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GOLD JACKET GAME OF THE WEEK

BALTIMORE (8-3) @ PITTSBURGH (5-5-1), 4:25 p.m. (EST)

The line: Ravens by 4-1/2

The weather: Mostly cloudy, high of 50

The story: Mike Tomlin is right: “It’s put up or shut up time” for Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, opponents are putting up points and victories, and it’s shut up Steelers’ fans. The Steelers are in the midst of a 0-2-1 streak that includes a tie with winless Detroit and a 41-10 hammering by Cincinnati. Not good. Now along comes arch-enemy Baltimore, and run for cover. The Steelers are in a funk, with wide receiver Chase Claypool suggesting music at practice might serve as a cure. Not unless it comes with a pair of 300-pound defensive linemen it won’t. The Steelers’ run defense is dreadful, allowing an average of 4.8 yards per carry … and if that sounds like a lot it’s because it is. It’s the franchise’s worst per-carry average since the 1970 league merger. “I’m not happy about it,” said defensive coordinator Keith Butler. The Steelers hemorrhaged 1,464 yards rushing through 11 games, their most since 1989. If there’s a silver lining, it’s this: Linebacker T.J. Watt has been activated from the COVID list, clearing the way for his return.

Something to consider: Three backs in the past six games vs. Pittsburgh each ran for over 100 yards, including Joe Mixon last week with 165.

THREE OTHERS WORTHY OF HALL OF FRAMING

L.A. CHARGERS (6-5) @ CINCINNATI (7-4), 1 p.m. (EST)

The line: Bengals by 3

The weather: PM showers, high of 57

The story: The Chargers can’t run the ball. The Bengals can. In fact, running back Joe Mixon gives Cincinnati the balance it’ll need for a stretch run and is the perfect weapon to puncture the league’s worst rush defense (145.3 yards per game). And L.A.? The Chargers pass 65 percent of the time, third most in the league. Reason: Beyond Austin Ekeler their second-leading rusher isn’t a running back at all. It’s quarterback Justin Herbert, mostly because he’s running for his life behind a porous offensive line. The Chargers believe they’re still playoff worthy, but their recent performances say otherwise. Time to make a run for it.

Something to consider: Bengals’ defensive end Trey Hendrickson has a sack in each of his last seven games and a forced fumble in his last two.

WASHINGTON (5-6) @ LAS VEGAS (6-5), 4:05 p.m. (EST)

The line: Raiders by 2-1/2

The weather: Covered roof

The story: Neither team was supposed to be in the playoff hunt at any point, but this is 2021 where all things are possible. Washington is on a three-game roll; the Raiders are coming off an overtime victory over Dallas. Key here: The clock. The WFT must control it with its run-first attack to keep Derek Carr nailed to the bench. If not, adios. The Raiders are 6-0 when Derek Carr throws for 300 yards.

Something to consider: Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow has five or more catches in six of his last seven home games.

DENVER (6-5) @ KANSAS CITY (7-4), 8:20 p.m. (EST)

The line: Chiefs by 9-1/2

The weather: Mostly cloudy, high of 40

The story: The AFC West was supposed to belong to Kansas City, and now it looks as if it will. Even though the Chiefs fumbled, bumbled and stumbled early, they’re back on top of a division that no one seems interested in winning. That’s not a surprise. But this is: It isn’t Patrick Mahomes and the pass game that have the Chiefs there. It’s a defense that suddenly has plugged its holes, allowing just 47 points the past four games – all victories. The Broncos see this as an opportunity to make a statement, and good luck there, guys. They lost their last 11 to Kansas City, including three of the past four by 20 or more points.

Something to consider: Mahomes has 48 touchdown passes in 19 career prime-time starts.

OUR BEST BETS

(All picks are made vs. the spread)

RON BORGES – Las Vegas (-2-1/2). Vegas playing well enough to win and cover at home (SEASON RECORD: 6-6).

RICK GOSSELIN – L.A. Rams (-13). The Rams’ frustration is building. It will explode vs. the Jaguars (RECORD: 6-5-1).

CLARK JUDGE – Arizona (-7-1/2). The Cards are 6-0 on the road, and they play the Bears. Connect the dots (RECORD: 7-5).

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THEY SAID IT

“We’ve got to get the guy the ball.” – Seattle offensive coordinator Shane Waldron on WR DK Metcalf.

“We need to go back to the days of just handing the ball to the ref. Get in the end zone, celebrate with your guys and then we go on from there.” – Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on eliminating penalties.

“I’ve got to do a better job, especially in (these) parts of the season, of helping us be more efficient offensively.” – Rams’ coach Sean McVay.

“The Steelers suck.” – Former Pittsburgh running back Rocky Bleier.

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Rams are 0-3 since acquiring Von Miller.

STAT OF THE WEEK II

Pittsburgh running back Najee Harris didn’t have a single touch of 15 yards or more in November.

STAT OF THE WEEK III
The last nine times Aaron Rodgers ran for a touchdown, the Packers won. They’re 3-0 this season when he scores.

FIVE GUYS TO WATCH

1. JOE MIXON, RB, Cincinnati. He has two touchdowns in each of his last four games.

2. TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, Miami. He’s completed 80 percent of his passes the past two games.

3. KIRK COUSINS, QB, Minnesota. He has 13 TDS (11 passing, two rushing), 0 interceptions and a 127.3 passer rating in four career starts at Detroit.

4. JONATHAN TAYLOR, RB, Indianapolis. He scored in each of his last nine games.

5. CHRIS GODWIN, WR, Tampa Bay. He has nine TD catches in six games vs. Atlanta.

TEN THINGS YOU PROBABLY SHOULD KNOW

1. There have been 25 games this season won on the final play, the most in NFL history entering Week 13.

2. Arizona is 6-0 on the road, outscoring each opponent by 10 or more points. A win this week would mark the first time in the Cards’ history that they won their first seven road games of a season.

3. The Eagles have run for 200 or more yards in each of their past three games.

4. In 15 of the past 17 seasons at least one club with a sub-.500 record after 11 games reached the playoffs. In fact, two did it a year ago.

5. Philadelphia has won all 11 games it played vs. the New York Jets.

6. Atlanta has not allowed a 100 yard rusher in 28 consecutive games..

7. The Cards are the only team to allow 20 or fewer points in every road game. They have a plus-101 point---differential in road games.

8. Over the past three weeks, Washington leads the NFL with an average time of possession of 38:53.

9. The NFC West is 11-3 vs. the NFC East.

10. Baltimore and the Jets are the only two teams not to have a running back crack 80 yards in any game this year.