This is one of those weeks when we love the NFL. There are great matchups with big-time playoff implications, which means enormous December games. What's not to love?

It starts Thursday with the Kansas City Chiefs playing host to the Oakland Raiders in a key AFC West game and it ends Monday night with the New England Patriots hosting the Baltimore Ravens. You also have the Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

There are other intriguing games like Pittsburgh at Buffalo and Denver at Tennessee, two games that can impact the playoff races for those four teams.

These are the weeks the NFL -- and the TV partners -- love. The ratings lull of early in the season will get a boost this week.

I can't wait.

Now for my picks:

Oakland at Kansas City

This is the best Thursday matchup of the season. The winner will be in first place. The Chiefs won at Oakland earlier this season, and I think it happens again. The pass rush will slow the Raiders offense, and the Chiefs take a close one.

Pick: Chiefs 24, Raiders 20

Eric Berry and the Chiefs look to shut down Amari Cooper and the potent Raiders offense. USATSI

Pittsburgh at Buffalo

The Steelers have won three straight and are playing well. It's the improved defense that has triggered the winning streak. The Bills will give them a tough challenge with their offense, but this week the Steelers offense gets it cranked up. Pittsburgh keeps rolling.

Pick: Steelers 30, Bills 23

Denver at Tennessee

The Broncos are playing consecutive road games, while the Titans are coming off a bye. That's a bad combination. The uncertainty with Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian bears watching as well. Even if he plays, I like the Titans here.

Pick: Titans 20, Broncos 13

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

The Bucs have won four straight games to get into the playoff mix. They are getting good play from Jameis Winston, but it's the defense that has stepped up. This will be a shootout, but they will pull out another one. The Bucs take it.

Pick: Bucs 31, Saints 27

Washington at Philadelphia

The Redskins are playing a third consecutive road game, which is brutal. The Eagles have really struggled after a fast start, but I think they get it going here against their division rival. Look for Carson Wentz to get back on track here.

Pick: Eagles 21, Redskins 17

Arizona at Miami

This is a long trip for the Cardinals, but they are still alive and looked good beating Washington. Miami was awful against Baltimore, doing very little on offense. Arizona's defense is good. The Cardinals finally win one on the East Coast.

Pick: Cardinals 20, Dolphins 17

San Diego at Carolina

This is a long trip for a San Diego team that is essentially out of it. That matters. But Carolina isn't playing well, which could offset it. I still think that Carolina, back home after two road losses, will show up and play here. The Panthers take it.

Pick: Panthers 28, Chargers 24

Cincinnati at Cleveland

The Browns are coming off a bye, while the Bengals are coming off a nice victory over Philadelphia. Cincinnati seemed to find something against the Eagles, but it's probably too late. This will be a close game, but the Bengals will pull it out late.

Pick: Bengals 23, Browns 16

Chicago at Detroit

The Lions are rolling in first place in the NFC North. They are playing much better on defense, which I think will show up in this one. Look for Matthew Stafford to keep it rolling, while the Bears sputter some on offense. Lions win it.

Pick: Lions 27 Bears 13

Houston at Indianapolis

The Colts impressed in a big way against the Jets on Monday night. Now they face a Texans team playing consecutive road games. Andrew Luck will continue his roll from Monday. Colts take it.

Pick: Colts 31, Texans 19

Minnesota at Jacksonville

Mike Zimmer will be back for the Vikings in this one. That's a good thing. The Jaguars struggled against a good Denver defense last week and will do so again in this one. The Vikings take it with great defense.

Pick: Vikings 20, Jaguars 14

New York Jets at San Francisco

This is a long trip on a short week for the Jets. I wonder where their focus will be. But the 49ers are really a mess. Somebody has to win, right? I'll go with the home team.

Pick: 49ers 12, Jets 10

Atlanta at Los Angeles

This is also a long trip for the Falcons after a tough loss. But the Rams are struggling now. The Falcons will score against a Rams defense that has played poorly the past two weeks. Even so, I think the Rams stay around.

Pick: Falcons 23, Rams 20

Seattle at Green Bay

This is a survival test for the Packers. They must have this one. But Seattle seemed to get right against the Panthers. That defense will miss Earl Thomas, which will show up. Aaron Rodgers beats Russell Wilson.

Pick: Packers 24, Seahawks 20

Dallas at New York Giants

The Giants have to win this to have a chance to win the division. They didn't look good last week at Pittsburgh, but I think they bounce back here. They won at Dallas in Week 1, and I think they will do it again. Eli Manning has a bounce-back game.

Pick: Giants 28, Cowboys 21

Ezekiel Elliott scores his first career touchdown in a loss to the Giants on Sept. 11. USATSI

Baltimore at New England

The Ravens are playing well, but this is a tough challenge on a Monday night. Can Baltimore's defense slow Tom Brady? No. But they will hang around. Joe Flacco played well last week, and he will here. But Brady takes it.

Pick: Patriots 27, Ravens 23