Finally it looks like we might get a tiny bit of playoff clarity this weekend. Then again, the last week is going to be a complete gongshow, especially with the AFC Wild Card spots. It feels like at least half the conference could land there so it’s anyone’s guess who will make it into the playoffs.
Alright, here’s the schedule and then a tiny bit of analysis:
|8:30||Tennessee at Jacksonville||NFLN/SNE/SNO/SNW/SNP|
|4:30||Philadelphia at Washington||NFLN/SNE/SNO/SNW/SNP|
|8:25||San Diego at San Francisco||CBS (all)/SNE/SNO/SNW/SNP|
|1:00||Minnesota at Miami||FOX (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario, Golden Horseshoe, GTA, Peterborough, Kingston)/TSN1/TSN3/TSN4/TSN5|
|1:00||Baltimore at Houston|
|1:00||Detroit at Chicago||FOX (BC, Alberta, Western Ontario, Midwestern Ontario, Ottawa)|
|1:00||Cleveland at Carolina|
|1:00||Atlanta at New Orleans|
|1:00||Green Bay at Tampa Bay|
|1:00||Kansas City at Pittsburgh||CBS (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Western Ontario, Midwestern Ontario, Ottawa, Belleville)/CTV (Vancouver, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Northern Ontario)/CITL (Lloydminster)/CKPR (Thunder Bay)|
|1:00||New England at NY Jets||CBS (GTA, Golden Horseshoe, Eastern Ontario (except Ottawa & Belleville), Quebec, Eastern Canada)/CTV (Toronto, Kitchener, Montreal, Atlantic)|
|4:05||NY Giants at St. Louis||FOX (Northern Ontario, Belleville, Cornwall, Quebec, Eastern Canada)/TSN1/TSN3/TSN4/TSN5|
|4:25||Buffalo at Oakland||CBS (GTA, Golden Horseshoe, Eastern Ontario (except Ottawa & Cornwall))/CTV (Toronto, Kitchener)|
|4:25||Indianapolis at Dallas||CBS (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Western Ontario, Midwestern Ontario, Ottawa, Cornwall, Quebec, Eastern Canada)/CTV (Ottawa, Northern Ontario, Montreal, Vancouver, Alberta, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan)/CTV2 (Atlantic)/CITL (Lloydminster)/CKPR (Thunder Bay)|
|8:30||Seattle at Arizona||NBC/TSN1/TSN3/TSN4/TSN5|
|8:30||Denver at Cincinnati||TSN1/TSN3/TSN4|
See that’s more like it. Only four games not being shown on Canadian television. Then again, the inclusion of two Saturday night games helps in that regard. Definitely a nice, full weekend of football.
I am not going to list them all since almost every one of them has some sort of implication to it. Hell, even the Titans-Jags is for the right to draft first overall (kind of). But here are the truly big games this weekend (and when I say big games I mean ones that impact the playoff picture…which does mean nearly all of them. Shit.):
Philadelphia at Washington – If the Eagles lose to the Skins, first off, we should laugh in their face. But secondly, an Eagles loss coupled with a Cowboys win, gives Big D the NFC East. It also may eliminate Philly from a wild-card spot in the ultra-competitive NFC.
San Diego at San Francisco – If the Chargers lose, they will have a difficult time grabbing a wild-card spot. Win and they still need some help.
Baltimore at Houston – Baltimore is clinging to that last wild-card spot and still has an excellent chance at the AFC North title. Houston needs a win and a lot of help to even make the playoffs.
Minnesota at Miami – The Dolphins need a win and a meteor to hit the Earth (or some sort of similar miracle) to make the playoffs.
Detroit at Chicago – Lions win means they are in the playoffs. But they also clinch the NFC North with a Packers loss as well. Big stakes here. Let’s hope they can combat the frigid weather and the shitty Bears.
Cleveland at Carolina – The Browns have even less of a chance than the Dolphins but mathematically it is still possible. Like being dealt a royal flush, being hit on by a hot model, and drinking the best scotch in the world all at the same time. So yeah, probably won’t happen but hey…JOHNNY FOOTBALL!
Atlanta at New Orleans – It disgusts me to put this game here. But if the Saints win and the Panthers lose, the MF’n New Orleans Saints win the NFC South. Terrible. If the Falcons win it’s much, much worse since we become that much closer to a 6-win division champ. Ugh.
Green Bay at Tampa Bay – The Packers are probably in unless they blow a gasket here against the Bucs. They are still looking at the NFC North title but need to win out and get some help.
Kansas City at Pittsburgh – Steelers win, they are in the playoffs. Plain and simple. They are hoping for some help to have a chance at the division title but they’ve won the Super Bowl from the Wild Card spot before so who knows. The Chiefs are the best team not in a playoff spot right now in the AFC. However, it is a dog’s breakfast as to how all the tiebreakers may have to work. My guess is it will be one of those egg and spoon races among the owners.
New England at NY Jets – The Pats get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they win and the Broncos lose. At the very least it would take a lot to knock them out of a first-round bye.
Buffalo at Oakland – Somehow this has playoff implications. The thing is, the Bills are a lot like the Browns. They lose a lot of games they should win. If they win here though, they set up their best chance in 14 years to make the playoffs next week…against New England.
Indianapolis at Dallas – Indy needs help elsewhere to have a chance at a first-round bye so at this point they have to just win and hope. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have a great chance of clinching a playoff spot this Sunday. And if they win and the Eagles lose, the NFC East is theirs and then the rumblings of Tony Romo and the playoffs will truly begin.
Seattle at Arizona – To say this is an important game would be an understatement. One of the biggest games in Cardinals history as they can slay the dragon so to speak with a win, which would also clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as they try to become the first team ever to play the Super Bowl at home. Seattle needs to win and a bit of help to clinch a playoff spot as there are a lot of scenarios where this works. Regardless, if they win they still have a shot at the NFC West amazingly enough.
Denver at Cincinnati – Huge game for both teams. One of the few Monday nighters worth watching this season as most have been borderline-awful (and not a whole lot better than the Thursday night sked). Denver clinches a first-round bye with a win here. That’s what’s at stake for them. For Cincy it’s a whole lot more. They have a boatload of potential scenarios with this week’s game but the biggest thing is this: if they win, they are in the playoffs. It also puts them that much closer to winning the AFC North.
So a huge weekend of NFL football (tonight’s game notwithstanding). To be honest, I probably won’t watch that shitfest tonight. Also, five bowl games on Saturday starts the college football bowl season. A very fun time to be a football fan right now as we are pretty much into the home stretch for football in general this year.