Broncos and Seahawks tackle final postseason tuneups

For the select few, playoff aspirations are in focus on the gridiron. 

Only a fraction of pro football’s 32 teams make the postseason and the Super Bowl contenders figure to use week 17 of the NFL to make their final adjustments. This Sunday, Dec. 29, will offer a handful of teams a chance to improve their seeding in the regular season finale. 

Much of Sunday’s drama looks to rest with the late games at 4:25 p.m. On CBS, Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos will look to officially claim the AFC West title and the conference’s top seed by overwhelming the Oakland Raiders while division rival Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs will be keen to improve their playoff footing in a stern test against the San Diego Chargers. On Fox, the tight NFC West comes into focus as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks aim to cement top billing versus the tricky St. Louis Rams while the San Francisco 49ers get a formidable challenge in the Arizona Cardinals. 

Denver has the offense to light up anyone and with the Raiders’ mediocre defense, odds are the Broncos enjoy a 21-point thrashing. Kansas City needs their staunch defense to show up but San Diego’s pride could shine through in a seven-point upset. Seattle has all the pieces to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy and a 10-point win should silence doubters for awhile. San Fran is not afraid of a defensive battle and while Arizona will play well, expect the Niners to pull out a three-point win. 

Out of all the early games, the premier match-up might be between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys at 1 p.m. on Fox. Hate them or love them, both teams can score in bunches. Dallas might have dominated in October but the weather conditions favor Philly producing a six-point win. 


Alex Smith is often bailed out by his defense. – PHOTOS: AP


Peyton Manning headlines a juggernaut offense.