With four weeks left in the 2012-2013 NFL season, the focus shifts entirely to playoff positioning.
Two teams looking to secure their footing are the 6-6 Dallas Cowboys and the 7-5 Cincinnati Bengals. Both do battle this Sunday, 9 December, at 1pm on Fox. Heading into this week, both squads are a game out of a postseason berth.
The Cowboys have not been as dominant as the statistics indicate, though Tony Romo has overcome 15 interceptions to toss 19 touchdowns, 3,660 passing yards and engineer the second-best passing attack (296.7 yards per game).
Cincinnati has also seen its offence stay competitive, with hurler Andy Dalton posting a respectable 2,980 passing yards, 24 TDs and 13 picks. Dalton has combined with wide-out A.J. Green (1,107 receiving yards, 10 TDs) to make the Bengals the league’s 10th-best offence (scoring 25.2 points per game).
The defences are formidable and with both offences being potent, it will come down to who makes the timely stops. Dallas are notoriously inconsistent so the smart bet is that Cincy pulls out the victory by a touchdown.
On Sunday, check out the 5-7 New Orleans Saints against the 7-5 New York Giants at 4.25pm on Fox. Drew Brees (3,674 passing yards, 31 TDs) is the biggest reason the Saints are still relevant while Eli Manning (3,170 passing yards, 16 TDs) is the face of the defending Super Bowl champions.
It could be a disaster for a Giants defence that struggled against the Washington Redskins on Monday. But New York should play inspired to win by 10 points.
One of the best games of the season could be on Monday, 10 December, when the 11-1 Houston Texans battle the 9-3 New England Patriots at 8.30pm on ESPN. It’s a tough one to call but Tom Brady is primed to dissect the Texans defence for a one-point win.