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2012-11-18T00:00:00Z Around the leagueThe Associated Press The Associated Press
November 18, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Browns (2-7) at Cowboys (4-5)

11 a.m. • Ch 13 • Line: Cowboys by 7 1/2

• Dallas has begun thinking about a revival that will lift it back into the NFC playoff picture, and with matchups against the Browns, Redskins and Eagles at home just ahead, the Cowboys could become relevant again. To do so, they must immediately fix their turnover issues: minus-9, with Tony Romo's 13 interceptions topping the league. It would help tremendously if RB DeMarco Murray can return from a sprained right foot that has cost him four games. His availability will likely be a game-time decision. Right behind Romo is Cleveland's Brandon Weeden with 12 picks. He's a rookie, so maybe he gets a bit of, uh, a pass.

Chargers (4-5) at Broncos (6-3)

2:25 p.m. • Ch 13 • Line: Broncos by 8

• The NFL is beginning to see vintage Peyton Manning, which is bad news for every team except the Denver Broncos. It's especially daunting for the Chargers, who blew a 24-0 halftime lead at home to the Broncos a month ago and visit Denver today. A Broncos win would be their fifth straight and would give them a three-game lead in the AFC West. With one more touchdown pass, Manning would pass Dan Marino; both have 420, trailing Brett Favre's 508. Manning has completed 70 percent of his passes in six consecutive games, already an NFL mark. Most importantly to Manning would be getting his 148th career victory, which would break a tie with Marino and deadlock him with his current boss, John Elway.

Jets (3-6) at Rams (3-5-1)

11 a.m. • Line: Rams by 3

• The skill positions could spell the difference here. St. Louis has the edge at quarterback (Sam Bradford over Mark Sanchez), running back (Steven Jackson/Daryl Richardson over Shonn Greene) and receiver (Danny Amendola over anyone and everyone). The Rams also have more playmakers on defense. New York is in a tumultuous spiral that has affected its offense, defense and special teams.

Jaguars (1-8) at Texans (8-1)

11 a.m. • Line: Texans by 15 1/2

• Biggest mismatch of the weekend. Make that biggest mismatch of the season. Both teams showed their mettle last week. The Texans did it by out-hitting the Bears in the rain and wind at Soldier Field. The Jaguars did it by showing they aren't close to being ready for prime time in a 27-10 loss to Indianapolis. Some numbers to know: Houston has the second-stingiest defense in the NFL, allowing 281.6 yards a game; Jacksonville has the worst offense, gaining 263.6 per week.

Bengals (4-5) at Chiefs (1-8)

11 a.m. • Line: Bengals by 3 1/2

• The Bengals put together their best effort of the season in manhandling the Giants, and now they begin a tour through the mediocre AFC West (minus Denver, which has already beaten them) by facing the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers. Kansas City, tied with Jacksonville for the NFL's worst record, pushed Pittsburgh to overtime on Monday night and finally held a lead during regulation.

Eagles (3-6) at Redskins (3-6)

11 a.m. • Line: Redskins by 3 1/2

• A rookie QB who most of the time has been sensational will take on a first-year signal-caller getting a chance because the veteran starter is concussed. Washington's Robert Griffin III certainly seems to have the edge over former Arizona Wildcat Nick Foles. RG3, despite some inconsistencies, has delivered everything the No. 2 overall draft choice should, even as the Skins have dropped three straight and four of five. He's ninth in passer rating, leads all QBs with 529 yards rushing, has scored six times on the ground and has thrown for eight TDs. Foles will replace Michael Vick, who has been a turnover machine as the Eagles have collapsed. This is his trial run to see if he is Philly's quarterback of the future.

Packers (6-3) at Lions (4-5)

11 a.m. • Line: Packers by 3

• Fresh from a bye, the Packers still have injury issues, with linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) out today and starting tackle Bryan Bulaga gone for the season with a hip injury. DB Charles Woodson and WR Greg Jennings still are out. Yet the Pack is favored, in great part because the Lions are so unreliable. This makes them dangerous, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said. "I think any time you're playing a team that kind of has that type of mentality, the backs against the wall potential mentality, we felt it early against Houston," he said. No one has a tougher stretch run than the Lions, who now have three successive home games: Houston on Thanksgiving, followed by Indianapolis. Then come trips to Green Bay and Arizona before home meetings with Atlanta and Chicago.

Buccaneers (5-4) at Panthers (2-7)

11 a.m. • Line: Buccaneers by 1 1/2

• Get these numbers: 38, 28, 36, 42, 34. Those are the points the Buccaneers have put up the last five weeks, with four wins to become playoff contenders. Josh Freeman has become one of the NFL's most dangerous passers, rookie Doug Martin has been sensational running the ball, and the receiving tandem of Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams has broken out. Tampa Bay is also first in run defense, mainly because it is last stopping the pass. Carolina doesn't do either particularly well, and just as daunting is the Panthers' penchant for turnovers (minus-5 margin) compared to Tampa Bay's plus-11.

Saints (4-5) at Raiders (3-6)

2:05 p.m. • Line: Saints by 5

• The Saints are stoked, believing they are on a run to the playoffs after an 0-4 start. Coming off handing archrival Atlanta its first defeat, New Orleans can't afford to stumble here with the 49ers, Falcons, Giants and Bucs ahead on the schedule. Oakland's season has been tougher. It is banged-up and just yielded 55 points at Baltimore. The Ravens' offense doesn't resemble what Drew Brees and the Saints bring to the Black Hole.

Colts (6-3) at Patriots (6-3)

2:25 p.m. • Line: Patriots by 9 1/2

• Now that Manning is performing elsewhere, this rivalry appeared to lose steam. Then Andrew Luck and the Colts broke loose, winning four straight to establish themselves as wild card contenders. Considering how many holes New England's defense has - it ranks 25th overall, 29th against the pass, and has surrendered at least 24 points five times - Luck might look like Manning at Foxborough. Despite that defense, the Patriots are running away with the AFC East. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and Stevan Ridley on offense are why.

Bears (7-2) at 49ers (6-2-1)

6:30 p.m. Monday • ESPN • Line: 49ers by 6

• ESPN must have been salivating for a matchup between two NFC favorites with physical defenses, outstanding runners and the inside track on division titles. Instead, the network might get backup QBs Jason Campbell, in for Chicago's Jay Cutler, and Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco's Alex Smith. Both starters were concussed in last week's games.

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