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Sunday Playbook: Chiefs-Broncos showdown a piece of the postseason puzzle

First-place teams have at least a two-game lead in five of the eight divisions in the NFL. The three others figure to be highly competitive until the end.
The race that will be most fun to watch is in the AFC West. The first of four games among the three contenders will be Sunday night, when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Denver Broncos after the first-place Raiders take on the Carolina Panthers in a late afternoon Sunday game.
Coming up are: Oakland at Kansas City on Dec. 8, a Thursday night; Denver at Kansas City on Christmas Day and Oakland at Denver on New Year's Day.
Only one other game on the Week 12 schedule involves likely playoff contenders. That's  the Seattle Seahawks (first in the NFC West) at Tampa Bay (one game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South).
With the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader out of the way, a capsule look at the remaining Week 12 games:
Game of the day
Chiefs (7-3) at Broncos (7-3)
TV: NBC, 8:30 p.m.
The line: Broncos (-3).
The scoop: Kansas City had lost seven straight to Broncos and last three in Denver before 29-13 rout at Mile High last Nov. 15. It was notable because it was the game  when Denver QB Peyton Manning was benched and did not start again until playoffs. Broncos had only 40 yards and Manning completed 4 of 15 for 0 yards and 00.0 rating before he was yanked. ... Chiefs have won their last eight division games but are only 2-0 this season, including a 26-10 win at Oakland, which may end up as huge in deciding tight AFC-West race. ... Chiefs QB Alex Smith has not thrown an interception in his last 15 division road games. Denver QB Trevor Siemian is 4-0 as starter at home.
Outlook: If there is a break to be had, the Chiefs seem to get it but they ran out of luck in 19-17 loss at Tampa Bay last week. Broncos coming off two-point win at New Orleans on blocked extra-point return, then a bye week. With two weeks to prepare, Denver, 24-16.
Top attractions
Panthers (4-6) at Raiders (8-2)
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Raiders (-3 1/2).
The scoop: Derek Carr is bringing back memories of Mad Bomber days of Daryle Lamonica. He had passes of 75, 39, 35 and 29 yards in win over Houston last Monday night in Mexico City. That's a season's worth for some QBs. ... Cam Newton's decision-making (11 TDs, 7 INTs, 80.9 rating) is main reason defending NFC champion Panthers are most under-achieving team this season.
Outlook: Only five teams, including Browns and 49ers, have allowed more TD passes than Panthers. Carr and his receivers should enjoy a big day. Oakland, 31-17.
Chargers (4-6) at Texans (6-4)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Pick'em.
The scoop: Colts loss on Thursday night helped Houston because it dropped Indy two games behind in loss column. Texans QB Brock Osweiler getting lots of criticism for his 12-10 TD-INT ratio and 74.9 rating, but he is 5-0 as starter at home and is 2-0 in his career as starter vs. San Diego. ... Unpredictable Chargers coming off a bye. With Philip Rivers at QB (20 TDs, 11 INTs), they are always dangerous. Rivers has moved to eighth place on all-time list with 301 passing TDs.
Outlook: Oddsmakers must not think much of Houston despite record and home-field advantage. Chargers capable of playing well but seem to find a way to lose. Houston, 21-17.
Seahawks (7-2-1) at Buccaneers (5-5)
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Seahawks (-5 1/2).
The scoop: Fourth and final trip to Eastern Time Zone for Seattle. ... Seattle (98.4) one of 12 teams holding opponents under 100-yard average rushing a game. ... With Jacquizz Rodgers out, Doug Martin (181 yards, 2.1 average) carries running load for Bucs. ... Doug Baldwin of Seahawks has become one of most productive receivers in league. He's had 19 TD catches last two seasons, five in 2016.
Outlook: Neither team figures to run much. Look for Bucs and Jameis Winston to match talents with Russell Wilson. Seattle, 24-21.
Cardinals (4-5-1) at Falcons (6-4)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Falcons (-4).
The scoop: With Tampa Bay an underdog at home against Seattle, this is chance for first-place Atlanta to open a two-game lead in NFC South. ... Falcons coming off a bye. Cardinals lost on road to Vikings last week. ... Potent Atlanta offense ranks third (416.6) in league while Cards have taken NFL lead in defense (287.4) despite disappointing record.
Outlook: Cards can't give up 100-yard INT return and 104 KO return in same game again, can they? But can they handle Julio Jones, who leads league with 1,105 receiving yards? Falcons, 27-10.
Best of the rest
Jaguars (2-8) at Bills (5-5)
TV: CBS 1 p.m.
The line: Bills (-7 1/2).
The scoop: Jags have a ton more talent than other bottom-feeders,  49ers and Browns. They have turned the ball over more times (22) and taken it away fewer times (7) than any team in NFL and they  lose the ball at worst possible time.
Outlook:  Beware Jaguars, especially if Bortles avoids huge errors. Bills don't do anything the easy way. Buffalo, 20-17.
 
Bengals (3-6-1) at Ravens (5-5)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Ravens (4 1/2).
The scoop: Loss of A.J. Green leaves huge hole in Cincinnati offense. Opponents don't  have to respect deep ball as much and can load up to stop run. ... Between Andy Dalton of Bengals and Joe Flacco of Ravens, they have thrown for 15 interceptions so there should be lot of turnovers in this one.
Outlook: Ravens should be up for this one because they have dropped last five to Cincy by average score of 25-20 and they need win to keep pace with Steelers in division. Baltimore, 27-20.
Titans (5-6) at Bears (2-8)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Titans (-5).
The scoop: Tennessee got blown out early (21-0) in key division game at nemesis Colts last week. Now they must recover on road.  They're helped by fact that Matt Barkley probably will start for Bears instead of injured Jay Cutler.
Outlook: Colts kept DeMarco Murray (1,000 rushing yards) in check last week (long gain of 8) but can the Bears do the same? Chicago is always dangerous at Soldier Field, but Bears are struggling now. Tennessee, 24-13.
Packers (4-6) at Eagles (5-5)
Kickoff: Monday, ESPN, 8:30 p.m.
The line: Eagles (-3 1/2).
The scoop: What's happened to Green Bay? Packers have sunk to where they are almost irrelevant this season even though Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 25 TDs, second in league, and Jordy Nelson leads league with nine TD catches. ... Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz has cooled off since hot start.
Outlook: Eagles are 4-0 at home, Packers are 1-4 away from Lambeau. Two teams trying to stay on fringes of playoff contention. Eagles, 30-24.
Giants (7-3) at Browns (0-10)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Giants (-7).
The scoop: Old film of classic Giants-Browns from the '50s should be more entertaining than this one, especially for old-timers. Duels between Steve Owen/Jim Lee Howell  Giants and Paul Brown's Browns helped establish NFL popularity.
Outlook: Giants looking more and more like playoff team with passing of Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr. and defense coming on.  Browns are plucky but getting beaten down. New York, 31-14.
Rams (4-6) at Saints (4-6)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Saints (-7).
The scoop: Drew Brees with 3,277 passing yards and 26 TDs on one side and Jared Goff with one start for 134 yards on the other. Looks like a mismatch, especially with Saints at home.
Outlook: Saints quietly rebuilding on the fly after two 7-9 seasons. Rams coach Jeff Fisher (5-0) never has lost to Saints, but there's always a first. New Orleans, 27-10.
Patriots (8-2) at Jets (3-7)
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
The line: Patriots (-7 1/2).
The scoop: NBC bumped this one off Sunday night prime time. That's saying a lot when you have Tom Brady going against a team from Gotham. Last time Pats visited MetLife they lost in OT, 26-20, last Dec. 27 on a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass to Eric Decker.
Outlook: Patriots are stay unbeaten on road, 24-13.
Dog of the day
49ers (1-9) at Dolphins (6-4)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Dolphins (-8).
The scoop: Miami riding five-game win streak and with another victory will move into final AFC wild-card position with winner of Chiefs-Broncos game. ... Emergence of RB Jay Ajayi has helped Ryan Tannehill settle down and play like a competent NFL QB, and defense is improving each week.
Outlook: Dolphins are 4-1 at home with only loss in Week Five to Titans. Fish are 5-0 since. Miami, 31-13.
Last week results: 10-3 outright, 6-7 versus spread.
Season's record: 92-56-2 outright; 75-69-6 versus spread.
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