Pity the Vikings. They get routed at home by Seattle, lose three defensive starters, then have a short week and a trip west to Arizona.

And the Cardinals have been even better than the Seahawks this season.

It's a difficult chore NFC North co-leader Minnesota faces, particularly if nose tackle Linval Joseph (foot), linebacker Anthony Barr (groin/hand) and safety Harrison Smith (hamstring/knee) are not available. Those are some of the best players at each level on the defense.

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One solution against the high-powered Cardinals (No. 2 in AP Pro32) would be feeding the ball to Adrian Peterson as much as possible. The problem there: Arizona ranks fourth in rushing defense.

Peterson, who complained he wasn't used enough in the 38-7 loss to the Seahawks, is eager to get more carries against the Cardinals.

''That's the mindset of a player that wants to be great,'' Peterson says. ''You want to be able to, when your number is called, to be able to make plays. Of course I would be frustrated when you think about eight carries. But with the game getting away from us, that is what it is.''

A 7-point favorite, the Cardinals also can clinch the NFC West with a victory over Minnesota (No. 10 in AP Pro32) and a Seattle loss.

CARDINALS, 23-14

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KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP:

Pro Picks got knocked flat again, this time by the Bears. Anyone who has lasted this long in a survival pool this season is a genius. We're not, but will go for KANSAS CITY this week.

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No. 17 Washington (plus 3) at No. 20 (tie) Chicago

Bears would be best team in NFC East right now. So ...

BEST BET: BEARS, 23-16

No. 12 Buffalo (plus 1) at No. 16 Philadelphia

Even after that win in Foxborough, we don't have faith in Eagles.

UPSET SPECIAL: BILLS, 19-17

No. 8 Pittsburgh (plus 3) at No. 4 Cincinnati

Bengals' shot at top seed in AFC takes a hit.

STEELERS, 33-30

No. 18 Oakland (plus 7) at No. 3 Denver

Broncos' shot at top seed in AFC remains viable.

BRONCOS, 24-13

No. 20 (tie) Atlanta (plus 7) at No. 1 Carolina

Panthers have little worry about getting top seed in NFC.

PANTHERS, 30-16

No. 22 Dallas (plus 9) at No. 9 Green Bay

Maybe this one will finish off ''Cowboys are contenders'' talk.

PACKERS, 26-24

No. 6 Seattle (minus 5) at No. 29 Baltimore

Seahawks are looking like contender for third straight Super Bowl trip.

SEAHAWKS, 26-13

No. 31 San Diego (plus 10) at No. 7 Kansas City

No team is playing better in AFC than Chiefs, who go for seventh straight win.

CHIEFS, 22-13

No. 28 Tennessee (plus 7) at No. 11 New York Jets

Jets don't do anything easily.

JETS, 21-19

No. 19 New York Giants (minus 1) at No. 24 Miami, Monday night

Giants don't do anything easily, either. Must be a Meadowlands thing.

GIANTS, 17-13

No. 5 New England (minus 3) at No. 15 Houston

Position meetings must have been fun this week for Patriots.

PATRIOTS, 24-17

No. 26 New Orleans (plus 4) at No. 14 Tampa Bay

Have to love what Lovie has done with Bucs. Not so much what's going on in Big Easy.

BUCCANEERS, 33-31

No. 23 Detroit (pick-em) at No. 28 St. Louis

Who really cares, Part 1?

LIONS, 21-18

No. 25 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 32 Cleveland

Who really cares, Part 2?

49ERS, 23-15

No. 13 Indianapolis (OFF) at No. 30 Jacksonville

Must win for Colts in AFC South race.

COLTS, 22-20

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2015 RECORD: Against spread: Week 6-10, Season (93-87-5). Straight up: Week 10-6, Season (118-74)

Best Bet: 6-6-1 against spread, 8-5 straight up.

Upset special: 7-6 against spread, 4-9 straight up.

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AP website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL