The Big Game
Pittsburgh (7-5) at Cincinnati (10-2)
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Line: Bengals by 2 1/2
Wealth of offensive riches has Steelers soaring at critical time. QB Ben Roethlisberger leads attack averaging 529 yards over past four games. Bengals won 16-10 at home in Big Ben’s first game back from injury. Forced eight turnovers last four games, including three picks vs. Pitt.
Best of the rest
N.England (10-2) at Houston (6-6)
7:20 p.m., KXAS/5
Line: Patriots by 3
Panic in land of Patriots? Injuries taking toll as NE has dropped two in a row. Texans’ four-game win streak ended at Buffalo, but team still in hunt for AFC South title. Offense has topped 26 points once this year (at Jacksonville), but has averaged 138.6 rush yards past three weeks.
Atlanta (6-6) at Carolina (12-0)
Line: Panthers by 8
Falcons withering on offense. Season’s four lowest yardage totals the last month. Eight turnovers in past three games is no help. Unbeaten Panthers’ third-ranked defense (314.3) has forced 17 turnovers last six games. Offense posted season-high 497 yards vs. Saints’ NFL-worst defense.
Buffalo (6-6) at Philadelphia (5-7)
Line: Eagles by 1
Running of the Bills has Buffalo offense fourth in rushing (140.9) and 6-0 when QB Tyrod Taylor throws fewer than 30 times. Eagles had many happy returns at New England (blocked punt, interception, punt all for TDs), but defense still on field more than any NFL unit (33:59).
Worth a look
Washington (5-7) at Chicago (5-7)
Line: Bears by 3 1/2
NFC East co-leading Redskins are 0-5 on road and play three of final four away from home. Bears are 1-8 in past nine home games, including 1-5 there this season. Defense has allowed average of 18 points in six games since Halloween.
Oakland (5-7) at Denver (10-2)
Line: Broncos by 6 1/2
Raiders have 11 turnovers in past five games. Seven of QB Derek Carr’s nine interceptions have come in the fourth quarter, including three in loss to Chiefs. Broncos won all three of QB Brock Osweiler’s starts. Defense is No.1 in yards (284.7) and vs. pass (195.6), No. 2 in points (17.5).
San Diego (3-9) at Kansas City (7-5)
Line: Chiefs by 10 1/2
Chargers’ first-round pick RB Melvin Gordon averages 13 carries and 47 yards a game, has no touchdowns and leads the NFL with six fumbles. Chiefs are averaging 32.3 points, allowing 13.3 and have 17 takeaways during six-game win streak. Last four foes are combined 14-34.
Viewer discretion advised
Seattle (7-5) at Baltimore (4-8)
Line: Hawks by 12
Seahawks have won five of six and averaged 34.5 points over past four. They’ve rushed for at least 100 yards in 23 straight regular-season games. Ravens close painfully forgettable season against four likely playoff teams (Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati).
San Francisco (4-8) at Cleveland (2-10)
Line: Browns by 2
These teams average a combined 32.8 points a game. Niners WR Torrey Smith has three TD catches this season, each in excess of 70 yards. QB Blaine Gabbert’s 44-yard TD trot at Chicago is the team’s longest run. Browns lead the league in sacks allowed (41) and fumbles lost (15).
Indianapolis (6-6) at Jacksonville (4-8)
Line: Jaguars by 1
Colts’ finish has three AFC South games, a welcome sight since Indy has won past 16 against its division brethren. Charlie (Clipboard Jesus) Whitehurst could be at QB for aching Matt Hasselbeck. Jags have lost six in a row to Colts and been outscored 177-56. But only lost 16-13 in Week 4.
Detroit (4-8) at St. Louis (4-8)
Line: Lions by 3 1/2
Lions had 20 turnovers in first eight games, only two in past four. Closing stretch features four bottom-dwellers, but three are on the road. During five-game slide, Rams have averaged 11 first downs, 275 total yards and have been outscored 132-54.
Tennessee (3-9) at NY Jets (7-5)
Line: Jets by 7
QB Marcus Mariota has 172 yards on 20 rushes his past four games, including last week’s 87-yard TD dash, NFL’s longest in 2015. Jets WR Brandon Marshall has 21 catches, 262 yards, three TDs in past two weeks. Last season with Houston, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six TDs against Titans.
New Orleans (4-8) at Tampa Bay (6-6)
Line: Bucs by 4 1/2
Saints yield most points (31.7) and yards (425.2) in the NFL. Loss to Bucs 26-19 in Week 2 ended Saints’ string of seven consecutive wins vs. TB. Bucs have NFL’s second-best rush attack (143.3) and second-best rusher in Doug Martin (1,133 yards).
Dallas (4-8) at Green Bay (8-4)
3:25 p.m., KDFW/4
Line: Packers by 6 1/2
Amazingly, even a loss doesn’t eliminate 4-8 Cowboys from playoff contention. In fact, a win and losses by Eagles, Giants and Redskins would give Dallas tie-breaker edge in four-way tie. No longer invincible at home, Packers have scored 29 points in last two at Lambeau - losses to sub-.500 Lions (18-16) and Bears (17-13). Oh my.
NY Giants (5-7) at Miami (5-7)
7:15 p.m. Monday, ESPN
Line: Giants by 1 1/2
Since winning their last Super Bowl, Giants have been notorious for debilitating slumps. And they are in one of now, having dropped three in a row by 10 combined points and five of seven since a 3-2 start. Having the second-worst defense (423.2) and an offense dependent on one man (WR Odell Beckham, who has contributed 27 percent of their attack) is nothing but trouble. Dolphins aren’t much better on defense (390.3) and they don’t even have a bell-cow on an offense that hasn’t scored more than 20 points since before Halloween.