It’s a huge weekend for so many teams this week. The Patriots will clinch the top seed in the AFC with a win at the Jets. It’s a divisional game, but Brady and Gronk can enjoy a bit of down time between Christmas and the second week of Jan if they topple New York. Crucially for New England, the win means the AFC title game will go through Foxborough if they win this and their divisional play-off.
Hoping the Patriots slip up will be the Broncos. They travel to Cincinnati for the Monday night game. The Bengals shut out Johnny Football last week and they’re clinging onto top spot of the AFC North. A win will keep the Bengals there ahead of their showdown in Pittsburgh in Week 17.
The Steelers entertain play-off hopefuls Kansas City in Sunday evening’s Sky game. They’ve got a great offense in Pennsylvania, but their D is suspect, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle Jamaal Charles.
Elsewhere in the AFC North, the Ravens are in fine form and they’re on the road to Houston. The Browns are all but out of the hunt for play-off places. Johnny Manziel will be looking to right his wrongs down in Charlotte against a Panthers team that can still win the NFC South despite their losing record.
There are three teams in the NFC South with losing records who can still gain home advantage in the post season. The Saints top the division and are the only team who can end the campaign without negative season. They’re at home to Atlanta this week. New Orleans have lost their last four at home, but this has the potential to be an entertaining shoot-out.
A key divisional game that’s far from likely to be a shoot-out is the NFC West match-up between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. These two don’t score many TDs and the winner of this one stands a very good chance of claiming the number one spot in the NFC. There won’t be many teams who’ll want to go through Seattle en route to the Super Bowl.
It’s just as tight in the NFC North. Green Bay’s defeat to Buffalo last week meant Detroit took over the top spot in the division. The Packers are at struggling Tampa Bay this week, whilst the Lions take on the Bears at Soldier Field. It’s a Chicago team that has dropped its franchise QB.
The chase is on for the NFC East. Dallas hold top spot after their win in Philly last week. The Cowboys’ defense has to stop Andrew Luck in the AT&T Stadium this time out. The Eagles make the short trip to DC on Saturday evening.
The other Saturday night game sees the 49ers, who are out of the play-off race, at home to San Diego. The Chargers have faint hopes making it to January. Their quarterback is going to have to play through the pain barrier. Meanwhile, San Francisco look like they’ll have to rush it without their two leading running backs.
Bills fans must be pinching themselves. They’ve got a realistic chance of making it to the post season for the first time in fifteen years. They’re on the road this week in Oakland and they end the season in Boston. Should the Patriots win this week, they might be a little less formidable in Week 17.