Clinching an N.F.L. playoff berth in Week 13 is one thing, but the Philadelphia Eagles have a good chance of clinching a division title. A win or a tie against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night will seal the team’s first National Football Conference East crown since 2013.
Elsewhere, the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers will battle for superiority in the N.F.C. South, the Los Angeles Rams will try to maintain their slim lead in the N.F.C. West, and the New England Patriots will look to snuff out the Buffalo Bills’ playoff hopes.
Here are our picks against the spread.
Last week’s record against the spread: 9-6-1
Overall record: 87-83-6
Eagles at Seahawks, 8:30 p.m., NBC
Line: Eagles by 6
The Eagles (10-1) have a greater than 99 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to calculations by The Upshot. The team has been great all season, but found another gear in the last four games. In that span, the Eagles outscored their opponents, 152-45; outgained them in total yardage, 1,526-829; and forced 10 turnovers while committing five.
A bad day is unlikely against the injury-depleted Seahawks (7-4, 55 percent chance of making the playoffs), even in Seattle.
Nothing quiets the raucous crowds at CenturyLink Field quite like the team’s secondary being burned for deep touchdowns, and Carson Wentz will have his full array of receiving options available to pick apart a unit that is without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Shaquill Griffin is expected to return after a concussion, but he and Jeremy Lane will have a hard time containing Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, which should open up the middle of the field for Zach Ertz. Pick: Eagles
Panthers at Saints, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Line: Saints by 4
It was three years ago when the N.F.C. South was won by Carolina despite its losing record. Now the Panthers (8-3, 79 percent) and the Saints (8-3, 91 percent) are two of the league’s most polished teams.
New Orleans had an eight-game winning streak stopped by the Rams last week. The loss led to calls from pundits and fans to put the ball in the rookie Alvin Kamara’s hands more, as he has been explosive and drawn comparisons to Marshall Faulk.
As good as Kamara is, Coach Sean Payton was not ready to compare his young running back to the fulcrum of the Greatest Show on Turf.
“Nope, nope, nope, stop,” Payton told reporters. “Marshall Faulk’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We’re not doing that to a rookie running back.”
A win at home would go a long way toward securing the Saints’ first division title since 2011. Pick: Saints
Vikings at Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox
Line: Falcons by 3
Case Keenum should be fitted for a black suit and red tie so he can complete the Rodney Dangerfield look. He gets no respect. Keenum’s coach, Mike Zimmer, reiterated that the quarterback situation was week-to-week, despite Keenum’s having led the Vikings (9-2, 98 percent) to seven consecutive wins (six times as a starter, and once in relief).
The best assurance Zimmer could offer about not replacing Keenum with Teddy Bridgewater was, “I’m not looking to pull him, but every week’s a different week in this league.”
Regardless of his job security, Keenum was named the N.F.C.’s offensive player of the month for November.
The Falcons (7-4, 59 percent) have mostly recovered from a brutal stretch earlier this season, and they certainly present a challenge to Minnesota’s winning streak, but it might be time to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Vikings. Pick: Vikings
Rams at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Line: Rams by 7
The Rams (8-3, 84 percent) have improved in so many aspects from last season that you could highlight a new one each week. Against the Cardinals (5-6, 2 percent), the relevant improvement is a remarkable run of health that has let them have continuity on their offensive and defensive lines. Winning the trench battles lets Rams quarterback Jared Goff find holes in the defense, the way he did in a 33-0 win over Arizona in Week 7. Beating them that badly again probably isn’t on the table, but expect a win. Pick: Rams
Patriots at Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Patriots by 8.5
The easiest way to demonstrate how flawed the A.F.C. has been this season has been to point out that the Bills (6-5, 35 percent) are out of the current playoff field only because of a tiebreaker, despite a defense that cannot stop the run and the coaching staff’s having so little faith in Tyrod Taylor that it tried to replace him at quarterback with a rookie drafted in the fifth round. Because two of the Bills’ five remaining games are against the Patriots (9-2, > 99 percent), their playoff hopes are likely to fade quickly. Pick: Patriots
Redskins at Cowboys, 8:25 p.m. (Thursday), NBC and NFL Network
Line: Redskins by 1.5
It is probably not as simple as “Dak Prescott can’t succeed without Ezekiel Elliott,” but that is certainly how it has felt to watch the Cowboys (5-6, 3 percent) over the last three games. Dallas has yet to crack 250 yards of offense during the star running back’s suspension, which has led to an ugly average of 7.3 points a game. The offensive line is expected to be mostly intact against the Redskins (5-6, 3 percent), as Tyron Smith and Zack Martin are listed as probable, but with Kirk Cousins licking his chops at the thought of throwing into Dallas’s poor secondary, and Prescott seemingly lost, there is little reason to have any faith in the Cowboys until Elliott returns. Pick: Redskins
Chiefs at Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Chiefs by 3.5
Bringing in a 32-year-old cornerback who has not played since Jan. 1 and was horrible last season is a desperation move for the Chiefs (6-5, 71 percent), no matter how famous Darrelle Revis is or what his personal connection is to the Jets (4-7, 1 percent). The most positive spin on the transaction is that it shows Kansas City is not pretending that a switch from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes will suddenly make things better, regardless of fan sentiment.
The Jets are flawed, but they stretch the field with a potent combination of Josh McCown and Robby Anderson. Desperation should be enough to get Kansas City a win on the road, but Anderson torching Marcus Peters or Revis for one or more big touchdowns seems likely. Pick: Chiefs
Texans at Titans, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Titans by 6.5
The Titans (7-4, 78 percent) would be able to focus on tougher matchups down the road if not for the fact that the last time they played the Texans (4-7, 3 percent) they were absolutely humiliated. It was before the Texans lost most of their stars to injury, and Houston put up 57 points, which was the most an N.F.L. team had scored in five years. A little payback is in order, but with the quarterbacks for both teams turning the ball over with reckless abandon in the last few weeks, a point spread of nearly a touchdown is a tad generous. Pick: Texans
Colts at Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Jaguars by 9.5
The Jaguars (7-4, 93 percent) have thrived, thanks to the team’s superior ability to rush the passer and take advantage of any mistakes that come as a result of the pressure. But a curious thing happened last week when Blaine Gabbert of the Cardinals moved around enough to extend some plays and then threw deep into Jacksonville’s secondary: It worked. The notion that such a strategy is repeatable by any team, let alone the Colts (3-8, < 1 percent) is remarkably premature, but it would not be a surprise to see Jacoby Brissett attempt to create similar situations to see if it’s a true vulnerability. Pick: Jaguars
Lions at Ravens, 1 p.m., Fox
Line: Ravens by 2.5
In last week’s crushing defeat for the Lions (6-5, 20 percent), an offsides call against Darius Slay took away his blocked field goal and Nevin Lawson’s 77-yard return for what would have been a game-tying touchdown. In a way, it was fitting in a season in which the Lions have seemed to have the major breaks go against them. The loss to the N.F.C. North-leading Vikings most likely torpedoed any hope of Detroit winning its division, and dealt a huge blow to its playoff hopes. With Matthew Stafford nursing an ankle injury, the Lions now find themselves as underdogs against the wildly inconsistent Ravens (6-5, 67 percent). Pick: Ravens
Giants at Raiders, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Line: Raiders by 7.5
On Tuesday, the Giants (2-9, 0 percent) benched Eli Manning for Geno Smith. On Wednesday, they announced that Janoris Jenkins, the team’s top cornerback, had joined Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and 15 other players on injured reserve, a result of an ankle injury he sustained on Thanksgiving. It remains to be seen if any more dominoes fall before their road matchup with the Raiders (5-6, 14 percent). The good news is the team has no chance of finishing with the fewest wins in franchise history, since the 1966 team was 1-12-1, but the possibility remains that it could produce the second worst record in the team’s 93 seasons. Pick: Raiders
Broncos at Dolphins, 1 p.m., Fox
Line: Broncos by 1
Before he was injured last week, Paxton Lynch looked remarkably inept for the Broncos (3-8, < 1 percent). He became the third quarterback this season to show he is probably not capable of leading Denver to contention in 2018. One of the team’s other failed quarterback experiments, Trevor Siemian, will take over for him for the foreseeable future. The Dolphins (4-7, 2 percent) have the luxury of knowing who their quarterback will be next year: Ryan Tannehill. If he had been able to play this season, Miami might have stood a chance at relevance. Pick: Dolphins
Buccaneers at Packers, 1 p.m., Fox
The Packers (5-6, 5 percent) nearly pulled off an upset of the Steelers last week, but in the end, Pittsburgh was able to rally for a win. It was still nice to see Green Bay’s offense stretch the field and make the team seem relevant again. Brett Hundley has yet to string together consecutive good games, and Jameis Winston is expected to start for the Buccaneers (4-7, 1 percent), so the matchup is closer than it might have been otherwise. Green Bay should still be favored, if ever so slightly, at home. Pick: Packers
Browns at Chargers, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Line: Chargers by 14
In a game that the Chargers (5-6, 28 percent) should win easily, the biggest story line is the return of Josh Gordon to the Browns (0-11, 0 percent). The wide receiver has talent to spare, as evidenced by his 2013 season in which he led the N.F.L. with 1,646 receiving yards in 14 games. But as a result of a suspension related to his drug problems, Gordon has not appeared in a game since Dec. 21, 2014. He will probably not be a huge factor in the game, but Cleveland, on its way to 0-12, at least stands a good chance of beating the 14-point spread. Pick: Browns
49ers at Bears, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Bears by 3
The Jimmy Garoppolo era begins for the 49ers (1-10, 0 percent) against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears (3-8, < 1 percent). It is entirely possible that both quarterbacks will be franchise stars in the near future, but as it currently stands, they are leading teams that are thin enough on talent that this matchup is about player development, making the result irrelevant. Pick: Bears
Steelers at Bengals, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Line: Steelers by 5
The Steelers (9-2, > 99 percent) continued their season-long trend of underestimating lesser opponents and had to work hard to eke out a 3-point victory against Green Bay. While a lack of preparation was likely involved, it was also disturbing to see the team’s secondary struggle to contain Brett Hundley, which could partially be a result of Joe Haden’s season-ending injury. Getting motivated to play the Bengals (5-6, 9 percent) never seems to be a problem for Pittsburgh, as there is plenty of bad blood between the teams, so the Steelers should be back to looking like one of the best teams in the A.F.C. Pick: Steelers.
Published at Fri, 01 Dec 2017 04:55:05 +0000