Baltimore (+91/2) at Cincinnati,
1 p.m., WJZ-13
Much has been made this season of both the Bengals' offensive prowess and the Ravens' offensive ineptitude. But the teams' defensive performances also have plenty to do with the fact that Cincinnati stands at 7-3 while Baltimore is 3-7. The Ravens' defense, long feared for its disruptive ability, has forced 11 turnovers, while the Bengals' heretofore undistinguished unit leads the league with 30.
St. Louis (-31/2) at Houston, 1 p.m.
This could be a good spot for the 1-9 Texans to steal a win. The Rams are reeling from a fight last week between two assistants, followed by a loss to the Cardinals in which quarterback Marc Bulger re-injured his shoulder, and punter Bryan Barker was forced to apologize after practicing his kicking while soldiers were on the field at halftime for a Veterans Day salute. Even Rams interim head coach Joe Vitt was moved to say, "We are self-destructing."
Carolina (-31/2) at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Last week's loss to the Bears exposed the difficulty the Panthers have had rushing the ball, as they mustered just 55 yards in Chicago and are averaging 88.1 for the season. The Bills, who allow 149.7 rushing yards per game, second-worst in the NFL, could be just what the doctor ordered for Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster.
Chicago (+3) at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m., WBFF-45
The Buccaneers' Ronde Barber needs one more sack to become the first cornerback in NFL history with 20 or more sacks and 20 or more interceptions. But getting to Kyle Orton could be difficult, as the Bears have allowed 18 sacks this season.
Cleveland (+4) at Minnesota,
Which is more surprising: that the Vikings, after all they've gone through, are in the playoff race at 5-5, or that the talent-starved Browns are just a game behind that mark at 4-6?
New England (+3) at Kansas City,
The Patriots will have their hands full trying to contain Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, who was named AFC offensive player of the week after his team-record 211 yards against Houston. Meanwhile, Kansas City hasn't allowed an opposing back to top 100 yards in 17 consecutive games.
San Francisco (+81/2) at Tennessee,
One might think Titans Coach Jeff Fisher would appreciate the chance to play a team at least as woeful as his. Apparently, he doesn't. "I would prefer to play the teams with winning records and [that] are in playoff contention week after week after week to try to evaluate yourself," Fisher told the Nashville City Paper.
Jacksonville (-3) at Arizona,
The Jaguars' top-rated pass defense will be tested by the league's best young wide receiver tandem, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. On the other side, Jacksonville rookie wideout Matt Jones has four touchdowns in his past five games.
Miami (+7) at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.
Among the many things that have gone sour for the Eagles this year has been watching defensive end Derrick Burgess, who played his first four seasons in Philadelphia, star for the Raiders. Signed as a free agent, Burgess is second in the NFL with nine sacks.
Green Bay (+41/2) at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m.
Speaking of the Eagles, they're hoping to keep a happy trend going today. Since the NFL realigned in 2002, Philadelphia is 6-0 against teams from the NFC North.
New York Giants (+41/2) at Seattle, 4:15 p.m., WTTG-5, WBFF-45
The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West with a win and a loss by the Rams, but that title is a foregone conclusion. What Seattle really covets is home-field advantage in the playoffs, for which it has the inside track. A win over the Giants would go a long way in sealing it.
New Orleans (+1) at New York Jets, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Despite suffering a concussion last week in Denver, Brooks Bollinger is scheduled to start for the Jets, mainly because Vinny Testaverde is hobbled by an ankle injury and Kliff Kingsbury is, well, Kliff Kingsbury. Coach Herman Edwards put it succinctly: "Our quarterback situation is in shambles."
Pittsburgh (+81/2) at Indianapolis, tomorrow, 9 p.m., WJLA-7, WMAR-2
The Steelers are seemingly always in the playoffs, and this year appeared to be no different. But after a loss last week in Baltimore, Pittsburgh faces a perilous stretch against the Colts, Bengals and Bears -- division leaders all. The good news for the Steelers is that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return from a month's absence with a knee injury.