San Diego 3, Kansas City 0
These two teams right now are walking definitions of the word futility. When you can't beat the Raiders and Browns, respectively, there isn't much hope for you.
Green Bay 26, Arizona 17
The Packers struggled with the Jaguars last week, but it's nearly impossible to get up for such games. Expect a far better effort this week, particularly if Jordy Nelson returns.
Chicago 32, Tennessee 16
The Bears slipped by last week thanks to the reliable foot of Robbie Gould. It shouldn't be near that difficult this week against a Titans club that isn't quite ready to compete.
Houston 41, Buffalo 6
Mario Williams makes his return to Houston, but it's unsure if he'll be on the field after wrist surgery. What he'll see is the Texans are better off without him, thanks to defensive MVP J.J. Watt.
Carolina 20, Washington 17
Another week, another tough loss for the Panthers. Cam Newton and crew won't have that problem this week. Carolina re-signed DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, so how about running the ball.
Detroit 30, Jacksonville 10
The Jags don't really have anything in the way of offense with Maurice Jones-Drew on the sidelines. That should mean a second straight victory for Matt Stafford and the boys.
Cincinnati 27, Denver 21
Giving credit where it is due, Peyton Manning has the Broncos on a roll. He's thrown for 300-plus a personal-best five straight times. Look for the front seven of the Bengals to get in his face.
Baltimore 24, Cleveland 12
The Ravens are reeling and Pittsburgh is creeping up in the AFC North. Wouldn't it be nice if the Browns would do the Steelers a favor? Rule No 1: Never count on Cleveland for anything.
Don't look now, but the Dolphins are serious contenders in the AFC East, one game behind the Patriots. It's a smoke and mirrors type of deal, I think, and that can't go on forever.
The Vikings laid an egg at home on Thursday night and the Seahawks let one get away late. This figures to be a matchup of two of the games best running backs - Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch.
Tampa Bay 23, Oakland 13
It's time for Josh Freeman to take the next step, which is consistency. There can be no more ups and downs, not in his third season. Let's see what he does in this hostile environment.
Pittsburgh 24, N.Y. Giants 21
A combined four Super Bowls have been won by quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, who will be forever linked as members of the 2004 draft class, which rivals the 1983 group. Shaun Suisham wins it late.
Atlanta 40, Dallas 35
If in fact the Cowboys still harbor playoff hopes, this is a must-win. The problem, though, is that it doesn't seem like they're a playoff team. The Falcons, who have had the league's easiest schedule, see that trend continue.
New Orleans 13, Philadelphia 10
I can't see either of these teams rebounding to make the postseason, not with the overall strength of the NFC. So basically it's two teams playing out the string already.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net