Inconsistent Cowboys should handle Bears
A rare Thursday night game that is not part of a short week has Dallas at Chicago. Both teams lost on Thanksgiving Day, and the Bears are headed for a double whammy.
Dallas (8-4) is in the midst of a tight NFC East battle with Philadelphia, as well as in the conference wild-card race. Chicago (5-7) is going nowhere.
Plus, the Cowboys are 5-0 on the road, while the Bears have a 2-3 mark at Soldier Field, with the victories over weaklings Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
''It's hard to get to this point in the year and be 8-4 and right in the middle of the hunt,'' veteran tight end Jason Witten said. ''I think you play long enough like I have you respect the opportunity that you have and where you are positioned. So I am excited about that.''
Still, Dallas (No. 10, AP Pro32) is a 3 1-2-point favorite over No. 24 Chicago. That should be more than manageable.
No. 22 Atlanta (plus 11) at No. 1 Green Bay
Packers on quite a roll at Lambeau. Lots of leaps upcoming Monday night.
BEST BET: PACKERS, 37-17
No. 14 Kansas City (plus 1 1-2) at No. 7 Arizona
Sad to see how injuries have crippled the Cardinals.
UPSET SPECIAL: CHIEFS, 20-19
No. 5 Seattle (plus 1) at No. 4 Philadelphia
Winner here will be a postseason force. Both teams could be.
No. 2 New England (minus 3) at No. 11 San Diego
Patriots won't get soft after a week in southern California.
No. 13 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 15 Miami
Ravens will run, run and run some more against soft Miami ground defense.
No. 17 Buffalo (plus 10) at No. 3 Denver
Bills' rush will get to Peyton, just not often enough for an upset.
No. 12 San Francisco (minus 8) at No. 32 Oakland
These are the kind of road trips any coach likes - across the Bay to face league's worst team.
No. 16 Pittsburgh (plus 3) at No. 9 Cincinnati
Two befuddling teams who stunk it up last week. The difference: Cincinnati won.
No. 6 Indianapolis (minus 3) at No. 18 Cleveland
This won't be easy for Colts, but it is doable.
No. 19 Houston (minus 5) at No. 28 (tie) Jacksonville
Jaguars will be sky high after rallying past Giants. No repeat.
No. 27 New York Giants (pick `em) at No. 30 Tennessee
A mess, Big Apple style, vs. a mess, Music City style.
No. 25 Carolina (plus 9 1-2) at No. 20 New Orleans
Saints get a home win - and within reach of the .500 level.
No. 26 Tampa Bay (plus 9 1-2) at No. 8 Detroit
Lions know a playoff spot is there for the taking without any screw-ups.
No. 21 St. Louis (minus 2 1-2) at No. 28 (tie) Washington
Difficult to go with Rams as a road favorite. But not impossible.
No. 31 New York Jets (plus 6) at No. 23 Minnesota
Vikings making a push toward respectability. Jets are not.
2014 RECORD: Against spread: This week (7-9); Season (90-95-4). Straight up: This week (9-7); Season (125-65-1)
Best Bet: 5-8 against spread, 7-6 straight up.
Upset special: 7-6 against spread, 5-8 straight up.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL