CHARGERS (4-5) at BRONCOS (6-3)
Line: DEN by 7 1/2.
Cotes pick: DEN 30-26.
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS .
San Diego has won three in a row at Mile High in this division rivalry, but things have changed. The change is named Peyton Manning. Chargers will have much incentive after embarrassingly blowing a 24-0 lead and losing to Denver 35-24 in October, but Broncos will have Manning, who in four home games has 10 TDs, zero picks and a 115.3 rating. Bolts have yet to beat a team with a winning record, but keep this one close.
COLTS (6-3) at PATRIOTS (6-3)
Line: NE by 9 1/2.
Cotes pick: NE 34-27.
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS.
This one got a Game of the Week sniff. Teams have won seven in a row between them and Tom Brady vs. Andrew Luck feels special, somehow. Very much like Pats to win at home but also like rejuvenated Indy to keep it close. Although trading for CB Aqib Talib will help, Englands pass defense has allowed 19 scoring throws and you may have heard Luck-to-Reggie Wayne can do a little damage.
BEARS (7-2) at 49ERS (6-2-1)
Line: Off board.
Cotes pick: SF 19-17.
TV: 8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN.
Meet our Game of the Week first runner-up. (Bears-49ers would wear the crown only if Ravens-Steelers were caught in a scandal that forced expulsion from the pageant.) Monday nighter stayed off bet boards because both QBs, Bears Jay Cutler and Niners Alex Smith were battling concussions and iffy. As the week wore on it seemed likely that Smith would start but Cutler would sit in favor of experienced backup Jason Campbell. That and the venue steer this pick in what should be a delicious defensive battle.
OFF THIS WEEK
GIANTS (6-4; next vs. Packers): Two consecutive losses, tough game on deck and Eli Manning struggling. Defending champs hardly looking like repeat threat.
SEAHAWKS (6-4; next at Dolphins): Bad news: Seabirds will be coming to Miami off two consecutive wins and rested. Good news: Seattle not a strong road team.
TITANS (4-6; next at Jaguars): A 34-point win over Dolphins, a bye, then Jags. My nominee for NFLs easiest three-week schedule stretch.
VIKINGS (6-4; next at Bears): Minny a playoff contender or pretender? Next two games tell: Division roadies at Soldier Field, then at Lambeau Field.