Last week: 12-3, the best week of the season while still including the tie as a loss. 119-75 on the year straight up.

One brief programming note: There will be no $.10 this week. I’m proud to be part of the Detroit Lions Podcast 24-hour telethon raising money for St. Jude’s to combat childhood cancer. My co-host Chris and I are live on-air from 9 a.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday, available on the DLP YouTube channel. We’ve got a great charity auction with some really cool items to bid for, and all proceeds go to St. Jude’s. Tune in, hang out, enjoy some great national guests and help out a fantastic cause.

Onto the games…

Thursday Night

- Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams (+5.5): The big story here is whether Baker Mayfield play in this one for the Rams? The former No. 1 overall pick is now on his third team in four months after being claimed on waivers. Mayfield does give the dilapidated Rams their best chance to win, even by only being in the building for one practice. It’s that bad for the defending champs. 

Raiders 27, Rams 16

Sunday Games

- Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-2): Wait, the 5-7 Lions are favored over the 10-2 Vikings? Am I taking crazy pills here!?

Well, it’s not so crazy considering how well the Lions defense has played lately. Since firing DBs coach Aubrey Pleasant and getting starting outside CB Jerry Jacobs and rookie DE Josh Paschal healthy, the precocious Lions have a top-10 overall defense. The last four games between these two NFC North rivals have been decided by a total of 10 points. That means a close game. No team is better at winning close games than Minnesota; it’s what they do this year. But can that absurd level of success keep going? It will take Detroit’s defense creating a takeaway or two more than their Minnesota counterparts.

Vikings 24, Lions 21

- Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-4): The Titans fired GM Jon Robinson this week despite being a first-place team. It’s an odd move that gives far too much negative optics in the wake of the loss to the Eagles and the outstanding game WR A.J. Brown had against his former Tennessee team. There’s a lot more going on than that in Nashville. I’m fascinated to see how the players and head coach Mike Vrabel respond. The Jaguars are not pushovers despite what Detroit did to them last Sunday; they are not the easiest opponent for the Titans to face in these circumstances.

Titans 26, Jaguars 24

- New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-9): Dangerous game for Buffalo, which recently has not looked like the runaway juggernaut they were earlier in the season. That includes a loss to these Jets in New Jersey a few weeks ago. New York continues to ride the hand of Mike White at QB, and that hand should have more time now that top Bills pass rusher Von Miller is out for the season. Buffalo’s biggest discernible weakness is an unreliable ability to generate pressure on the opposing QB. I think the Bills offense is strong enough to outscore White and the Jets, but the line is a lot bigger than I’m comfortable with for these two AFC East foes.

Bills 27, Jets 21

- Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5): Cleveland has won the last five meetings of the battle of Ohio. That includes a Halloween night blowout in Cleveland where the Browns sacked Joe Burrow five times. Alas, the Bengals offensive line and scheme have been much better of late. Cincinnati has allowed just five sacks in the last four games. The Browns defense is trending up, but they will struggle if they can’t get anyone aside from Myles Garrett in Burrow’s personal space. Garrett can’t do it all by himself, though he’ll certainly try.

Bengals 31, Browns 24

- Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys (-17.5): C’mon now, let’s just let the Texans rest in last place in relative peace.

Cowboys 37, Texans 12

- Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (+8): Since beating the Ravens by four points in Week 6, the Giants are 2-3-1 and sport a minus-21 point differential. No team has given up more yards in the last four games than New York, and that’s saying something in a league that features some really bad defenses. Jalen Hurts goes wild and puts his name back near the top of the MVP candidates with a dominant performance that effectively buries the Giants in the NFC East basement.

Eagles 35, Giants 21

- Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5): Take the MVP candidate QB out of the equation and there just isn’t faith in the Ravens. The week-to-week knee injury will be a great validator for the Ravens on just how much they need to pay Lamar Jackson this offseason. It’s going to get very interesting if they rip off some wins without their deft leader. Winning in Pittsburgh shouldn’t be that much of a reach for backup Tyler Huntley as long as he protects the ball better.

Ravens 22, Steelers 17

- Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (+9): At some point this year, the Broncos' very good defense is going to throw in the towel, knowing that no matter how fantastic they perform, Russell Wilson and the punchless, uncoordinated offense will let them down. I have a feeling it happens against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who can make great defenses look bad regardless.

Chiefs 36, Broncos 16

- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5): Interesting that the Niners are still favored over the NFC South-leading Buccaneers even without injured QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The Bucs are coming off a short week to travel across the country, however, and the Niners defense remains excellent. Tampa Bay’s utter inability to run the ball--a league-worst 2.9 YPC on first downs in the last six weeks--makes buying San Francisco a lot more palatable, even with rookie Brock Purdy at the controls against Tom Brady.

49ers 20, Buccaneers 17

- Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5): This is a game Pete Carroll’s Seahawks really need to win. An NFC win would do wonders to solidify their playoff status. I think they get the job done, but the Panthers can prove pesky with some strong defensive youngsters. 

Seahawks 26, Panthers 20

- Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (+3): We’ve all seen this movie before. Just when you think it’s safe to write off the Chargers with yet another disappointing season, they rise up and shock the NFL with a commanding performance. I expect nothing less on Sunday night than L.A. to jolt the world with a reminder that there’s a lot of talent on that roster. The Chargers score a massive victory like this to restore confidence in their playoff potential power. Then they’ll lose out. It’s what they do. Chargers fans know this game all too well…

Chargers 34, Dolphins 24

Monday Night

- New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals (+1.5): Two of the toughest teams in the entire league to get a firm grasp upon meet in Arizona in primetime. The Patriots getting extra rest coming off Thursday night in Week 13 mitigates the advantage the Cardinals have coming off a bye week, a tough break for the home team. Arizona has not played well against any of the good teams on its schedule. The question is, are the 6-6 Patriots worthy of being called a good team? I guess we’ll find out Monday night…

Cardinals 27, Patriots 23

All lines are from various books as of Tuesday 9:45 AM