The NFL playoffs will be here within two weeks and many teams are rushing at the last minute to secure a spot in week 16.
Tonight sees one side looking to firm up their place in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning seems right, the defense is respectable and the Colts are arguably the hottest team in the NFL with seven straight wins. Look for the win streak to continue against the hapless Jaguars.
Saturday will see a huge game with plenty of playoff implications. For Baltimore a win will keep their playoff hopes alive and well. For Dallas though they control their own faith a loss will certainly kick them below NFC South teams and out of the playoff picture.
Sunday has more stressful times for teams on the playoff bubble. Unfortunately Cincinnati-Cleveland has no significance on the playoffs. Consider it a pointless battle for Ohio.
New Orleans-Detroit is much different. The Saints are on the outside looking in on the NFC playoffs. The reason they struggle is because of a porous defense and an inferior run game. One of those two areas should look good though against the winless Lions.
The Miami Dolphins are on the cusp of an unprecedented playoff spot. They could use help with a Baltimore loss but they should stay in the hunt and blitz the Chiefs with their pass rush and run game.
New England are desperate to keep pace with Miami and Baltimore who are ahead of them in the playoff seeding. With both of those squads capable of losing, the Pats need to flash a powerful pass game highlighted by Casell and Moss to get past Arizona.
San Fran-St. Louis is a pointless game on the schedule. At the most it will decide how the standings in the NFC West pan out beyond the Cardinals.
San Diego-Tampa Bay is a surprisingly meaningful game. The Bucs are in dire straits after two disappointing losses to division rivals Carolina and Atlanta.
Meanwhile the Chargers still have life with Denver playing mediocre. The key here will be who uses the run game best while stopping that of the other team.
Pittsburgh-Tennessee is a match about seeding in the playoffs. Both are division winners who would love a first round bye. The difference will be whether the Titans’ balanced attack can overcome a suffocating Steelers’ defense.
Denver needs to keep the wins coming for any momentum for the playoffs.
To do so they need to beat the teams with losing records and Buffalo is one of them. The Broncos have been okay on offense but their secondary will need play better for the win.
Houston-Oakland has no significance on the playoffs. But it’d be interesting to see if the Houston offense gets the team one win closer to a winning season.
The Jets have played enough losing teams to have already wrapped up their division. One of the reasons they haven’t is due to a flaky D. The linebackers need to step up and shut down the woeful Seahawks if the Jets are to make the playoffs.
Minnesota-Atlanta is another big game on the day. The Vikings are a win away from wrapping up the division and a playoff spot. Meanwhile the Falcons, led by standout rookie Matt Ryan, are eager to gain position on Dallas and Tampa Bay who are playing tough games and are ahead of them in the NFC playoff picture.
Philly’s win on Monday night puts them squarely in the playoff picture. The defense looked good and McNabb did ok leading the scoring. Against the sliding Redskins blitzing QB Jasen Campbell will be key.
New York are looking like a very average team without Burress and Jacobs. The Giants need a run game back at 100 percent to make their offense strike fear in any defense. Carolina are a rugged and tough bunch whose running attack has no fear. The winner will be whoever controls the run game.
On Monday night Green Bay and Chicago will be a game with far less meaning than it could have. The Packers are already out of the playoff picture and the Bears need to win the division to get in. Chicago has had a good enough defense all season but this match-up will show whether Orton and company are a playoff-calibre offense.