The Sunday GPS, Week X: Vikes or Cowboys more playoff ready? Now we find out
GOLD JACKET GAME OF THE WEEK
MINNESOTA @ DALLAS, 8:20 p.m. (EST)
The line: Cowboys by 3
The weather: Partly cloudy, high of 72
The story: Here we go again. Another winning opponent for Kirk Cousins. Granted, he’s made progress the past month dispelling the notion that he’s as good in games vs. quality opponents as mittens are in Cabo San Lucas, but he cratered last week in Kansas City when he had a chance to close out the Chiefs. These aren’t the Chiefs, but it is a division leader ... and he won't have Adam Thielen. Consider it a litmus test both for Cousins and a Cowboys’ team that's 1-2 vs. winning opponents and 4-1 vs. cupcakes (including a loss to … the Jets).
Something to consider: Minnesota’s defensive ends combined for 18 sacks this season, most among one team’s defensive ends.
THREE OTHERS WORTHY OF HALL OF FRAMING
KANSAS CITY @ TENNESSEE, 1 p.m. (EST)
The line: Chiefs by 5-1/2
The weather: Sunny, high of 65
The story: Patrick Mahomes is practicing again and says he feels no pain ... which means two things: 1) The betting line will continue to move up, and 2) the Titans are in trouble. Hey, they’re in trouble anyway. They’ve lost three of their last five and combat Mahomes with an offense that’s not exactly a juggernaut. So rolling out Mahomes at, say, 85 percent vs. a 100 percent Ryan Tannehill is … yep, a mismatch.
Something to consider: Tennessee’s Derrick Henry averages 11.7 second-half touches, fourth most among the NFL’s 52 qualified backs.
N.Y. GIANTS @ N.Y. JETS, 1 p.m. (EST)
The line: Giants by 2-1/2
The weather: Partly cloudy high of 54
The story: I know, I know, both teams stink. But that’s why I love this game. Because the question is: Who stinks more? From here, it looks like the Jets. Their coach is clueless and their quarterback sees ghosts. But the Giants aren’t much better. Their head coach isn’t exactly Lombardi, and their quarterback sees black cats. Ah, New York, New York. It’s a helluva town … the Bronx is up but these two are down.
Something to consider: Daniel Jones has 16 turnovers this season, tied with Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston for most in the league.
L.A. RAMS @ PITTSBURGH, 4:25 p.m. (EST)
The line: Rams by 3-1/2
The weather: Partly cloudy, high of 53
The story: Maybe this is a walk-over; maybe not. Oddsmakers think it’ll be closer than most, and I get it. The Steelers won their last three and, at 4-4, are still in the AFC North race. I’m serious. Look at their schedule. After this it’s two games vs. Cleveland and one each vs. Cincinnati and Arizona. It’s not a stretch to think they could win all four. But beating the defending NFC champs? Yeah, it might be a stretch. Donald Frank is coming home to Pittsburgh, and, guaranteed, Mason Rudolph sees more of him than Frank’s family.
Something to consider: Pittsburgh won 11 of its last 15 games at home vs. West Coast teams.
OUR BEST BETS
RON BORGES -- GREEN BAY (--5-1/2). Carolina now knows Cam Newton is gone for the year. His replacement is 5-1 but won't get to No. 6 Sunday.
CLARK JUDGE – CLEVELAND (--3). Moustache Mania has moved north.
RICK GOSSELIN – SEATTLE (+6). Russell Wilson is my mid-season MVP. He’ll show why in this NFC West showdown.
THE WEEKEND OMG
Through eight games the Baltimore Ravens average 221.1 passing yards and 204.9 rushing yards per game. No team in NFL history has averaged 200-plus yards passing AND receiving in an entire season.
FIVE GUYS TO WATCH
MATTHEW STAFFORD, QB, Detroit. He aims for his fourth consecutive game with at least 300 yards passing, three touchdowns and a rating of 100 or more.
MITCHELL TRUBISKY, QB, Chicago. Detroit’s Matt Patricia calls him “a great quarterback,” but great quarterbacks don’t have TVs silenced to block out the critics. This is someone who looks ready to crack … or sit down.
LAMAR JACKSON, QB, Baltimore. He rushed for a career-high 152 yards and scored once when he met the Bengals last month.
DREW BREES, QB, New Orleans. He has 52 touchdown passes and 8,224 yards vs. Atlanta in his career, the most vs. any opponent.
KYLER MURRAY, QB, Arizona. He can become the first rookie quarterback in franchise history to win three road games. Honest.
TEN THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO REMEMBER
1. If Baltimore rushes for 150 yards the Ravens join the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to rush for 150 or more yards in eight of their first nine games.
2. Arizona has an NFL-low four turnovers and hasn’t had a giveaway in five straight games.
3. The Ravens are 12-3 with Lamar Jackson at quarterback and produced an NFL-best 407.7 yards in offense during that time, including an NFL-high 216.4 rushing yards per game.
4. Since 2009, Sean Payton is an NFL-best 8-2 following byes.
5. San Francisco is 5-0 on the road. It’s the most road wins for the 49ers since 1990.
6. The 49ers have three or more sacks in each of five consecutive games.
7. Nine quarterbacks, including six under the age of 31, have passer ratings of 100 or higher through the first nine weeks. That’s the second-most in NFL history during that time.
8. Patrick Mahomes has a passer rating of 100 or better in eight of his past nine road games.
9. Sunday’s game is the Packers’ only home date during a 48-day stretch. The last time that happened was 2010.
10. Kyler Murray hasn’t thrown an interception in 172 consecutive passes, the league’s longest active streak.
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