PATRIOTS THIS WEEK

Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4), 8:20 p.m. Sunday (NBC)

Spread: Patriots by 31/2

Outlook: At a fast glance Houston feels like a decent upset pick, except New England is much better in prime time games, the Pats’ astonishingly great pass defense will be tough on Deshaun Watson and defensive Player of the Year front-runner, Stephon Gilmore will turn DeAndre Hopkins invisible.

Prediction: Patriots 24-20

GAME OF THE WEEK

49ers (10-1) at Ravens
(9-2), 1 p.m. Sunday

Spread: Ravens by 6

Outlook: Each team won last week, over quality opponents, by a combined score of 82-14. And how’s this: Baltimore and Lamar Jackson, winners of seven in a row, are so impressive that the 49ers are the first 10-1 team since 2007 to be a betting underdog. The Niners are 5-0 on the road, but also are 2-12 in their last 14 road games against teams with winning records.

Prediction: Ravens 27-17

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11),
1 p.m. Sunday

Spread: Jets by 31/2

Outlook: First, the Jets have won three in a row, and the Jets are not that good. Don’t kid yourself. Second, the Bengals have lost six games by one score and are just way due to win, and NYJ has lost 15 of its past 18 on the road. If Cincinnati gets anywhere close to the defense they showed against Steelers last week, they’re in the win column.

Prediction: Bengals 23-20.

OTHER GAMES

Eagles (5-6, -9) over At Dolphins (2-9), 27-13: Philadelphia, Carson Wentz and his disappearing offense have lost two in a row, scoring 19 total points in the process, to fritter away most of its playoff hope. The trouble is, Wentz could find just the cure he needs in a Miami defense allowing the most points, second-highest passer rating and third-most yards in the league.

At Colts (6-5, -2 1/2) over Titans (6-5), 23-20: The Titans are on a 4-1 surge behind Ryan Tannehill, whose efficiency has unlocked Derrick Henry, while Indy is in a 1-3 lull. Jacoby Brissett could use T.Y. Hilton healthy, but that looks doubtful. The Colts have won three straight in the series and I make it a venue call.

Packers (8-3, -6 1/2) over At Giants (2-9), 31-13: The Pack got pounded and embarrassed by San Francisco on Sunday night, causing a miserable game by Aaron Rodgers. I see a big rebound effort from the Packers. Saquon Barkley still does not look right for the Giants, who will be missing Golden Tate to a concussion. It feels like an eighth straight loss for New York.

At Steelers (6-5, +1) over Browns (5-6), 19-17: Though it’s a near-pick ’em, Pittsburgh is officially a home underdog to Cleveland for first time since 1989. The Steelers will not have Juju Smith-Schuster back, but I’m riding with Pittsburgh’s defense and the home field – where they have beaten the Browns 15 times in a row. The Steelers could get a boost from Devlin Hodges replacing Mason Rudolph at QB, and also have the payback edge after that Myles Garrett helmet-swinging brawl in the last meeting.

At Panthers (5-6, -10) over Washington (2-9), 24-9: Dwayne Haskins has a bruised wrist but should play. (No, he did not hurt it taking that selfie during last week’s rare win). His Washington offense will struggle here in any case. Carolina has dropped three in a row, but this opponent visiting is perfectly scripted for a big bounceback game.

At Jaguars (4-7, -1) over Buccaneers (4-7), 30-27: Going north on the over/under of 48 may be the safest play. Jameis Winston should score big on the Jaguars no-longer-feared defense, presuming Good Jameis shows up. But Nick Foles should counter and exploit Tampa Bay’s soft pass defense. In a tossup game, give me the home team and the likelihood Bad Jameis delivers a pick or two.

Rams (6-5, -3) over At Cardinals (3-7-1), 24-16: The Rams got Rammed in an embarrassing Monday night blowout loss to Baltimore. L.A. has won four straight over the Cardinals by a combined 130-25, but Arizona is coming off a bye and will keep this close, but I still like the Rams to cover.

 Chargers (4-7, -3) over At Broncos (3-8), 24-13: Denver was noncommittal between starting Brandon Allen at QB again or going with Drew Lock. It is not a choice of strength. The Broncos have won 13 of the past 17 in this division series, including 20-13 in October, but I’m hunching with the Chargers off a bye and boosted by the return of safety Derwin James. Plus, Philip Rivers is due a critics-hushing performance.

At Chiefs (7-4, -10) over Raiders (6-5), 38-17: Jon Gruden’s team got hammered by the Jets last week, and this does not present as an opportune setting for a big rebound. Patrick Mahomes, off a bye, has his deep threat, Tyreek Hill, back healthy and they will terrorize the Raiders’ porous air defense.

At Seahawks (9-2, -3) over Vikings (8-3), 30-23: Give Minnesota a medium upset shot off a bye, although I still don’t fully trust Kirk Cousins against top-tier opponents, and Seattle is the best he’s faced in 2019. All three Vikings losses have been on the road, and Russell Wilson makes Seattle, in prime time, a mighty tough place to quiet down.

Last week: 10-4 overall, 7-7 vs. spread

Overall: 120-55-1, 93-81-2

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