-2), 8:30 p.m.
Outlook: A bit of Game of the Week heft from this one, too, what with the division battle, the Monday stage and the prospect of a shootout. Peyton Manning is 11-4 on MNF, and Philip Rivers 7-3, so the gunslingers will be ready. Denver has won two of past three in San Diego, but as a Colt this was a nemesis opponent for Manning — 1-5 personal run vs. S.D. with 15 picks — so I’m riding Rivers at home.
Prediction: Chargers, 34-30
– Greg Cote, The Miami Herald; last week: 11-3; season: 43-34