NFL predictions

Jets (5-5) at Ravens (4-6)

1 p.m. Ravens by 3½, 39

Baltimore is tough at home. It has won 17 of 20 as well as seven in a row overall in this series. The Ravens have their next three at home against beatable opponents, and just a game out of the second wild card, there's an opportunity. The Jets and Dolphins are 5-5, ahead of six 4-6 teams for that last AFC playoff spot. The old Ray Rice (above) made a cameo last week, rushing for 131 yards in the loss at Chicago. Longtime Baltimore S Ed Reed makes his second return. He lost to the Ravens 30-9 with the Texans on Sept. 22.

The pick: Ravens 21, Jets 13



Steelers (4-6) at Browns (4-6)

1 p.m. Browns by 1½, 40

After four touchdown passes last week, Ben Roethlisberger (above) needs five to pass Terry Bradshaw (212) for most in Steelers history. He's 15-1 against Cleveland, which is favored despite coming off a 21-point loss at Cincinnati. The Browns can match last year's win total with a victory. Former Gators CB Joe Haden had two interceptions last week for Cleveland, including a 29-yard TD. It's a battle of struggling rushing games: Pittsburgh ranks 30th at 76 yards per game; Cleveland has an NFL-low one touchdown.

The pick: Steelers 27, Browns 21



Vikings (2-8) at Packers (5-5)

1 p.m. Packers by 4, 44

A 5-5 team would be in the AFC playoffs today while two 6-4 NFC teams would not. That makes this a must-win for Green Bay and fill-in Scott Tolzien (above). He threw for 339 yards last week but has one TD and five interceptions, which is one more than Aaron Rodgers in 178 fewer passes. Four weeks ago, Green Bay scored 44 against Minnesota with Jordy Nelson catching two touchdowns. This is a homecoming for Vikings WR Greg Jennings, who caught 53 touchdowns for Green Bay but has just two this season.

The pick: Packers 31, Vikings 24

Jaguars (1-9) at Texans (2-8)

1 p.m. Texans by 10, 43½

Yes, Houston has lost eight straight and is a double-digit favorite. But its past four losses are by a combined 12 points. Jacksonville's past seven losses are by at least 13. Draft position hangs in the balance, and the teams meet again in two weeks. In this game last year, Matt Schaub threw for five touchdowns and 527 yards in an overtime win. After that, he had four touchdowns in six games, foreshadowing this year's struggles. Case Keenum (above) continues to impress with eight touchdowns and one interception.

The pick: Texans 35, Jaguars 20

Chargers (4-6) at Chiefs (9-1)

1 p.m. Chiefs by 4, 42½

How are the Chiefs barely favorites at home with their record? Their nine wins include just one against a team with a winning record, and that's 6-5 Philadelphia. San Diego has beaten the Eagles and Colts. If Philip Rivers (above) limits his mistakes, that takes away Kansas City's best advantage (league-leading plus-15 turnover margin). Chiefs QB Alex Smith had four touchdown passes in his first four games but has just four in the past six, putting more pressure on Kansas City's defense.

The pick: Chargers 27, Chiefs 24



Panthers (7-3) at Dolphins (5-5)

1 p.m. Panthers by 4½, 41

Carolina boasts the No. 1 scoring defense at 13.5 points per game, and it is third in total defense at 294 yards per game. It also is the NFL's hottest team with six straight wins. Tampa Bay comes in next week, and it has the Saints twice in three weeks after that. Panthers WR Ted Ginn (above), who never had more than two touchdowns in a season with Miami from 2007-09, has three this season and a career-best 17.1 yards per catch. Miami has been consistent, scoring between 17 and 23 points in its past seven but going 2-5.

The pick: Panthers 34, Dolphins 21



Bears (6-4) at Rams (4-6)

1 p.m. Rams by 1, 45½

Rams rookies are hitting their stride. RB Zac Stacy (above) has 323 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games. WR Tavon Austin had three scores in his last game, and LB Alec Ogletree is second on the team with 65 tackles. The cool thing about Chicago's Josh McCown having five touchdown passes and no interceptions is it's just the second time in his nine seasons he has more scores than picks. Do you know Tim Jennings? The Bears corner is tied for the NFL lead with 12 interceptions since the start of 2012.

The pick: Bears 24, Rams 23



Colts (7-3) at Cardinals (6-4)

4 p.m. Ch. 10. Cardinals by 3, 45

Four of Arizona's wins are against the Bucs, Jags, Texans and Falcons, who are a combined 7-34. Yes, the Cards beat Carolina, but we're not sold on Carson Palmer, who had his first interception-free game of 2013 last week. Indy is 4-1 on the road. TE Coby Fleener (above) has quietly passed his rookie numbers in catches, yards and touchdowns, including eight for 107 last week. One thing RB Trent Richardson did in Cleveland was score TDs, but he has none in his past six games.

The pick: Colts 34, Cardinals 21

Titans (4-6) at Raiders (4-6)

4 p.m. Titans by 1, 41½

How are these teams just a game out of the playoffs? Tennessee has dropped five of six, including one to Jacksonville. Oakland has the Jags and Texans among its wins. Joining the Year of the Backup QB is Oakland rookie Matt McGloin (above), who threw three touchdowns in beating Houston last week. Who is RB Rashad Jennings? The Jags seventh-rounder from Liberty has averaged 113 yards in the past three games for Oakland. The Titans' Ryan Fitzpatrick has no picks and three touchdowns in his past two games.

The pick: Titans 17, Raiders 14

Cowboys (5-5) at Giants (4-6)

4:25 p.m. Ch. 13. Giants by 2½, 45

Could the Giants go from 0-6 to winning a woeful NFC East? Three of their next four are on the road, so this is a big one. Amazingly, RB Andre Brown (above) has played in only two games but leads New York with 181 rushing yards. For the Giants to extend their win streak, they have to ignore a minus-11 turnover margin and Dallas' plus-11. Get this: Tony Romo has 12 touchdowns and one interception in Dallas' five losses and nine touchdowns and five interceptions in its five wins.

The pick: Cowboys 31, Giants 21



Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3)

8:30 p.m. Ch. 8. Broncos by 2, 54

The headline is the return of WR Wes Welker (above) to New England. He had 672 catches in six seasons with the Patriots. He has a team-high 61 for Denver but is coming off a concussion. Tom Brady hasn't lost at home this season, throwing nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Denver's Julius Thomas has 10 TD catches, tying Shannon Sharpe's team record for a tight end. Denver LB Von Miller had two sacks and a forced fumble in his last game against New England.

The pick: Broncos 38, Patriots 34

49ers (6-4) at Redskins (3-7)

8:40 p.m. Monday. ESPN. 49ers by 5, 47

Back-to-back losses have the 49ers on the playoff bubble again. QB Colin Kaepernick (above) doesn't rank among the league's top 20 in yards, touchdowns or passer rating. Robert Griffin III does in all three categories, though he's getting his share of criticism for the Redskins' 3-7 record and inability to take advantage of a weak division. Washington's defense ranks 30th in the league in scoring and 28th in yards allowed — sounds just like what San Francisco needs.

The pick: 49ers 31, Redskins 24



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NFL predictions 11/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 23, 2013 7:35pm]

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