Pittsburgh 33, Carolina 10
The Steelers need a pair of victories at the end of the season to grab the No. 2 spot in the AFC, and they're not likely to let a couple clawless kitties stand in their way. Pittsburgh is no doubt in a foul mood after letting one get away against the Jets. The only question, is which Steeler will get called for this week's ridiculous penalty.
Dallas 23, Arizona 13
Sure, the Cowboys are 4-4 since Jason Garrett took over. But it would be difficult to argue they're a much different team than the one that 'played' for Wade Phillips. The Cardinals are coming off a mind-numbing loss to a 1-11 club, and Dallas, for the most part, seems to play well on holidays.
Last Week: 9-7
Kansas City 21, Tennessee 18
Just when you think the Titans have quit and Jeff Fisher, the longest-tenured coach in the biz, will be fired, they come up with a performance like the one orchestrated last week. But the Chiefs aren't the Texans, and despite what I said last week, look to be a safe bet to win the AFC West. Kansas City's running game has proven one of the toughest in the league
St. Louis 20, San Francisco 13
This one features a pair of teams that are a combined six games below .500, and will go a long way in determining the NFC West champ. The problem with rookie quarterbacks, such as the one (Sam Bradford) St. Louis has, is they're up one week and down the next. Last week wasn't so good for the rook.
Chicago 17, N.Y. Jets 14
The Jets have to feel mighty lucky right now considering they left Pittsburgh with a victory despite being thoroughly dominated and only putting together one drive. But they don't ask how you won, just how many times you did. They'll face another strong test from a Bears defense that has been unrelenting.
Baltimore 31, Cleveland 17
As good as the Browns were at midseason, they've been equally miserable of late. That's probably not a good proposition with a hungry Ravens club that's sniffing for a division crown up next. Baltimore running back Ray Rice had the kind of all-around game we've come to expect last week.
New England 38, Buffalo 9
There for a second last Sunday night, the Patriots looked human. Then, like it always does, a long kickoff return by an offensive lineman changed the momentum. If Tom Brady doesn't win the NFL MVP award, I'll eat my hat. The Bills, unfortunately for them, are on New England's road to homefield throughout.
Detroit 28, Miami 24
I may be the only person in America that said the Lions would break their road losing streak last week (we won't mention that was one of the few I correctly picked). The Biggest news out of Dolphins camp these days is that Bill Cowher reportedly would like to coach in Miami, despite the fact there's no vacancy. Make it two in a row for Detroit.
Jacksonville 25, Washington 3
The Jaguars coughed up the AFC South lead, meaning they won't win a division crown in what figures to be their last chance for some time. In fact, it may cost Jack Del Rio his job. The good news is, the Redskins would find a way to lose an intrasquad scrimmage.
Indianapolis 27, Oakland 16
As mentioned above, the Colts are going to win the division, but I don't think they've got enough to go very far once the postseason begins. It was unfortunate to see Indy receiver Austin Collie go down with his second concussion, both the result of incredible collisions.
Denver 30, Houston 20
Cowher is reportedly also interested in the Texans' job, one he has a lot better chance of getting. It's obvious Houston players are no longer responding to Gary Kubiak's direction. How else do you explain teammates Brian Cushing and Antonio Smith getting into a fight during the game? I'm glad to see the Tim Tebow Era underway in Denver.
San Diego 29, Cincinnati 6
It's probably going to end up being a case of too little, too late for the Chargers, who near-yearly start slow but rebound to make the playoffs. Perhaps proof that games in September count as much as those in December will light a fire under this bunch next season. The only fire in Cincinnati is going to be Marvin Lewis heading to the unemployment line, and Chad Ochocino and Terrell Owens finding new teams.
N.Y. Giants 26, Green Bay 23
These eyes have not witnessed a more jaw-dropping collapse than the one authored last week by the Giants. Up 21 with 8 minutes to go and you lose? It's hard to tell if a team can get back up from something like that, but New York will have to be on point as Aaron Rodgers is scheduled to return. My guess is the Giants turn it around.
Tampa Bay 22, Seattle 6
All together now, let's wave goodbye to Matt Hasselbeck, who's time in Seattle is all but finished. If you're the Buccaneers, you should be hanging your head after losing to Detroit. But this game is about bouncing back, and Tampa will do just that.
Philadelphia 31, Minnesota 14
If you're a Vikings fan, thankfully this is the next-to-last game of a season that can be best described as a train wreck. Just about every important Minnesota player has spent time on the shelf, the latest being Adrian Peterson. But you don't have the option of feeling sorry for anyone in the NFL, and the Eagles certainly won't in this one.
New Orleans 24, Atlanta 23
The NFC South will be decided right here. It's a classic matchup between the defending champ (Saints) and up-and-comer (Falcons) who wants to steal the crown. To be the champ, you have to beat the champ. Sorry, Atlanta. Not going to happen.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net