I’d like to thank Tom for covering for me again last week while I was a healthy scratch for the week. I’m happy to know that I have such a great team around me as we head into the last month of the season. The Cowboys clinched a playoff spot last week and a few others can clinch divisions and playoff spots this week. The Raiders already missed their shot to clinch this week and lost their 1-seed standing after losing to the now first-place in the AFC West Chiefs. Plus, there is snow pretty much everywhere and more is coming. I love December football.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Buffalo Bills (6-6)
The AFC is a tight race right now and the Steelers and Bills are both in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Steelers are sitting just outside at a 8th seed and the Bills at the 10th. Both of these teams need a win to stay in the thick of things. The Bills seem to have been giving the last couple games away at the end, but don’t seem to have what it takes to make it this year. The Steelers have had their fair share of problems but with Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and LeVeon Bell firing on all cylinders the Steelers are right behind the Ravens in the AFC North.
Denver Broncos (8-4) at Tennessee Titans (6-6)
As of right now, the Broncos are in the playoffs with the final 6th seed and the Titans still have a chance thanks to their running game. Broncos need a win to keep pace with the Raiders and the Chiefs and stay in the playoff picture. They’re going to have to rely heavily on their defense, just as they have all season, to keep them in the thick of things with a tough remaining schedule (at Titans, vs. Patriots, at Chiefs, and at Raiders). They need to take advantage of this game because it’s only going to get harder. The Titans get to play spoiler and still remain relevant in the playoff hunt at the same time – something they haven’t been able to do in a long while.
Winner: Titans with an upset
Washington Redskins (6-5-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
The Redskins are juuuuust outside of the wild card spot and the Eagles are barely hanging on to being relevant. With the Cowboys locking down a playoff spot out of the NFC East already, the clock is ticking for the rest of the division. The Giants are currently in the 5th seed, but with the hot-Lions and Falcons playing the way they’ve been playing, I’m guessing both the Redskins and Eagles will miss the playoffs. They’re pretty much playing for draft position at this point.
Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1) at Miami Dolphins (7-5)
New England needs the Dolphins to lose or tie. The Raiders need Miami to lose or tie – well the Raiders lost so I’m not sure they give a shit anymore what the Dolphins do. The Seahawks need Arizona to lose or tie. So basically, everyone ahead of Arizona and Miami in the playoff hunt need both teams to lose. Arizona seems to be catching fire at just the right time and I’m still unsure about Miami. (I feel bad that I keep saying these things about the Dolphins and I know so many Dolphin fans. I’m so sorry) However, I’m team Dolphins this week.
Minnesota Vikings (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
The Vikings were supposed to just call this season a wash, but here they are at week 14, sitting at 6-6. It’s not wonderful, but I think fans, and the team, are surprised their record doesn’t look more like the Jaguars. The Vikings are really just two spots out of the playoffs and are sitting in second place in the NFC North, just two games behind Detroit. A win this week and a Washington loss will help their playoff chase and I think they’ll get above .500.
Houston Texans (6-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-6)
Two more 6-6 teams. While this game doesn’t hold any implications for the AFC playoff clinching scenarios this week, the Texans and Colts are still alive. The Texans actually sit at the 4th seed and would make the playoffs and the AFC South is wide open. The Titans, Texans, and Colts are all 6-6 and the Texans are 3-0 in the division.
San Diego Chargers (5-7) at Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Both the Chargers and the Panthers are sitting near the bottom of the playoff hunt, but haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet. But let’s be real. The Panthers had a Super Bowl hangover and the Chargers just…. Pooped. The poor Chargers are sitting at the bottom of the AFC West, a division no one wants to be in this year, and the Panthers are at the bottom of the NFC South. It’s a matter of time before these two teams are playing meaningless football.
Winner: Chargers – just to keep things messed up in the AFC.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-12)
The only reason to watch this game on Sunday would be the forecast of snow. Snow games are always so much fun to watch because they’re an absolute shit show. The Browns are going for 0-13 and god damn it, they better make it. Gooooo Bengals!
Winner: Bengals because 0-13
Chicago Bears (3-9) at Detroit Lions (8-4)
Live look-in at the Lions:
The Bears can play spoiler if they wanted to, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Lions are just rolling and Matt Stafford is killing it. BUT if the Detroit Lions lose, the Cowboys (with a win) would clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. I hope for the Cowboys demise every year, so roar, Lions, roar!
New York Jets (3-9) at San Francisco 49ers (1-11)
Nothing is more irrelevant than this game. Literally nothing. Pass.
Winner: doesn’t matter.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
New Orleans is trying to hold on for dear life in the division and in the playoff hunt. The Bucs are red-hot right now, winners of 4 in-a-row and sitting in a playoff spot. To keep that spot, they must win. New Orleans has been THIS CLOSE all season long, but will need to dig deep to finally get over that THIS CLOSE hump and keep their season alive.
Atlanta Falcons (7-5) at Los Angeles Rams (4-8)
The Rams I guess are technically still alive this season and have signed Jeff Fisher to another extension and not a single person knows why. The Falcons have slipped a bit in the last few weeks, they need another win to keep their playoff spot they’re currently sitting in. The Rams could play spoiler, but let’s be real – they can’t do much else.
Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) at Green Bay Packers (6-6)
I hate it when people say “if the season ended today” because the season is not going to end today. There are still a couple weeks left. HOWEVER, The Packers would miss the playoffs if the season ended today. The Seahawks need a win and an Arizona loss (or tie) to clinch the NFC West this week. The Seahawks will need to rely on their offense and the depth of their defense to get it done in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The Packers are struggling and the Seahawks need to pounce now. However, the loss of Earl Thomas is going to leave a gaping hole in the middle of the field and Aaron Rodgers is about to milk that for all it’s worth. It’s going to be a tough one, but the Hawks will pull it off and clinch the division.
Dallas Cowboys (11-1) at New York Giants (8-4)
The Cowboys have already clinched a playoff spot and their one-loss came from the Giants. If Dallas wins, they win the division. If they win and Seattle or Detroit loses, they clinch a first-round bye. If BOTH Detroit and Seattle lose, Dallas clinches home field advantage in the playoffs. The Giants have a “giant” (HAAAAAA) task on their shoulders this week and can take down their division foe. They’ve been playing well, but will it be big enough to take down the team with the best record in the league? They’ll be without JPP putting pressure on the Dallas rookies however.
Winner: Giants upset
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at New England Patriots (10-2)
How did we get so lucky to have TWO good primetime matchups this week?! New England can lock down another AFC East division title with a win (or a tie) and a Miami loss or tie. They can clinch a first-round bye with a win, Miami loss or tie, and a Pittsburgh loss or tie. The Ravens need a win to separate from the Steelers in the AFC North. The Ravens can disrupt the Patriots and help the Raiders and the Chiefs go after that 1 seed. MAYHEM if the Ravens win. The Patriots are without Gronk for the rest of the season and their defense is pretty lack-luster. The Ravens have an actual chance to keep things going for their season and post-season hopes.
Winner: Ravens keep things interesting.