GOLD JACKET GAME OF THE WEEK
SAN FRANCISCO @ SEATTLE, 8:20 p.m. (EST)
The line: 49ers by 3
The weather: Showers, high of 47
The story: There’s more than a division championship at stake here. There could be for a first-round bye, too. The good news for Seattle fans is that their team is home and has already beaten the 49ers this season. The bad news: The Seahawks are better, much better, on the road (7-1) than they are at home (4-3) and so desperate for a running back with a pulse that they re-signed Marshawn Lynch. “He looks good,” said quarterback Russell Wilson. “He looks explosive.” Of course he does. He hasn’t been hit … in over a year. It’s a good story, but Lynch won’t be the difference for Seattle. Wilson might. One problem: The one-time MVP candidate has looked more like Marc Wilson lately than Russell Wilson – with three TD passes the past three games, two of which they lost.
Something to consider: The 49ers are 4-1 in prime time games this season. They’re also 6-1 on the road.
THREE OTHERS WORTHY HALL OF FRAMING
TENNESSEE @ HOUSTON, 4:25 p.m. (EST)
The line: Titans by 3-1/2
The weather: (Retractable roof) Partly cloudy, high of 67
The story: Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson says he feels “great” but has no idea if he plays this one. Neither do we. But we’re not sure it matters. Because only one team has an incentive to win here, and it’s not the Texans – unless, of course, you think the Chiefs lose to the Chargers, and there’s a better chance New England re-signs Antonio Brown. The Texans have the AFC South clinched, so why play Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Carlos Hyde or any starter they’re going to need next week? As for Tennessee, the stakes are simple: If the Titans win, they’re in. Simple as that.
Something to consider: Ryan Tannehill this season averages over 9 yards per attempt, with a completion percentage over 70. Only two qualifying quarterbacks in NFL history have done that: Joe Montana (1989) and Sammy Baugh (1945), both in the Hall of Fame. But Tannehill’s completion percentage (70.7) and yards per attempt (9.6) are better than either.
PHILADELPHIA @ N.Y. GIANTS, 4:25 p.m. (EST)
The line: Eagles by 4-1/2
The weather: PM rain, high of 47
The story: After winning last week, the Giants descended on a Hoboken bar where quarterbacks Eli Manning and Daniel Jones engaged in games of cup flip. No, I don’t know what it is, either. What I do know is that Saquon Barkley was there, too, but coach Pat Shurmur wasn’t. “They should have invited me,” he said. Well, they may have another chance. Of course, the Giants would have to win again, which means spoiling Philadelphia’s division-clinching party. Oddsmakers say it won’t happen, believing the Eagles are more motivated to win the NFC East than the Giants are to deliver Shurmur a parting … or party … gift. Maybe. But three weeks ago the Eagles had to go to OT to beat Big Blue, and it was Zach Ertz who beat them. He’s not playing, sidelined with injured ribs.
Something to consider: The Eagles won their last six regular-season games vs. the Giants.
WASHINGTON @ DALLAS, 4:25 p.m. (EST)
The line: Cowboys by 11
The weather: Sunny, high of 54
The story: The only way the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett lives to coach another day is to have the Giants beat Philadelphia and Dallas win here. Of the two, this is the easier mission. In fact, beating Washington should be a cinch. The Redskins stink. But there is nothing easy this season with Dallas. Dak Prescott is hurt. Amari Cooper looks hurt. Zeke Elliott is underemployed. The defense is porous. The owner is embarrassed. And the Cowboys are a dumpster fire. Yet, hard as it is to believe, Dallas is one victory away from a possible NFC East repeat.
Something to consider: Prescott needs 305 yards passing to surpass Tony Romo’s franchise record for one season (4,903 yards in 2012).
OUR BEST BETS
(Picks are made vs. the spread)
RON BORGES – Miami (+15-1/2). The Dolphins will be playing for pride and their coach, whose butt Belichick kicked the first time around.
CLARK JUDGE – New Orleans (--13). The Saints are playing for playoff position. The Panthers are playing for tee times. Check, please.
RICK GOSSELIN – Dallas (--10). Washington is more beaten up than the Eagles … and this one is at home.
THE WEEKEND OMG
The Eagles’ Carson Wentz can become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 or more yards in one season (he has 3,750) with no wide receiver having 500. Alshon Jeffrey has 490 but he won’t play Sunday.
THE WEEKEND OMG, PART DEUX
Since 2015 the Chiefs’ Andy Reid is 26-3 vs. AFC West opponents.
FIVE GUYS TO WATCH
SEATTLE QB RUSSELL WILSON. With a win over the 49ers, he gains his 87th regular-season win, surpassing Tom Brady (86) for the most regular-season victories in his first eight years of play.
NEW ORLEANS QB DREW BREES. He will break his own NFL record for completion percentage, one he set last year. Brees currently completes 75.3 percent of his passes. The league record, set by Brees, is 74.4.
CAROLINA RB CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY. With one more game of 150 yards from scrimmage, he ties the NFL record set by former running back Chris Johnson of 10 games of 150 or more yards from scrimmage in one season. In addition, with 67 yards receiving he becomes only the third player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. Only Roger Craig (1985) and Marshall Faulk (1999) have done it.
ATLANTA WR JULIO JONES. With 84 yards, he ties Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice as the only receivers in league history with six seasons of 1,400 yards or more.
NEW ENGLAND QB TOM BRADY. He's 15-1 vs. Miami at home.
TEN THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO REMEMBER
1. If San Francisco beats Seattle it would mark the 16th time in the past 17 years that at least two teams that missed the playoffs the year before clinched division championships. Green Bay is the other club.
2. Green Bay has 12 sacks the past three games, the most in the NFL during that span.
3. The Chiefs held all of their last five opponents to 17 or fewer points. They won all five.
4. There have been 194 100-yard receiving games this season. Pittsburgh and Buffalo allowed the fewest, with one each.
5. Jameis Winston has thrown 37 touchdown passes this season -- 31 to teammates and 6 to opponents.
6. Jacksonville is the most penalized team this season (129). Indianapolis is the fewest (75). The two meet Sunday.
7. Of the 16 quarterbacks who started all 15 games this season, Oakland’s David Carr is the only one not to throw for 300 yards in a game.
8. The Browns have three two sacks the past three games and have been shut out the last two.
9. Only one of the top six passing teams (Kansas City) is going to the playoffs.
10. Nine rookies have started at quarterback this season, an NFL record.
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