San Diego (2-3) at Kansas City (1-5)
Time: 10 a.m. Line: Chargers -4½ Total: 44
RADIO: KWWN-AM (1100)
Weather: Temperatures in low 60s, 40 percent chance of rain
Facts: San Diego’s remarkable surge to win the AFC West last season started in Kansas City in Week 15, when the Chargers overcame an 18-point third period deficit to win, 22-21. It’s the second-biggest comeback in a victory the past two years. … The Chiefs had lost all four preseason games and their first five in the regular season before winning in Washington last week as a 6½-point underdog. … The Chargers lost last week 34-23 to Denver in part because they yielded a kickoff return and a punt return for scores. Last season, San Diego gave up only one special teams score.
Analysis: San Diego has too many 6-foot-5-inch receivers to make this a fair fight. Not only are the Chargers getting a league-best 14.1 yards a catch, but the Chiefs are second worst in allowing 13.8 yards a reception. If running back LaDainian Tomlinson contributes it’s a bonus.
Forecast: Chargers 28, Chiefs 12
Indianapolis (5-0) at St. Louis (0-6)
Time: 10 a.m. Line: Colts -13½ Total: 45½
Facts: This game marks the 18th time that a team with at least a 5-0 unbeaten mark faced a winless team that’s 0-5 or worse. The perfectly good teams are 15-2 straight up. … Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is on a league-record pace, completing 73.5 percent of his throws. In his previous 11 years, he never topped 67.6. … Since the Redskins went 0-for-4 trying to score touchdowns on first-and-goal possessions against the Rams in Week 2, St. Louis foes have reached the end zone in eight of their past nine visits. … Colts safety Bob Sanders hopes to make his season debut after recovering from surgery on his right knee.
Analysis: It would appear the Rams made great strides in taking the Jaguars to overtime last week before losing 23-20. But St. Louis’ defense couldn’t get off the field, allowing an NFL season-high 33 first downs. The Colts, coming off a bye, are lots better than the Jaguars.
Forecast: Colts 38, Rams 7
Green Bay (3-2) at Cleveland (1-5)
Time: 10 a.m. Line: Packers -8½ Total: 41½
Facts: What a waste of a bye: Green Bay had an extra week to prepare for Detroit’s Daunte Culpepper last week and now gets Derek Anderson, the worst-rated thrower in the league. … About 10 Browns players reportedly were suffering from the flu at midweek. … A different Packers receiver has totaled 100-plus receiving yards the past three weeks — Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley and Donald Driver. … The Browns have the worst-rated defense in the league, but Cleveland had the worst defense in 1964 and won the title.
Analysis: As long as the Packers keep playing atrocious teams, their flaws should be adequately masked. Those shortcomings are pass protection (13 sacks the past two games) and lawlessness. They had a league season-high 130 penalty yards last week and still pummeled Detroit.
Forecast: Packers 35, Browns 10
Minnesota (6-0) at Pittsburgh (4-2)
Time: 10 a.m. Line: Steelers -5½ Total: 45
TV: Fox (5)
Weather: High 50s
Facts: Minnesota’s Brett Favre has a passer rating of 109.5, third best in the league. In no previous season did he finish as high as 100. … The 2003 Vikings were the last 6-0 team not to qualify for the postseason. … Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger has an NFL-best 26 completions of 20 yards or more, only nine fewer than he had in his Super Bowl-winning season last year. Hines Ward has caught 10 of them. … Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen is third in the league with 7½ sacks, with all but two coming against backup tackles. Now he’ll face veteran Max Starks.
Analysis: A key to Minnesota slowing Big Ben is for Allen to turn the corner and beat Starks. Considering the middle of Heinz Field has just been resodded and a college game was scheduled there Saturday, he could be neutralized, which is bad news for the Vikings’ 23rd-rated pass defense (based on passer rating).
Forecast: Steelers 35, Vikings 21
New England (4-2) vs. Tampa Bay (0-6), London
Time: 10 a.m. Line: Patriots -14½ Total: 45
TV: CBS (8)
Weather: Low 50s
Facts: For the second time in three seasons, the NFL will be sending a winless team to Wembley Stadium. Miami was 0-7 before it lost to the Giants in 2007. … Tampa Bay has yielded 200 ground yards in three games this season. In its 2002 championship season, no team got more than 173. … New England’s 59-0 victory against Tennessee last week was the first such score in a game since the Rams blitzed Atlanta as a 14-point favorite in 1976. Los Angeles won as a 3-point underdog the next week in Dallas.
Analysis: Things haven’t been right around Tampa Bay since late last season when news leaked that veteran defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was leaving for the University of Tennessee. Ten straight losses later and Bucs are struggling mightily.
Forecast: Patriots 27, Buccaneers 7
San Francisco (3-2) at Houston (3-3)
Time: 10 a.m. Line: Texans -3 Total: 44
Weather: Low 80s, 40 percent chance of rain
Facts: 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill is the 24th-rated passer in the league, the same spot Ben Roethlisberger was in last year in leading Pittsburgh to the crown. A year earlier, Eli Manning was 25th as he guided the Giants to glory. … Houston quarterback Matt Schaub has a league-best 14 TD passes this season despite being shut out in the season opener by the Jets. … 49ers running back Frank Gore (probable, foot/ankle), who rushed for 207 yards against Seattle in Week 2, is expected back.
Analysis: San Francisco has two powerful trends working for it this week. For starters, the 49ers are coming off a bye, and teams have beaten the spread 57 percent of the time in this spot since 2002. Also, in their last game they were pulverized by Atlanta, 45-10. Teams coming off a 35-point loss have gone 37-23 against the line the past four years, including Oakland’s rousing upset of the Eagles last week.7
Forecast: 49ers 22, Texans 17
New York Jets (3-3) at Oakland (2-4)
Time: 1:05 p.m. Line: Jets -6 Total: 35
Weather: Low 70s
Facts: Oakland sacked Philadelphia 13-9 last week as a 14½-point underdog, the biggest upset by anyone in the past 14 seasons. … This marks the Jets’ ninth visit to Oakland since 1999, including games six days apart at the end of the 2001 season. … In New York’s 16-13 overtime loss to Buffalo last week, Mark Sanchez became the first quarterback since 2007 to throw five interceptions in a game. Maybe New Orleans safety Darren Sharper was right when he said Sanchez was telegraphing.
Analysis: The Raiders were motivated last week after hearing the Giants ridiculed their play in a 44-7 loss the week before. Now that Oakland has last week’s victory out of the way and no one’s questioning anyone’s manhood, it’s business as usual.
Forecast: Jets 27, Raiders 13
Buffalo (2-4) at Carolina (2-3)
Time: 1:05 p.m. Line: Panthers -7 Total: 37
Facts: Buffalo improved its record to 2-0 since 2001 when allowing an enemy running back to rush for 200-plus yards (the Jets’ Thomas Jones, 210). The rest of the league is 0-31 in that span. … Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams (152 yards) and Jonathan Stewart (110) are the only teammates to top 100 yards in the same game this season. They’ll be going against a Buffalo unit that has yielded 220-plus yards in each of the past three weeks. … Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the start at quarterback. He was 4-7-1 as a starter for Cincinnati last year.
Analysis: Panthers coach John Fox is pretty sharp, so surely he won’t allow scatter-armed quarterback Jake Delhomme to do any dangerous throwing against a defense that’s always losing the line of scrimmage.
Forecast: Panthers 28, Bills 10
Chicago (3-2) at Cincinnati (4-2)
Time: 1:15 p.m. Line: Bengals -1½ Total: 42
Weather: Low 60s
Facts: Cincinnati’s offensive norm is 351.7 yards an outing, the worst for any winning team in the league. But that’s still an improvement of 106 yards for the Bengals over their league-worst average in 2008. … On Sunday, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw his third red-zone interception of the season and couldn’t get Chicago points on two other deep drives in a 21-14 loss in Atlanta. On Tuesday, he signed a two-year contract extension. … Cincinnati defensive end Antwan Odom, second in the league with eight sacks, is out for the year with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The other Bengals have a total of eight sacks.
Analysis: The Bengals and running back Cedric Benson raced to a 4-1 mark mushing through five teams that specialized in 3-4 defenses. Last week, it wasn’t so good against Houston’s 4-3. Now comes a similar unit.
Forecast: Bears 24, Bengals 14
New Orleans (5-0) at Miami (2-3)
Time: 1:15 p.m. Line: Saints -6½ Total: 47
Weather: Mid-80s, 40 percent chance of rain
Facts: New Orleans center fielder Darren Sharper has a league-best five interceptions, two more than Miami has. … The Dolphins, with a league-high 177 yards on the ground a game, are on a pace for 585 rushes this season. That would be the third most for any team in the past 20 years. … The Saints have scored touchdowns on first drives in four of their five games, best in the league. By contrast, Oakland has only two TDs in its past 63 opening drives.
Analysis: Three elements are working against the Saints in their quest to go 6-0 for the first time since 1988: Miami will be at home and coming off a bye, and the Saints are feeling cocky after wrecking the unbeaten Giants. New wrinkles in the Dolphins’ wildcat could prove unsettling to New Orleans.
Forecast: Dolphins 24, Saints 21
Atlanta (4-1) at Dallas (3-2)
Time: 1:15 p.m. Line: Cowboys -4 Total: 47½
TV: Fox (5)
Weather: Low 70s
Facts: Dallas has a league-best 5.9 yards a rush this season but faced four teams ranked in the bottom 10 of this category. … Atlanta running back Michael Turner (probable, chest) was second on the rushing charts last year with 1,699 yards on 4.5 a carry. Now he’s at 3.5 a carry with 353 yards with four fumbles. … Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin had four catches of 34-plus yards against Kansas City two weeks ago, including scores on 59- and 60-yard receptions as a replacement for Roy Williams (probable, ribs).
Analysis: Atlanta’s pass protection is exceptional, keeping Matt Ryan clean in four of five games. He should have enough time to find wide receivers Roddy White (210 yards two weeks ago) and tight end Tony Gonzalez. And, what’s the over/under on fumbles by Dallas running back Marion Barber while wearing a cast on his left hand (probable, thumb/thigh)?
Forecast: Falcons 24, Cowboys 21
Arizona (3-2) at New York Giants (5-1)
Time: 5:20 p.m. Line: Giants -7 Total: 46½
TV: NBC (3) RADIO: KWWN-AM (1100)
Weather: Low 60s
Facts: New York’s defense plummeted from first to eighth after giving up 48 points and 493 yards at New Orleans last week. … Arizona made four trips to the Northeast last year and gave up an average of 44 points in losing each game. … The Cardinals’ yield of 2.8 yards per rush is better than any other team by half a yard. Arizona is the only team to limit two foes to less than 40 yards rushing in a game, including Seattle’s 14 last week in a 27-3 Arizona victory.
Analysis: The New York coaches bemoaned the fact that the Giants didn’t blitz Drew Brees more in last week’s game in the Superdome, so Arizona’s Kurt Warner had better have his head on a swivel.
Forecast: Giants 31, Cardinals 21
Philadelphia (3-2) at Washington (2-4)
Time: 5:30 p.m. Line: Eagles -7 Total: 37½
TV: ESPN (30) RADIO: KWWN-AM (1100)
Weather: Low 60s
Facts: Go figure: The Eagles gave up 325 yards last week to the worst offense in the league and vault from third to first on the defensive charts at 282.8 yards a game. … The Redskins swept the season series from the Eagles last year, winning both times as a touchdown underdog. … Washington’s offense is under new management, with Sherm Lewis calling the plays. But it looks like quarterback Jason Campbell will keep his job.
Analysis: It seems the Eagles have one stinkeroo a year, and last week’s loss in Oakland was a dilly. Last year they were smeared at Baltimore 36-7, then rallied to win six of their next seven to reach the NFC title game. Last week’s humiliation could be a wake-up call.
Forecast: Eagles 28, Redskins 9
Byes: Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Seattle, Tennessee
Last week: 7-7 vs. spread; 8-6 straight up
Season total: 43-46-1 vs. spread; 53-37 straight up