The Washington Post Sunday
This week’s games
Ravens at Chiefs, 1 p.m., CBS Chiefs by 6 1/2
Baltimore takes a three-game winning streak into Arrowhead Stadium, where it has never lost, and the Ravens find themselves only a half-game out of first place in the AFC North. Rookie QB Lamar Jackson has revitalized Baltimore’s rushing offense, making the Ravens the first team since 2010 to gain at least 200 yards on the ground in three straight weeks. An effective ground game should help neutralize Kansas City’s top-ranked scoring offense, which is good enough to tax even Baltimore’s top-ranked defense.
Predicted winner: Chiefs, 70 percent
Eagles at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., WTTG-5 Cowboys by 31/2
Two straight wins have put Philadelphia back in the playoff picture, and the defending champions will be in first place in the NFC East if they beat Dallas. The Cowboys have won four straight, and another victory essentially would eliminate the Eagles from the division race by putting them in a two-game hole with three to play. RB Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 151 yards on 19 carries when the teams met last month, and Philadelphia’s once-stout run defense has allowed more than 100 yards in six of the past seven games.
Predicted winner: Cowboys, 59 percent
Steelers at Raiders, 4:25 p.m., WBFF-45 Steelers by 10
Oakland is the only AFC team that Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger has not beaten on the road, but now would be a good time for that to change. The Steelers have lost two straight, including a collapse in prime time last week against the Chargers, and their lead in the AFC North is down to a half-game. Pittsburgh will be without RB James Conner, who injured his ankle against Los Angeles, but Jaylen Samuels and/or Stevan Ridley should thrive against the Raiders’ No. 31 run defense. Predicted winner: Steelers, 78 percent
Rams at Bears, 8:20 p.m., NBC Rams by 3
The Rams last week became the first team to clinch a division title, and now they can secure a first-round bye. The Bears had their five-game winning streak snapped last week in an overtime loss to the Giants, but they are expected to get QB Mitchell Trubisky back after he missed two games with a shoulder injury. The Bears’ defense ranks third in yards allowed and fifth in points allowed, but it has allowed more than 100 yards rushing in each of the past two weeks and will be challenged by Todd Gurley II.
Predicted winner: Rams, 63 percent
Vikings at Seahawks, Mon., 8:15 p.m., ESPN Seahawks by 3
These teams hold the wild-card spots in the NFC, but they meet for the first time since the 2015 wild-card game while heading in different directions. Seattle, which has a 24-5-1 record in Thursday, Sunday or Monday night games since 2010, has won three straight, and its top-ranked rushing offense has gained at least 150 yards in eight of the past nine games. Minnesota has lost two of three, and its often-dynamic offense has been held below 300 yards in three of its past four games.
Predicted winner: Seahawks, 56 percent
Colts at Texans, 1 p.m. Texans by 41/2
Houston is the first team in NFL history to win nine consecutive games after losing its first three. While Tennessee’s win Thursday night over Jacksonville prevented the Texans from being able to clinch the AFC South this week, a victory over Indianapolis would just about wrap it up. Houston’s winning streak began in Week 4 with an overtime victory at the Colts, a result that is typical for this series: Eight of the past nine games have been decided by seven points or fewer. Predicted winner: Texans, 72 percent
Falcons at Packers, 1 p.m. Packers by 5
It was just two seasons ago that these teams met in the NFC title game, but now they will face each other in Week 14 with only four wins apiece. Green Bay will be guided by interim coach Joe Philbin, the offensive coordinator who took over after Mike McCarthy was fired following Sunday’s loss to Arizona. It will be interesting to see whether QB Aaron Rodgers plays with more gusto now that McCarthy is gone. Rodgers is 23 pass attempts from breaking the NFL record for consecutive throws without an interception.
Predicted winner: Packers, 63 percent
Jets at Bills, 1 p.m. Bills by 4
QB Sam Darnold is expected to return for New York after missing the past three games with a foot injury, setting up a matchup of rookie quarterbacks between Darnold and Buffalo’s Josh Allen. Both players missed the Bills’ 41-10 shellacking of the Jets last month. New York has lost six straight games, and Darnold might have a tough time in his return. Buffalo’s underappreciated defense has held its past four opponents under 130 passing yards, the NFL’s longest such streak since 2009. Predicted winner: Bills, 56 percent
Panthers at Browns, 1 p.m. Panthers by 1
Carolina has lost four straight and is facing an uphill climb to reach the postseason. With two of their final three games against the Saints, the Panthers face essentially a must-win game at Cleveland to keep them in the NFC wild-card hunt. Carolina QB Cam Newton threw four interceptions last week, but he has a good matchup against Cleveland’s 29th-ranked passing defense. He needs one passing yard to reach 3,000 for the eighth straight season to start his career. He is likely to get it. Predicted winner: Panthers, 57 percent
Patriots at Dolphins, 1 p.m. Patriots by 71/2
New England can clinch its 10th consecutive AFC East title and its 16th in the past 18 seasons with a win or a tie over the Dolphins. For all of their dominance in their division, though, the Patriots have managed to lose four of their past five games at Miami. The Dolphins remain a bit of an enigma. QB Ryan Tannehill has won his past eight starts at home, and the team enters its final four games at a respectable 6-6, but the Dolphins are on pace to be outgained by more yards than any team in franchise history.
Predicted winner: Patriots, 71 percent
Saints at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. Saints by 81/2
Tampa Bay’s Week 1 upset in New Orleans remains one of the more stunning results of the season, considering the Saints started a 10-game winning streak the following week that just ended in their previous game. New Orleans can clinch the NFC South title with a win, a tie or a Carolina loss, while a loss for Tampa Bay would secure its seventh nonwinning season out of its past eight. Another shootout is likely: The Bucs are first in total offense, and the Saints are sixth even after a 176-yard dud last week.
Predicted winner: Saints, 76 percent
Bengals at Chargers, 4:05 p.m. Chargers by 141/2
Cincinnati’s once-promising season continues to spiral to the bottom: The Bengals have lost four straight games and six of their past seven. QB Jeff Driskel will get his second start in place of the injured Andy Dalton, and now WR A.J. Green is also sidelined with a toe injury. Los Angeles has won eight of nine, and an offense that has put up 78 points over the past two weeks should face little resistance against a Cincinnati defense that is last in the NFL in both points and yards allowed. Predicted winner: Chargers, 79 percent
Broncos at 49ers, 4:05 p.m. Broncos by 31/2
San Francisco continues to be a disaster and is already assured of a fourth straight double-digit-loss season for the first time. Denver has salvaged its season with a three-game winning streak and has a manageable schedule going forward. The Broncos got a bad break when top WR Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles’ tendon in practice Wednesday, but their offense runs through RB Phillip Lindsay now anyway. Lindsay needs 63 yards to become the third undrafted rookie to rush for 1,000 yards.
Predicted winner: Broncos, 71 percent
Lions at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. Lions by 21/2
Not much to see here in a matchup of lightweights playing out the string. Detroit has lost in its past eight trips to Arizona, with its last win there coming in 1993. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald does have a chance to make some history. With one catch against the Lions, he will break Jerry Rice’s record for receptions for one team in NFL history. Fitzgerald also needs one touchdown catch to match Antonio Gates for sixth on the all-time list.
Predicted winner: Lions, 57 percent