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Cowboys at Bears: Two .500 teams mired in disappointment

It's difficult to determine which 6-6 team has flopped more this season, the Cowboys or Bears. Maybe Thursday night's matchup at Soldier Field will give us a clue. Dallas, at least, is in position to make the playoffs, albeit as the winner of the weak NFC East. With Philadelphia ravaged by injuries and also underachieving, the Cowboys have a one-game lead.

Chicago, however, is stuck behind NFC North leader Green Bay (9-3) and Minnesota (8-4), and needs a massive turnaround on offense to have any shot at the postseason. Remember, both teams won their divisions last year.

The Cowboys have lost three of their past four games. “Talk is cheap right? We’ve talked a lot,” quarterback Dak Prescott says. “We’ve talked a bunch and got ourselves right to where we are. In a moment like this I say hell with the talking and I’m going to do more. I’m going to work harder, and if you’re a young guy looking for somebody to figure it out, how to do it, yeah, look at me and some of these other guys. Because that’s exactly what we’re doing — putting our head down focusing and doubling down on ourselves.”

We're hardly ready to double down on Dallas, No. 14 in the AP Pro32. The Cowboys are 3-point favorites over No. 16 Chicago. COWBOYS, 17-16 KNOCKOUT POOL: Green Bay imported some snow to New Jersey and did right by us. This time we venture to the Lone Star state for the TEXANS.

No. 30 Detroit (plus 13) at No. 10 Minnesota Vikings are super annoyed at losing tight games to good teams. Lions aren't good. BEST BET: VIKINGS, 33-10 No. 11 Tennessee (minus 3) at No. 17 Oakland Last shot for Raiders to do something special before heading to Sin City.

UPSET SPECIAL: RAIDERS, 27-23 No. 6 (tie) Kansas City (plus 3 1-2) at No. 5 New England If Patriots truly are in trouble, they will lose this one. PATRIOTS, 20-17 No. 1 Baltimore (minus 6) at No. 9 Buffalo

Don't underestimate Bills, who can stamp themselves as big-timers here. RAVENS: 23-21 No. 2 Seattle (minus 1) at No. 12 Los Angeles Rams Seahawks will stamp themselves as big-timers with this victory.

SEAHAWKS, 23-21 No. 3 San Francisco (plus 2 1-2) at No. 4 New Orleans Tough schedule could plummet Niners from unbeaten to sixth seed. SAINTS, 21-16 No. 13 Pittsburgh (minus 2) at No. 24 (tie) Arizona

Mike Tomlin is doing some of his best coaching work. STEELERS, 20-16 No. 29 Washington (plus 13) at No. 6 (tie) Green Bay Don't be fooled by Washington's consecutive wins. Packers won't be. PACKERS, 30-13

No. 20 Carolina (plus 3) at No. 28 Atlanta Ron Rivera fired, Dan Quinn on hot seat. Go with ... FALCONS, 26-17 No. 26 Miami (plus 5 1-2) at No. 27 New York Jets FitzMagic returns to Meadowlands. Wonder if he'll be welcomed.

JETS, 22-20 No. 31 New York Giants (plus 9) at No. 18 Philadelphia (Monday night) Eli's coming back? Won't matter, though Eagles are struggling. EAGLES, 30-16 No. 23 Denver (plus 9) at No. 8 Houston

Could be trap game for Houston between Patriots and Titans. TEXANS, 20-18 No. 32 Cincinnati (plus 9) at No. 21 Cleveland Cleveland already fell into trap of overconfidence (and revenge). BROWNS, 29-24

No. 15 Indianapolis (plus 3) at No. 19 Tampa Bay Two very confounding squads. Colts desperately need this one. COLTS, 26-23 No. 22 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 3) at No. 24 (tie) Jacksonville Chargers can't get out of their own way, Jags have discord.

JAGUARS, 17-16


Last Week: 10-6 against spread, 8-8 straight up.

Season Totals: 103-86-2 against spread, 116-73-1 straight up.

Best Bet: 10-3 against spread, 11-2 straight up.

Upset special: 7-6 against spread, 7-6 straight up.

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