49ers (1-4) at Bills (3-2)
Line: Bills by 9
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick makes his first start since Nov. 1 after catching the national spotlight with his silent protests during the national anthem. The move to Kaepernick is intended to boost the Niners’ 31st-ranked offense. With three wins in a row, the Bills are one of the league’s hottest teams.
Eagles (3-1) at Redskins (3-2)
Line: Eagles by 3
Washington is also picking up steam after three consecutive wins. The ’Skins are coming off their best defensive outing, allowing only 10 points to the Ravens. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz left Detroit with a couple of firsts, an interception and a loss. But he’s still impressive leading the third-ranked scoring offense.
Browns (0-5) at Titans (2-3)
Line: Titans by 8
Five quarterbacks have thrown passes for Cleveland this season, but none has won a game. Cody Kessler returns from a shoulder injury to lead the 29th-ranked scoring offense. Marcus Mariota’s four touchdown passes and DeMarco Murray’s 121 rushing yards lifted Tennessee over Miami. The Titans are looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2013.
Ravens (3-2) at Giants (2-3)
Line: Giants by 3 1/2
New York has lost three in a row and the offense hasn’t topped 17 points in consecutive weeks. Baltimore is in a similar position after two consecutive losses. The Ravens lean on their third-ranked defense, as they have for the last two decades.
Panthers (1-4) at Saints (1-3)
Line: Panthers by 2 1/2
Defending NFC champ Carolina sits at the bottom of the NFC South following a loss to the Buccaneers. Their prospects look brighter with the returns of quarterback Cam Newton (concussion) and running back Johnathan Stewart (hamstring), who each sat last week. Coming off a bye, New Orleans ranks 31st in total defense but makes up for that with Drew Brees, who is second in passing yards per game (317).
Jaguars (1-3) at Bears (1-4)
Line: Bears by 1
These two have a lot in common. Both are at the bottom of their division. Jacksonville is 1-9 on the road since the start of last season. Chicago is 2-8 at home in that time. One big difference is at quarterback. The Jags have a future with Blake Bortles, while the Bears are trying to squeeze production out of Brian Hoyer so they can squeeze Jay Cutler out of town.
Rams (3-2) at Lions (2-3)
Line: Lions by 3
The Rams’ inconsistency can be traced to their last-ranked offense. Despite the shortcomings, quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick, remains a spectator. The Lions tend to follow quarterback Matthew Stafford. He has six touchdowns and no interceptions in two wins, and four touchdowns and four picks in three losses.
Steelers (4-1) at Dolphins (1-4)
Line: Steelers by 7
Aside from a hiccup in Philly, Pittsburgh has been on an offensive tear. Ben Roethlisberger, surrounded by a full arsenal of weapons, leads the NFL with 15 touchdown passes. In Miami, quarterback Ryan Tannehill is failing to live-up to expectations. Tannehill’s seven interceptions are among the most in the NFL. Miami is already three games behind the Patriots.
Bengals (2-3) at Patriots (4-1)
Line: Patriots by 7
Tom Brady’s resuscitation tour takes him home for the first time this season. In last week’s debut, Brady passed for 406 yards and three touchdowns. Cincinnati was physically dominated by Dallas last week, allowing 402 yards of offense and four sacks on defense in a game in which the Bengals trailed 28-0 after three quarters.
Chiefs (2-2) at Raiders (4-1)
3:05 p.m., DirecTV/714
Line: Chiefs by 1
Thursday’s Chargers win over the Broncos opened the AFC West for all takers. The Raiders’ explosive offense has consistently overcome their 32nd-ranked defense and has the Raiders looking like contenders. Kansas City lost 43-14 last time they took the field. Chiefs coach Andy Reid, however, is 15-2 all time after a bye.
Falcons (4-1) at Seahawks (3-1)
3:25 p.m., DirecTV/716
Line: Seahawks by 6 1/2
An unstoppable force meets an immovable object as Atlanta’s top-ranked offense meets Seattle’s top-ranked defense. Four consecutive wins have cemented the Falcons as a contender. Matt Ryan leads the NFL in passing yards (1,740) and rating (121.6) and has 12 TDs to just two interceptions. The Seahawks are 2-2 following a bye during Pete Carroll’s tenure.
Colts (2-3) at Texans (3-2)
7:30 tonight, KTXA/5
Line: Texans by 3
No team in football scores fewer points (16.4) than the Brock Osweiler-led Texans. Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck has been sacked 20 times, most in the league. Houston’s sixth-ranked defense has more than made up for its 32nd-ranked offense this season. The winner of this contest will stand atop a tepid AFC South.