Welcome to Week 14 of the NFL season. As the 49ers very effectively reminded us in Week 13, bubble wrap that franchise quarterback if ya got one.
Speaking of which, San Francisco will be starting 22-year-old Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, against 45-year-old Tom Brady, who's been Mr. Very Relevant for longer than Purdy has been alive.
Gotta go with the G.O.A.T. as the underdog, even though the 49ers defense will be hazardous to his health.
Meanwhile, look for the Vikings to, gasp, win by one score, the Eagles and Cowboys to keep rolling by several scores and old friend Mike Tomlin to win for a fourth time in five weeks and move a step closer to what would be a darn near miraculous 16th straight non-losing season in 16 years as Steelers head coach.
NFL scoreboard: Week 14 schedule, game previews, stats
Here are this week's picks:
Raiders (-6½) at Rams: The Raiders are riding a three-game win streak. The dead-team-walking Rams are helping the Lions secure a top-four draft pick with LA's next installment of the Matthew Stafford payment plan. Raiders 28, Rams 17
SUNDAY'S TOP GAMES
Vikings (+2 ½) at Lions: Just a wild guess, but the Vikings will … start fast, take a lead into halftime, go head-scratchingly cold in the third quarter, give up a ton of yards with an inconsistent to ineffective four-man rush and then find some way to be one score better in the fourth quarter. Vikings 27, Lions 23
Eagles (-6 ½) at Giants: The Eagles are 5-0 in one-score games and 7-1 in games in which one team drops the hammer and kind of beats the snot out of the other. Eagles 30, Giants 17
Buccaneers (+3 ½) at 49ers: Purdy has the better offensive line, the better defense and home-field advantage. But history will not record this schlub taking Mr. Irrelevant to beat Brady. Buccaneers 24, 49ers 20
Jets (+10½) at Bills: Bills by 7
Ravens (+2½) at Steelers: Steelers by 7
Browns (+5½) at Bengals: Bengals by 9
Jaguars (+3 ½) at Titans: Titans by 6
Texans (+17½) at Cowboys: Cowboys by 14
Chiefs (-9½) at Broncos: Chiefs by 3
Panthers (+3 ½) at Seahawks: Seahawks by 7
Patriots (-2½) at Cardinals: New England will slow Kyler Murray enough to help a sputtering offense that spent the last three weeks sandwiching a pair of 10-point performances around the 26 it scored against the Vikings. Patriots 24, Cardinals 19
Dolphins (-3½) at Chargers: The slumping Chargers and Justin Herbert rediscover the deep ball and move the ball well enough to outshoot Tua Tagovailoa and a Dolphins team that's coming off a bad loss at San Francisco. Chargers 37, Miami 31
Last week's Upset Special: Texans (+7) 28, Browns 25. Score: Browns 27, Texans 14. Record: 3-10.
Straight up last week/season: 8-6-1/106-85-2.
Against the spread last week/season: 8-6-1/95-95-3.
Vikings picks: 7-5.