The Falcons just need to win this game to lock up home field in the NFC, and winning it is a must because a loss could open the door to a division title for the Saints. The Falcons may have lost at the Georgia Dome on Monday, but they still are one of the best teams at home, as Matt Ryan is 19-2 in his career in front of his home fans. In addition the Panthers just can’t wait to end the season.
The Bengals have won three straight against the Ravens, including earlier this year. The Ravens are going on to the playoffs and the Bengals are going home. The Ravens also still have a chance at the division title and a bye week if the Steelers slip up. So expect the best of the Ravens as they look to finish strong and get ready for a long postseason run.
The Steelers can win another Super Bowl if they bring their best effort into the playoffs. The Browns may have a new coach by the time they play again in 2011. This has WTF written all over it. The Steelers will likely be without Troy Polamalu, and they have been vulnerable at times when he has been out. The Browns would love nothing more than to destroy that, and playing at home they end the season on a happy note by sending the Steelers to the Wild Card.
Warning to those playing the Lions in 2011, this is a team that is on the verge of becoming a contender. With a win they will close the season on a four game winning streak. Despite ten losses, many teams like this have showed up the next year and won the Super Bowl. The Lions may not be ready for that in 2011, but they will be closer than the Vikings, and they will give Detroit fans reason to hope for the first time in eons with a win Sunday.
Finishing 8-8 may not seem like much, but for the Raiders it is a huge building block, as they look to avoid their eighth straight losing season. The Chiefs are in the playoffs and will play on Wild Card weekend and may play QB Matt Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe sparingly. However, the draw to posting a perfect 8-0 home record could be big for the Chiefs as they ready themselves for a home playoff game next weekend.
Tom Brady and several other key Patriots will likely only make a cameo appearance in this game as they have home field locked up. They will not be needed much as the Dolphins are a mess, with Coach Tony Sparano’s job coming under questioning following an awful 1-7 record at home. The biggest issue is the Dolphins absent offense under QB Chad Henne who looks worse every week. Expect Henne to throw at least three interceptions as the Pats backups win.
Though they need a lot of help, home field is still a possibility for the defending champs, who know with a win the worst thing that can happen is they will face the best of the NFC Worst next weekend. The Saints are finishing the season on a strong note, and it will be tough to knock off their crown. The Bucs can make the playoffs with a win and some help, but on the road, and with a few injuries that task is too tall of order for this young team.
The Jets know they will play next weekend, and they know it will be a tough road to the Super Bowl. Quarterback Mark Sanchez is hurting, so don’t expect to see much of him. The Bills would like to finish strong, and winning in the New Meadowlands will give them something to look forward to. The Jets meanwhile are focused on next week and staying healthy for the playoffs.
The Chargers are out of the playoffs following last week’s stunning loss to the Bengals. How does a team as widely inconsistent as the Charger react? Do they show up to finish strong like they did against the Colts, or is it the team who stunk it up last week in Cincy? When you have teams that don’t bring it every week playing for nothing I say it’s a good bet to expect nothing in return, as Tim Tebow has a his third straight strong game for Denver.
Here is the key for the Packers, jump out early and get a big lead. The Bears have said they would love to eliminate the Packers, who just need a win to make the playoffs. The Bears tough already have a bye clinched, and have nothing to play unless the Falcons lose. If the game is close late that desire to ruin their rival’s season will take hold and they can win. However, if the Pack get a big lead at home than the Bears will likely shut it down. I like the Packers to jump out early and not look back as they clinch a playoff spot.
The Jaguars still have a shot to win the AFC South if the Colts lose. However, it is a tall task as they will have to win without QB David Garrard and RB Maurice Jones-Drew. The Texans will be facing a hostile home crowd, as they cope with a disappointing season that could cost Coach Gary Kubiak his job. Pride will also be on the line as season that began with a promising win over the Colts ends with a win against the Jags.
The Colts will win the division by beating the Titans or with a loss by the Jaguars. The game is in Indianapolis and the opponent is a Titans team about to go through a major shakeup that will have players and coaches changing all around. This is like the wounded animal bleeding in a pond of sharks. Look for the Colts to score early and often as they cruise to a big enough victory that they can start game planning for the Wild Card Game in the 4th Quarter.
The Eagles know they will have to play next week, after their ugly loss on Tuesday Night. The Cowboys loss on Christmas was enough to turn all of Dallas into a population of Grinches. A win in Philly may sooth this, but that won’t happen with the way the Cowboys secondary has played all season as this game will be a big audition for QB Kevin Kolb, who could be the most sought after QB this off-season once Michael Vick is secured with an extension with the Eagles.
The Cardinals have played well with QB John Skelton; the 49ers are one giant mess with the firing of Coach Mike Singletary. Much like their win over Denver following the Josh McDaniel firing the Cardinals will be able to use this to their advantage. Look for a flat performance from the 49ers who just can’t wait to get away, while the Cardinals almost which this year had an 18 game season, because they would have had a shot to win the NFC West.
No team has Eli Manning dissected more than the Washington Redskins, whom the Giants have beaten 9 of their last 11 games, many of these games have also been blowouts. With a win and a Packers loss the Giants are in the playoffs. However, the hangover of that collapse against the Eagles will linger as the Giants playing without their top receivers will go limping home for the off-season, with the possibility of many changes coming down the line.
Only the Lambs can win a division this baaaaaaaaaaad, as they face the Seahawks in the Stupor Bowl to decide the mild mild NFC West. Just how bad is this division? Half the wins for both teams have come within the division with another has come against the Panthers, the worst team in the NFL. The game is in Seattle and they would ordinarily have a home field advantage with the 12th man. However, with Charlie Whitehurst at QB the Seahawks will need a 13th, 14th, and 15th man to make up for how terrible he is.