Of course, the Saints still have the ageless Brees and are playing at home, and Washington is ranked in the bottom half of the N.F.L. in pass defense. So a team that is rising in leaguewide respect on offense and defense may put on just as good a show, even if it comes together in a different way. Pick: Saints

Rams at Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Vikings by 2

The Vikings (7-2) are in quite a pickle. They have Teddy Bridgewater, the team’s preferred starting quarterback, healthy and ready to play, but Case Keenum, a journeyman backup, has led the team to five consecutive wins — four as a starter and one in relief of Sam Bradford. And it is not as if Keenum has just been along for the ride; he has played the best football of his career.

For now, the job belongs to Keenum. But he and the Vikings have a tough task against Keenum’s former team, the surging Rams (7-2).

Keenum’s replacement in Los Angeles, Jared Goff, has led the way for the N.F.L.’s top-scoring offense (32.9 points a game), and thanks to some refinement by the defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the Rams also have the league’s third best scoring defense (18 points a game).

No one would have guessed it before the season started, but this is absolutely a matchup of two of the five or six best teams in the N.F.L., and whichever team comes out on top will have bragging rights for weeks. Pick: Vikings

Eagles at Cowboys, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Line: Eagles by 3.5

The timing could not be worse for the Cowboys (5-4) to be hosting the Eagles (8-1). In last week’s debut of the Ezekiel Elliott-free version of Dallas’s offense, Dak Prescott was decidedly mortal, producing 176 passing yards on 5.87 yards an attempt (the fifth lowest mark of his career). Losing Elliott to a six-game suspension meant not only a major downgrade in the running game, but also the elimination of the star running back as a threat on play-action passes. Knowing that Dallas would be passing, Atlanta went hard after Prescott on every play, and feasted with eight sacks. Now Dallas will be dealing with a Philadelphia defense led by Fletcher Cox that is infinitely more terrifying than Atlanta’s, while Dallas’s defense, which had shown some improvement, will be stuck trying to slow down Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense. It looks like Dallas is headed back to .500. Pick: Eagles

Patriots at Raiders, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Line: Patriots by 6.5

It is hard to complain about a 41-16 victory, but the Patriots (7-2) allowed enough yardage last week against a Denver offense led by Brock Osweiler for it to qualify as troubling. The good news is that New England has picked a fantastic season to work through some issues, as the A.F.C. has been awful. There is a chance that Derek Carr could regain some of his mojo from last season, which would put a ton of pressure on New England’s secondary, but the Raiders (4-5) just don’t seem to have the right pieces to succeed. Pick: Patriots

Second-Tier Games


DeMarco Murray of the Tennessee Titans scored a game-winning touchdown last week against Cincinnati. Twelve of Tennessee’s 20 offensive touchdowns this season have come on the ground.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Titans at Steelers, 8:25 p.m. (Thursday), NBC and NFL Network

Line: Steelers by 7

An emphasis on these teams coming in with matching four-game win streaks ignores the fact that they were playing mostly bad teams and neither managed to dominate the competition. It is not that wins against teams like the Colts, Bengals and Browns don’t count in the standings, but it is hard to extrapolate too much from lopsided matchups. There is no question that the Titans (6-3) have shown improvement, and they should continue to do so against the Steelers (7-2), who will be playing without Joe Haden, a veteran cornerback, who is out with a fractured fibula. Pick: Titans

Ravens at Packers, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Ravens by 2

The Packers (5-4) not only won last week, but they also managed some legitimate moments of excitement on offense for the first time since Aaron Rodgers’s injury. Brett Hundley appeared far more confident and produced his best game as a pro. The win, however, should be taken with a grain of salt, as it came against Chicago. It will not be easy to repeat the success with Aaron Jones out and Ty Montgomery questionable, which could leave Green Bay with Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays at running back. But the Ravens (4-5) have been awful recently, with the exception of a fluky win over lowly Miami, so Hundley may get the Packers back to two games over .500, which seemed impossible two weeks ago. Pick: Packers

Jaguars at Browns, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Jaguars by 7.5

The improvement of the run defense for the Jaguars (6-3) no longer seems like a fluke, and Jacksonville has somehow become the third best team in the A.F.C. If the team had a more consistent offense,…

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