MINNESOTA (-2) over Green Bay: Green Bay allows 146 rushing yards per game, which is terrific news for the run-happy Vikings and their star back, Adrian Peterson (above). The Vikings are also adept at stopping the run and allow just 70 yards per game on the ground, good for second in the league. But while the Packers' offense is a threat to overcome a solid defense (witness the Pack nearly taking down Tennessee on the road last weekend), the home team and Peterson have the edge on the Metrodome turf, where they are 3-1. If Gus Frerotte can limit his interceptions and keep the Vikings' offense on the field, this may be one of those career days for Peterson.
CLEVELAND (-3) over Denver: Who knows if Brady Quinn will make the difference for Cleveland? The Browns are 3-5 and about to slip out of the AFC playoff discussion if they cannot take down a Denver squad that leads the AFC West with a .500 record. But Quinn, who is replacing Derek Anderson as the Browns- starting quarterback, will get his chance at home against a Denver defense that is 28th in points allowed and 27th in passing yards allowed. Better to let the new guy play against that group than against last week's opponent, Baltimore. The Ravens aren't exactly kind to quarterbacks, running backs, or opposing offenses in general.
DETROIT (+6) over Jacksonville: This line may move up because Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who has been playing well of late, has a sprained thumb and may miss the game. Still, take the points. Winless Detroit lost a heartbreaker to a solid Chicago squad and will be able to hang in with Jacksonville, which has a margin of victory of just 4 points per game. Per its reputation, Jacksonville struggles to score, but its defense - long a strength - is nothing special. Taking Detroit is a risk; it has the NFL's worst defense and a pitiful offense. But the Jags, who looked terrible against previously winless Cincinnati, seem to be heading in the wrong direction and could even provide a second straight franchise its first win of the season.
St. Louis (+8) over NY JETS: The Jets are a mystery. They sit at 5-3, even with Brett Favre struggling. They are terrific against the run, allowing just 76 yards per game, but struggle defending the pass (236 yards per game allowed). St. Louis is also tough to figure; three weeks ago, it blew out Dallas on the road, and the next week almost took down New England on the road. But at home last week against Arizona, the Rams were crushed. The common thread for the Rams was that they remained competitive against lower-tier quarterbacks like Brad Johnson and Matt Cassel but struggled against Kurt Warner and the explosive Cardinals (the Rams' defense is second worst in the league). Favre has not looked sharp in recent weeks, and the Jets don't have Arizona-like firepower to lay this many points, even at home.
New Orleans (Pick) over ATLANTA: The Falcons are a great story, but the Saints are better than their 4-4 record and are talented enough to take this game. Coming off a bye following its trip to London, New Orleans will need to jump out to an early lead over Atlanta in order to neutralize the Falcons' top-ranked running game. The Saints had high hopes entering this season, and a loss here, in their division, would be devastating. New Orleans has enough talented personnel to make sure that will not happen.
SAN DIEGO (-14) over Kansas City: I'll lay the points figuring that San Diego, in desperate need of a win, will pour it on. The Chiefs are going to have problems stopping the Chargers' offense (28 points per game), and if San Diego goes up big early, it could be a long day for Kansas City. It's easy to get fooled by the Chiefs; they occasionally show heart, and have plenty of young talent. But on the road, they lose by an average of 17 points, which is where the huge spread comes in. San Diego has been the league's biggest disappointment, but it will come to make a statement in this game.
The rest: No team implodes like Buffalo (+4) this season, but there's only a field goal difference between the Bills and NEW ENGLAND ... I'll take my chances with Tennessee (-3) when it's facing CHICAGO with Rex Grossman at quarterback ... Seattle (+9) is terrible, but MIAMI shouldn't be favored by this much over any team ... Carolina (-9) will manhandle OAKLAND ... PITTSBURGH is balanced, but Indianapolis (+3) is beginning to look better and will pounce on the Steelers, who are on a short week ... PHILADELPHIA looked great against woeful Seattle, but the Giants (+3) are the class of the league ... Baltimore (+1) has enough on both sides of the ball to get past a HOUSTON club that will turn to Sage Rosenfels in the wake of Matt Schaub's injury ... ARIZONA (-9) is not a good matchup for a San Francisco squad that allows 29 points per game.
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This week's OT cover
OT beat writersMaureen Mullen brings you Red Sox information and insights.
Tom Wilcox covers the Patriots.
Scott Souza is all over the Celtics.
Danny Picard is on the ice with the Bruins.
Mike McDonald takes a look at the humorous side of Boston sports