After a season full of puzzling results, the Dallas Cowboys remain in the playoff hunt.
In fact, the 7-6 Cowboys can clarify the NFL’s playoff picture. Their first task is to halt the 7-6 Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, 16 December, at 4.25pm on CBS.
Dallas have remained contenders thanks to four wins in their last five games, including a remarkable last-second victory against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. A notoriously inconsistent bunch, the Cowboys have made a late habit of winning close games.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, have not looked like postseason regulars with a 2-3 mark in their last five contests. Losses against the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers have the Steelers spiralling towards the offseason.
Sunday’s contest is a toss-up that could go either way. Normally, the smart bet is that Ben Roethlisberger will excel for Pittsburgh. But, the Cowboys have momentum squarely in their favour and Tony Romo should produce more heroics in a six-point victory.
Sunday sees another huge game with playoff implications as the 9-4 Green Bay Packers face the 8-5 Chicago Bears at 1pm on Fox. It is a must-win contest for the Bears, who have seen their playoff footing become weak with four losses in the last five games.
Chicago’s future looks bleak if Jay Cutler is not healthy down the stretch. The Bears defence has taken its licks this season and with Aaron Rodgers currently playing at his best for the Packers, Green Bay are primed for a 14-point victory.
Another important contest is on Thursday, 13 December, as the 7-6 Bengals battle the 4-9 Philadelphia Eagles at 8.20pm on NFL Network. Andy Dalton has kept Cincy in the playoff hunt with four wins in their last five games.
Philly’s defence has been underwhelming this year and Dalton should carve it up for a 17-point win.