THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE: The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers may be playing their best football of the season, and they square off Sunday.

There’s a good chance we will be provided a glimpse of how the Super Bowl will play out when the Packers host the Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

There isn’t a team in the NFL playing better than the Patriots right now, and the Packers, save for a setback against the Saints last month, have been the best team in the NFC this season. One has to wonder what would have happened against New Orleans if Green Bay faced it a week earlier or a week later.

But there’s nothing hypothetical about this game. Tom Brady has silenced doubts about his ability after a rough start to the season, and this New England team looks as good as any it has fielded since the 2007 season. Rob Gronkowski is unquestionably the biggest mismatch in the NFL, and Darrelle Revis has re-emerged as one of the game’s best cornerbacks.

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers might be Brady’s greatest rival for the MVP award and is helped by what might be the best receiver duo in the league, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

A lot can change over the final five weeks of the season, but if you were placing a bet today on who will make the Super Bowl, there’s no question these two teams would be featured at the beginning of that conversation.

Nick Underhill

NICK’S PICKS: Underhill’s top five teams in the NFL (this week)

1. Patriots (9-2)

It’s amazing how Bill Belichick’s teams continue to get better as the season progresses.

2. PACKERS (8-3)

No team in the NFC is playing better.

Big test against the Patriots this week.

3. BRONCOS (9-3)

Style points matter in these rankings, and Broncos have appeared vulnerable in past four weeks.

4. EAGLES (9-3)

The Eagles re-enter the top five after beating Dallas. Is Mark Sanchez the real deal?

5. CARDINALS (9-2)

They’re hanging on by a thread after losing to Seattle last week. Another loss knocks them out of the top 5.

This Week’s Games

OAKLAND (1-10) at ST. LOUIS (4-7)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: Rams by 61/2

BRIEFLY: aiders snapped 16-game losing streak last week against Chiefs and have three extra days of rest. Oakland is just third team since merger to beat first-place team for its first win after losing at least 10 games to start season, and first since Indianapolis beat Green Bay in 1997. ... Raiders have won four of last six in series. This will be first meeting in St. Louis since 2002, when Marshall Faulk ran for 158 yards and had receiving TD in 28-13 win. ... Rams expected to activate DE Chris Long (left ankle) from injured reserve-designated for return after practicing for three weeks.

NICK’S PICK: Rams 17, Raiders 14


WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: Bills by 31/2

BRIEFLY: Seventh time non-division rivals meet since 2007, with Browns holding 4-2 edge. ... Browns rookie head coach Mike Pettine spent last season as Bills defensive coordinator, and helped unit finish second in NFL with franchise-best 57 sacks. ... Browns 7-4 for first time since 2007 and haven’t won eight of first 12 since 9-3 start in 1994. ... WR Josh Gordon had eight catches for 120 yards in season debut Sunday after serving 10-game league suspension for violating drug policy. ... RB Isaiah Crowell leads NFL rookies and tied for third overall with seven TDs rushing.

NICK’S PICK: Browns 17, Bills 14

CAROLINA (3-7-1) at MINNESOTA (4-7)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: Vikings by 21/2

BRIEFLY: This will be ninth game at Minnesota in 12 meetings between teams. ... Panthers were 1-3 last year when they arrived in Minnesota and blew out Vikings, first of eight straight wins on way to 12-4 record, division title and first-round playoff bye. That was also first of four straight losses by Vikings that led to 1-7 start. ... Panthers FB Mike Tolbert, Pro Bowl pick last season, expected to return after spending last eight games on injured reserve with broken leg. Tolbert scored two touchdowns against Vikings last year..

NICK’S PICK: Colts 27, Jaguars 17

TENNESSEE (2-9) at HOUSTON (5-6)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Texans by 7

BRIEFLY: Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger, sixth-round pick out of LSU, threw for franchise rookie-record 345 yards with two touchdowns and interception last week. ... RB Shonn Greene needs 62 yards rushing to reach 4,000 for career. RB Arian Foster, who has missed last two games with groin injury, needs one 100-yard rushing game to pass Priest Holmes (31) for most such games by undrafted player. ... Rookie RB Alfred Blue of LSU has run for 280 yards in three starts.

NICK’S PICK: Texans 24, Titans 20


WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: Giants by 3

BRIEFLY: One of these teams will end lengthy losing streak. Giants have dropped six in row; Jaguars have lost four straight, all by double digits. ... QB Eli Manning needs two touchdown passes to pass Drew Bledsoe for 15th on NFL’s all-time passing TD list. ... Jaguars have lost 36 of last 42 games, including 26 by double digits.

NICK’S PICK: Giants 27, Jaguars 20

SAN DIEGO (7-4) at BALTIMORE (7-4)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: Ravens by 6

BRIEFLY: Sixth meeting between teams since 2005, and first time in Baltimore since 2006. Ravens are 2-0 at home against Chargers. ... Game marks return of Chargers LB Jarret Johnson, who played nine seasons with Ravens — including 129 consecutive games, second-longest streak in team history. ... Both teams have won two in row.

NICK’S PICK: Ravens 24, Chagers 20


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Colts by 91/2

BRIEFLY: Redskins have lost three straight overall and three of last four in series. ... Washington is 2-1 vs. AFC South this year, hasn’t won three games vs. AFC foes since 2002 and hasn’t won at Indy since 1994. ... Robert Griffin III, 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of Year, has been benched after going 1-4 in five starts, with lone win coming after injury against Houston. ... Colt McCoy, Griffin’s replacement, is 2-0 as starter this season.

NICK’S PICK: Colts 31, Redskins 24

CINCINNATI (7-3-1) at TAMPA BAY (2-9)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Bengals by 31/2

BRIEFLY: Tampa Bay has won six straight against Cincinnati in a series it leads 7-3. ... Bengals lead AFC North, first division in NFL history where every team at least three games over .500 through 11 games. ... Buccaneers have worst record in NFC, yet just two games out of first place in weak NFC South and also in contention for top pick in next year’s draft. ... Cincinnati RB Jeremy Hill, out of LSU, leads NFL rookies with 643 yards rushing. Second with six touchdowns rushing.

NICK’S PICK: Bengals 21, Buccaneers 14

ARIZONA (9-2) at ATLANTA (4-7)

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday

Line: Cardinals by 11/2

BRIEFLY: In last meeting in Atlanta in 2012, Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux returned fumble recovery 15 yards for touchdown in 23-19 win. ... Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has longest active NFL streak with catch in 159 consecutive games. ... Rookie WR John Brown has five TDs, including four that decided games. ... QB Drew Stanton has won has five of last seven starts. ...DE Calais Campbell had three sacks against Seahawks last week.

NICK’S PICK: Cardinals 20, Falcons 14

NEW ENGLAND (9-2) at GREEN BAY (8-3)

WHEN: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Packers by 3

BRIEFLY: Packers beat Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl after 1996 season in New Orleans, with Desmond Howard winning Most Valuable Player award. ... Matchup of only two teams in league to make playoffs each of last five seasons. ... Patriots have won 14 straight against NFC North teams, including 3-0 this season — longest current streak by team against another division. ... Patriots playing fourth straight game against first-place opponent. They won previous three as part of seven-game winning streak.

NICK’S PICK: Patriots 31, Packers 28

DENVER (8-3) at KANSAS CITY (7-4)

WHEN: 7:20 p.m. Sunday

Line: Broncos by 11/2

BRIEFLY: Broncos have won five straight in series. They have not lost at Arrowhead Stadium since December 2010. ... Denver has NFL’s second-best pass offense. Kansas City has league’s best pass defense. ... Broncos signed K Connor Barth and waived K Brandon McManus on Tuesday. Barth entered league with Chiefs as college free agent. ... Broncos are only team in NFL to rank in top 10 in offense and defense.135.7 rating against Giants in Week 7 win.

NICK’S PICK: Broncos 31, Chiefs 27

MIAMI (6-5) at NEW YORK JETS (2-9)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Line: Dolphins by 7

BRIEFLY: Teams have met 12 times on Monday night, with Jets winning seven — including “Monday Night Miracle” in which New York scored 30 points in fourth quarter before beating Miami 40-37 in overtime in October 2000. ... WR Wayne Chrebet, who caught two TD passes in that game, being inducted into Jets’ ring of honor along with the late Leon Hess, former team owner.

NICK’S PICK: Dolphins 28, Jets 20

LAST WEEK: 12-2; SEASON: 98-51