Previews, predictions, start times for every game – Orange County Register




Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Outlook: From here on out, NFC teams with playoff aspirations have only a thin margin for error. This applies especially to the Lions, who missed an opportunity to capitalize against the Vikings last week and remain on the outside of the Wild Card race, looking in. With Matthew Stafford ailing, the Lions could have a hard time finding an offensive rhythm this week. That’s because the Ravens remain very good on defense, in spite of their terrible offense. If the Lions can stop running back Alex Collins, who has been their most effective threat, the Ravens shouldn’t be able to do anything on offense. Joe Flacco just can’t get it done anymore.

Player to watch: Stafford, QB. Stafford will probably play this week, in spite of a lingering ankle injury, but how effective will he really be? Against the Vikings last Thursday, he certainly didn’t seem like himself, and faced with a Ravens offense, the Lions will need Stafford at his best. He’s a tough player, and here’s betting he’ll gut it out.

Line: Ravens by 3

Pick: Lions, 24-17


Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Outlook: A new era of 49ers football begins, with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. Unfortunately for them, there’s not much else to get excited about yet. However, Garoppolo’s ascendance this week is particularly good timing, just as the Bears have begun falling apart. Mitch Trubisky hasn’t shown much over the past month, and while Chicago’s run game has been solid most of the year, it’s shown cracks in recent weeks, too. The 49ers are playing for the future, but a road victory at Soldier Field in the debut of their franchise quarterback would be quite a boost to morale.

Player to watch: Garoppolo, QB. Finally, the 49ers made the right decision, and now, we’ll see just how good their new franchise quarterback will be away from the Patriot Way. With New England in 2016, he went 2-0 in his two starts with a completion percentage nearing 70 percent. The Bears secondary is solidly mediocre, but the 49ers weapons on offense are worse than that.

Line: Bears by 3.5

Pick: 49ers, 27-24


Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Outlook: The best game this week is in Atlanta, where the Falcons are hoping to ride their recent offensive surge past a similarly hot, Case Keenum-led Vikings offense. Minnesota has won seven in a row with Keenum at the helm, and there’s little reason to believe…

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