- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicago’s defense found a way to curtail Michael Vick’s exploits. Houston’s D doesn’t resemble the Bears in any way.

Another prime-time showcase for Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles comes Thursday night when they entertain the Texans. Yes, Houston comes off a shutout of Tennessee, but the Titans are in turmoil and nobody is suggesting the Texans should be equated with the Monsters of the Midway.

In fact, they’re usually more like a turnstile than a brick wall. Even with the blanking of the Titans, Houston ranks 28th overall on defense and 31st against the pass.

Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek collectively must be saying “Bring them on.”

Philly is a 7-point favorite to remain atop the NFC East.

“For us to go out there and not to be able to win like we wanted to is obviously disappointing,” Jackson said of the loss at Soldier Field. “That’s (neither) here nor there. We’re on to the next one. We have Houston coming in, and that’s what we’re worried about.”

No worries.

EAGLES, 28-20

Chicago (minus 3 1/2) at Detroit

Time to give the Bears some Lovie.


Dallas (plus 5) at Indianapolis

Imagine: Colts were 11-0 a year ago. Now, they could fall to 6-6 as Peyton Manning struggles to carry an injury-ravaged squad.


N.Y. Jets (plus 3) at New England, Monday night

The always-entertaining Rex Ryan and his band of personalities against the always-staid Bill Belichick and his band of automatons. Except that Tom Brady has shown the kind of fire this year that Ryan would welcome.


Pittsburgh (plus 2 1/2) at Baltimore

Another game with two strong AFC teams, albeit not nearly as solid as projected when the season began. The winner has a leg up on a division title and a postseason bye.

RAVENS, 16-13

Atlanta (minus 2 1/2) at Tampa Bay

Man, are the Falcons good at home. True Super Bowl-caliber teams also are dangerous on the road. Here’s a chance to prove that.

FALCONS, 21-13

Oakland (plus 12 1/2) at San Diego

Here come the Chargers! There go the Raiders!


San Francisco (plus 9 1/2) at Green Bay

Even with Frank Gore out, the Niners have the best running back in this game in Brian Westbrook. Problem is, Green Bay is far better in every other area.

PACKERS, 28-13

Denver (plus 6 1/2) at Kansas City

Chiefs need to keep winning with San Diego on its November-December run. All the karma in Denver is bad. Wonder if Haley and McDaniels will shake hands this time.

CHIEFS, 33-24

New Orleans (minus 6 1/2) at Cincinnati

Saints are beginning to find their stride. Bengals have been in reverse for two months.

SAINTS, 28-13

St. Louis (minus 3) at Arizona

Are the Rams really leading the division? Are the Cardinals really this bad?

Yes and yes.

RAMS, 24-10

Carolina (plus 6 1/2) at Seattle

If Seahawks don’t win this one at home, they can kiss any playoff hopes goodbye.


Buffalo (plus 6 1/2) at Minnesota

Vikings showed some passion and positive emotion last week. Bills have to forget last week’s heartbreaker.

VIKINGS, 27-21

Cleveland (plus 5 1/2) at Miami

Browns nearly lost at home to Carolina. That’s enough evidence for us that Dolphins will get second home win.


Washington (plus 8) at N.Y. Giants

Which Washington team shows up for a still-undermanned Giants squad, the one that’s beaten Philly, Green Bay and Chicago? Or the one that lost to Detroit and Houston?

GIANTS, 21-14

Jacksonville (OFF) at Tennessee

Jaguars are in contention in part because Titans and Texans have fallen apart and Colts are banged-up.

JAGUARS, 17-14



Versus spread, 8-5-3 (overall 93-71-5); Straight up, 11-5 (overall 116-60)

Best Bet: 6-6 against spread, 8-4 straight up.

Upset Special: 7-5 against spread, 7-5 straight up.

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