The NFL hits the post-Thanksgiving home stretch with the AFC having sorted out its contenders and pretenders, but not so in the NFC, where only four teams are more than 11/2 games out of at least the wild card race.
Saints at Falcons: Atlanta 34-30. Matt Ryan quarterbacks a resilient team. There are questions about the Falcons come playoff time, but this remains the regular season.
Seahawks at Bears: Chicago 17-15. Seattle plays tough on the road but rarely wins. And if the Bears have Jay Cutler, they’ll have just enough offense to win.
Vikings at Packers: Green Bay 29-13. A solid uprising is about over for the Vikings. The Packers are ready to make up for a dismal Sunday night showing.
49ers at Rams: San Francisco 30-10. Give Jim Harbaugh credit for guts. Few coaches would make the in-season switch to Colin Kaepernick. Most coaches are loathe to swap out a losing QB, much less a winning QB.
Cardinals at Jetropolitans: New York 23-20. Could Ken Whisenhunt be on the hot seat in Phoenix? The Cardinals won their first four but have lost seven straight.
Panthers at Chiefs: Kansas City 16-14. I don’t know why I’m picking the Chiefs. Just seems like they’re going to win one sometime.
Colts at Lions: Detroit 38-16. The Andrew Luck/Bruce Arians tale is a great story, but let’s be honest. Indy isn’t that good. And the Lions could be fighting mad.
Jaguars at Bills: Buffalo 26-25. Prediction — if the Bills lose this game, Chan Gailey gets the axe on Monday. Buffalo is not that far from playoff contention but has gone 1-4 after a 3-3 start.
Patriots at Dolphins: New England 38-19. Hard to believe the AFC East once was a horserace. Now it’s the 1973 Belmont.
Texans at Titans: Houston 36-20. Tennessee has become the NFL’s most faceless team. No names. No direction. No nothing.
Buccaneers at Broncos: Denver 27-20. Don’t count me among those who are all excited about Tampa Bay, though Greg Schiano has done a nice job.
Steelers at Ravens: Baltimore 13-10. This series is a lot like golf’s majors. You watch these teams play, just like watching the Masters or U.S. Open, and you wonder how you ever get through the Greater Greensboro Open.
Browns at Raiders: Cleveland 19-17. Eight of the AFC’s 16 teams are 4-7 or worse. These are two of them.
Bengals at Chargers: Cincinnati 27-20. I have never seen a play like Ray Rice’s 4th-and-29 conversion off a screen pass against San Diego. Reminds me a Star Trek episode, where Spock, in a space shuttle, fires off into the galaxy at warp speed, wasting their one hour remainder of fuel. The shuttle will burn up in 60 seconds. He did it only in hopes of a flare, that the Enterprise would notice and beam the bodies aboard. Totally illogical. Except, as Mr. Spock said, it was their only chance. Which made it logical. Same with Ray Rice. Perfectly logical for the Chargers to let a tailback convert 4th-and-29 on a screen pass.
Eagles at Cowboys: Dallas 41-7. Andy Reid will be coaching the Chargers soon enough, Jon Gruden will be coaching the Eagles and Mike Holmgren will be coaching the Cowboys. Won’t the world be wonderful then?
Giants at Redskins: New York 38-27. The G-Men are a funny team. To paraphrase Carl from “Slingblade,” funny strange, not funny ha-ha. Nothing funny about playing the Giants in December.
Last week: 9-7. Season: 108-67-1.