PATRIOTS THIS WEEK

Chargers (3-4) at Patriots (5-2), 1 p.m. (CBS)

Outlook: Maybe this could be an upset alert, with the Chargers on a three-game winning streak and riding a hot quarterback in Philip Rivers, who faces a Patriots secondary that is bad and depleted. Nevertheless, faith in Tom Brady at home remains a near-absolute in my prognosticating canon.

Spread: Patriots -71/2

Prediction: Patriots, 31-26

GAME OF THE WEEK

Broncos (3-3) at Chiefs (5-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN)

Outlook: The home field and Kansas City’s much more dynamic offense should make up for Denver’s edge on defense in a tasty AFC West matchup fit for the Monday night stage. The NFL always has paled next to college football for great rivalries, but this is one of the NFL’s better ones. The Chiefs have won three straight in the series and should be able to end a two-game losing streak. The Broncos’ tepid offense will find it hard to outscore Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt.

Spread: Chiefs -71/2

Prediction: Chiefs, 27-17.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Steelers (5-2) at Lions (3-3), 8:30 p.m. (NBC)

Outlook: Pittsburgh’s offense has been inconsistent, ranking 30th in red-zone efficiency, and now deals with benched WR Martavis Bryant calling for a trade. Detroit’s ambitious defense (14 takeaways) can cause Ben Roethlisberger problems.

Spread: Steelers -21/2

Prediction: Lions, 24-20

OTHER GAMES

Vikings (5-2, -9) over Browns (0-7) in London, 27-6: Another London game! Ho hum. Novelty’s gone, NFL. A change of continents won’t help the Browns, as the Vikings defense dominates.

At Bills (4-2, -21/2) over Raiders (3-4), 24-21: Buffalo is 3-0 at home, Oakland is missing suspended RB Marshawn Lynch, and the Raiders’ ‘D’ is not much beyond Khalil Mack.

At Bengals (2-4, -11) over Colts (2-5), 27-13: Cincinnati is decent-bad, and Indianapolis is just unequivocally bad. Andrew Luck’s (eventual) return will be too late to save the Colts’ season.

At Saints (4-2, -9) over Bears (3-4), 28-17: New Orleans has won four straight for the first time in four years, and Mitchell Trubisky’s no-passing Bears offense will not outscore Drew Brees.

Falcons (3-3, -4) over At Jets (3-4), 23-20: Matt Ryan and his struggling offense hope to avoid laying an 0-4 egg vs. the AFC East, but a continued slide by the Falcons would not surprise.

At Eagles (6-1, -13) over 49ers (0-7), 37-13: The Eagles lost tackle Jason Peters and LB Jordan Hicks to injuries, but the effect won’t show here. Carson Wentz is an early league MVP candidate.

At Buccaneers (2-4, -2) over Panthers (4-3), 28-24: The Bucs (3) and Panthers (2) have combined for five losses in a row amid internal bickering. Give me Jameis Winston at home.

At Seahawks (4-2, -51/2 ) over Texans (3-3), 24-20: I think the world of Houston’s Deshaun Watson, but I cannot favor any rookie QB against this defense at this venue.

At Washington (3-3, +2) over Cowboys (3-3), 27-24: Home-underdog hunch here, even though Washington’s offensive line is banged up and Dallas has won four straight at Washington. Rolling with the law of averages and gut feeling.

Week 8 byes: Cardinals, Giants, Jaguars, Packers, Rams, Titans.

Last week: 10-5 overall, 5-8-2 vs. spread. Season: 57-49, 41-57-8

– By Greg Cote, Miami Herald