Charges at Raiders (Thursday, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFL Network)
Interesting matchup between these AFC West foes. Both are scrapping to stay in contention, and both are within striking distance of the first-place Chiefs. The Raiders' biggest problem is they can't stop the pass. It doesn’t help that they’ve already faced the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Now they square off with the league's leader in passing yards, Philip Rivers (2,609 yds). The Chargers smoked Green Bay. They’ll take this potential shootout for their third win in a row.
Panthers at Packers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX)
The Packers got downright embarrassed by the Chargers. Their defense continues to be a problem by giving up way too many big plays. Green Bay has allowed 39 plays of 20-plus yards and 13 of those have been 40-plus. Cam Newton isn’t walking through that door for Carolina — the franchise QB is done for the season. But the Panthers still have a defense that’s among the leaders in sacks, and running Christian McCaffrey, who is second in the league in rushing and just as lethal in the passing game. The Packers' defense will continue to give up the big plays but Aaron Rodgers will make even bigger plays at home. Pack in a close one.
Rams at Steelers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX)
Raise your hand if you’re shocked that the Rams are in third place in the NFC West. On offense they just haven’t been as explosive as we have been used to seeing. One of their main weapons, receiver Brandin Cooks, will sit this one out because he’s still in concussion protocol. The Steelers have won three in a row but they haven’t been a dominating bunch this season. QB Mason Rudolph doesn’t strike fear into any opponent and he’s still not quite on the same page with explosive receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Rams prove to be road tough in Pittsburgh.
Vikings at Cowboys (Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC)
Two teams with playoff aspirations airing it out down in big D, and two of the league's top running backs sharing the same stage in current rushing leader Dalvin Cook and defending rushing champ Ezekiel Elliott. When he’s on, Kirk Cousins is dangerous, but when he’s off, he messes up the Vikings' flow. Dak Prescott is a much more efficient QB at home. Dallas will rise to the occasion in front of a primetime audience to stay in control of the NFC East.
Seahawks at 49ers (Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN)
Seattle is unbeaten on the road this season. The Niners are unbeaten overall. San Francisco's defense is suffocating but struggles against the run at times. The Niners' defensive leader, Kwon Alexander, is done for the year. The Seahawks' defense has only 15 sacks so far. If they don’t get pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo, it's over. The Niners have already taken down the Rams this season. They’ll do the same to MVP candidate Russell Wilson and his crew.
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