GOLD JACKET GAME OF THE WEEK
BUFFALO (7-5) @ TAMPA BAY (9-3), 4:25 p.m. EST
The line: Bucs by 3-1 / 2
Weather forecast: Sunny, maximum 81
The story: Big game for Tampa Bay; bigger game for the Bills. Tampa is in the middle of a scrum for the NFC No.1 seed. Okay, but the Bills lost first place in the AFC East and all of a sudden they’re looking for trouble. I’m serious. Look at the calendar. Tampa Bay this week; New England in two. Lose these games, and what’s the matter? Seven losses, that’s what, and then all bets are off. I’m not worried about Tampa. The Bucs are where they want to be and have Tom Brady. But Buffalo? Over the past two months, bills have been as consistent as New York’s subways. They are on. They left. They are 3-4 in the past two months, haven’t won two in a row since late October and are in desperate need of a tourniquet. They are also 3-32 against Brady. Good luck.
Something to consider: Buffalo are the only team not to allow an opposing quarterback to throw for 300 yards this season.
THREE OTHER WORTHY FRAMING ROOMS
BALTIMORE (8-4) @ CLEVELAND (6-6), 1 p.m. EST
The line: Browns par 3
Weather: Sunny, maximum 45
The story: Wait a minute. Are the Ravens not at the top of the AFC North? And didn’t they beat Cleveland when the two met two weeks ago? Yes and yes. So why are the Browns favored here? Granted, Baltimore is 3-3 in the last six games, but look at Cleveland: The Browns are 3-5 in the past two months, haven’t won two in a row since Oct. 3 and quarterback Baker Mayfield is crippled by a bad shoulder and erratic play. I know the Ravens just lost Marlon Humphrey for the season, and his pass defense ranks 31st. But it’s not Mayfield who can beat them. They are running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. One problem: Baltimore is first against the run, allowing an average of 84.3 yards per game. Baker Mayfield, start your engine.
Something to consider: The Browns have only scored more than 17 points once since October 10.
DALLAS (8-4) @ WASHINGTON (6-6), 1 p.m. EST
The line: Cowboys by 4-1 / 2
Weather: Sunny, high 60 (retractable roof)
The story: A month ago, it looked like another round of victory for Dallas. No more. The Cowboys are 2-3 in the last five games, while the WFT haven’t lost since Oct. 31, claiming four straight wins since. Washington may not have a bevy of attacking stars, but it has the momentum. In addition, there is an incentive. He can come close to a game with the leaders of the NFC East with a third straight loss to Dallas. Cowboys coach Mike McCarty does not seem concerned, saying he is “confident” of securing a win. You hear me: The coach victory assured. Maybe this is a case where you don’t want to be like Mike. McCarthy has just returned from 10 days away from the team due to COVID quarantines. He may change his mind after watching the practice.
Something to consider: In his last 6 games, Zeke Elliott has averaged less than half rushing yards (40.6) than in his first six (86.8). Worse, four of his eight worst career games have been played in the past four weeks (41, 32, 21, 45).
SAN FRANCISCO (6-6) @ CINCINNATI (7-5) 4:25 p.m. (EST)
The line: 49ers by 1-1 / 2
Weather forecast: Sunny, maximum of 49
The story: Cincinnati coach Zak Taylor said quarterback Joe Burrow had no visible limitations after last week’s finger injury and was ready to go. Apparently, the same is true of running back Joe Mixon, who is listed as “questionable” but who Taylor “expects” to play. So he should be good to go too. Too bad the same can’t be said for the rest of the Bengals. Just when you want to believe in them, they smell like last weekend. They need this game to push Baltimore into the AFC North, but the 49ers need it too to stay in the wildcard race. They won’t have Elijah Mitchell (concussion), but they could have Deebo Samuel. He resumed training on Friday. Key to Cincinnati: Mixon Status. He has touchdowns in his last nine games.
Something to consider: Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson has a sack in each of his last eight games.
OUR BEST PARIS
(All choices made in relation to the gap)
RON BORGES – Arizona (-2-1 / 2). It sounds like a trap to me. Arizona wins this one (SEASON RECORD: 7-6).
RICK GOSSELIN – Tennessee (-8-1 / 2). The Titans are 8-4 but haven’t won in nearly a month. Hello Jacksonville (SEASON RECORD: 7-5-1).
CLARK JUGE – Tennessee (–8-1 / 2). They run the division. They come out of a goodbye. And they play the Jags (SEASON RECORD: 8-5).
THEY SAID IT
âWe’re going to win this game. – Dallas coach Mike McCarthy.
“I think this is a big mistake.” – Washington coach Ron Rivera on McCarthy’s warranty.
âWe still have everything in front of us. But now is the critical moment. – Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“He’s a good friend of mine, and I really want to hit him a few times.” – San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa on Joe Burrow from Cincinnati.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tennessee are under-9 in their last two games, with nine turnovers and no takeout.
STAT OF THE WEEK II
John Harbaugh of Baltimore is 23-4 against Cleveland.
STAT OF THE WEEK III
As of Week 10, Washington’s Taylor Heinicke ranks third among the league’s quarterbacks (75 minimum attempts) in completion percentage (77.3) and passer rating (110.00).
FIVE GUYS TO WATCH
1. TOM BRADY, QB, Tampa Bay. With 18 goals, he surpasses Drew Brees (7,142) as the league’s all-time leader in this category. But that’s not all. With 229 yards, he joins Peyton Manning (14) as the only quarterback with 4,000 passing yards in each of the 13 seasons.
2. AARON RODGERS, QB, Green berry. With a win over Chicago, he becomes only the fourth quarterback to lead his team to 10 wins in each of 10 seasons. The others are Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. A-Rod also has 32 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a 110.1 rating in 13 home games against Chicago.
3. TRAVIS KELCE, TE, Kansas City. He’s received over 100 yards in his last three starts against the Raiders.
4. RYAN TANNEHILL, QB, Tennessee. He has 11 touchdowns (9 rushes, 2 assists) and no interceptions in his last four games against Jacksonville.
5. MICAH PARSONS, LB, Dallas. With a sack against Washington, he becomes the first rookie since Jevon Kearse in 1999 (8) to have a game of six in a row. Kearse set a rookie record this season with 14-1 / 2.
TEN THINGS YOU LIKELY SHOULD KNOW
1. Nineteen of the 32 teams have records of 0.500 or better, including eight that weren’t in the 2021 playoffs.
2. The 49ers have forced 18 league-leading fumbles this season, including four last week.
3. The Titans have 24 different players with at least one touch of scrum – either per run or receive a pass.
4. Green Bay is 0-4 in the past four years when coming out of byes.
5. As of Week 8, San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo has placed second among quarterbacks (50 minimum attempts) for the passer score of 106.00.
6. The teams that gain the revenue margin this year are 118-29-1.
seven. Tennessee are 3-0 under Mike Vrabel after the byes.
8. Washington is the first team to complete with five straight games against division opponents since the Tampa Bay Bucs in 1995.
9. AFC West is the only division this season not to start a backup quarterback.
ten. The Jets have thrown 20 interceptions this season, five more than anyone.