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Several playoff scenarios can get sorted out in Week 16

The playoffs are coming into focus, but it looks like plenty will come down to Week 17. We've seen massive divisional games the past two weeks, but it's not quite the same this week. The division matchups are generally a playoff-bound team vs. a weakling, with Saints-Falcons the exception. After last week, however, that contest isn't even as beefy. The last Monday night game of the year should be plenty of fun, though. Happy holidays!

    • New Orleans at Atlanta

      Mon 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Falcons have built up a margin for error, but this will be a measuring stick game for both clubs, regardless.
    • Why you should watch:

      Will Matt Ryan ever lose at home again? Will the Saints be able to withstand a big dose of the run game after the Ravens gouged them last week? A Falcons sweep would cap a tremendous regular season.
    • Did you know?

      Saints wide receiver Marques Colston has five receiving touchdowns in his last five Monday night games. ... New Orleans' Drew Brees is one of only two quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in five consecutive seasons. ... Ryan is 19-1 as a starter at home. ... Atlanta's Michael Turner has a rushing TD in his last four games against New Orleans.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New York at Green Bay

      Sun 4:15 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      Giants win and they're in. Packers win and they control their own destiny.
    • Why you should watch:

      Aaron Rodgers is likely to return for the Packers. The Giants must find a way to shake off one of the craziest losses ever. The NFC's top defense (Green Bay) faces another difficult challenge.
    • Did you know?

      Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has three touchdowns in his past three games. ... Ten of New York receiver Mario Manningham's 12 career touchdowns have been at least 20 yards. ... Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings has a touchdown in five consecutive home games. ... Rodgers is 9-1 in his last 10 starts at home.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Indianapolis at Oakland

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      This is pretty much a must-win game for both teams. If the Colts win out, they win the AFC South, again. If the Raiders win out, they just might steal that AFC West.
    • Why you should watch:

      The Raiders have the kind of physical, running mentality that can give the Colts fits. Peyton Manning actually has a 20-point better passer rating on the road than at home.
    • Did you know?

      Colts running back Javarris James is tied for first among rookies with six rushing touchdowns. ... Indianapolis has won two straight against Oakland. ... Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell is 4-0 as a starter at home this year. ... Oakland is tied for the NFL lead with 17 rushing touchdowns this season.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New York at Chicago

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Jets got off the mat Sunday at Heinz Field, but face another tough game as the Bears push to secure a top seed.
    • Why you should watch:

      Rex Ryan should be able to dial up something to test Jay Cutler. Devin Hester vs. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff. Concerns linger about Mark Sanchez in blustery conditions.
    • Did you know?

      The Jets are 11-4 on the road under Ryan. ... With his next catch, New York's Dustin Keller will establish a new career high in receptions. ... Matt Forte and Gale Sayers are the only two Bears with 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage in each of their first three seasons. ... Chicago's Julius Peppers has six sacks in his past five games.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • at

      ET, Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Eagles are perfect in prime time games this season and can wrap up the NFC East with a win.
    • Why you should watch:

      Michael Vick is a human highlight reel. DeSean Jackson is a human highlight reel. Brett Favre is sure to create intrigue regarding his playing status. Trent Cole will add to his All-Pro season.
    • Did you know?

      Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has three sacks in two career games against the Eagles. ... Minnesota's Visanthe Shiancoe has the fourth-most touchdowns among tight ends since 2008 (20). ... LeSean McCoy has 2,532 career yards from scrimmage -- the most for any Eagle in his first two seasons. ... Philadelphia's Asante Samuel has the most interceptions in the league since 2006 with 36.
    • Tennessee at Kansas City

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Chiefs have been perfect at home and need this win to hold off the Chargers. They face a team that has many of the same strengths they do.
    • Why you should watch:

      After gutting it out, literally, against the Rams, Matt Cassel should be steadier a week later. This is a battle between two of the best young running backs in football. The Titans have a way of playing spoiler late in the season.
    • Did you know?

      Titans running back Chris Johnson is averaging 104 rushing yards in 10 December games. ... Tennessee's Jason Babin has a career-high 12 sacks this season. ... The Chiefs are undefeated at home (6-0). ... Kansas City has the league's top-ranked rushing attack.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • San Francisco at St. Louis

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      Both of these teams are still alive in the NFC West. This is a December playoff game. Period. If the 49ers run the table and Seattle loses at least once, San Francisco is hosting a playoff game.
    • Why you should watch:

      The Rams defense has been quietly stout all season. The Rams would surpass their total from the previous three season combined with a win. The 49ers have bounced back in must-win situations before. The NFC West is crazy.
    • Did you know?

      San Francisco has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in the last 20 games. ... Steven Jackson is the only Rams running back in history with six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. ... St. Louis' James Hall has six sacks in his past six games.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New England at Buffalo

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Pats can clinch the first overall seed in the AFC with a win. The Bills continue to fight as hard as they can and make things interesting every week.
    • Why you should watch:

      Buffalo gave New England a heck of a game the first time around. Tom Brady is pretty much infallible these days. Ryan Fitzpatrick makes the game look fun.
    • Did you know?

      The Patriots have won six in a row at Buffalo. ... New England is 59-2 under Bill Belichick when scoring at least 30 points. ... Fitzpatrick has a touchdown pass in 15 consecutive games. ... Buffalo's David Nelson has a touchdown in three consecutive games.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Seattle at Tampa Bay

      Sun 4:15 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      Seattle is reeling, again, is unsure of its starting quarterback and is travelling a long way to Tampa. The Bucs are coming off another tough setback, but are still in the wild-card hunt.
    • Why you should watch:

      LeGarrette Blount could give the Seahawks problems. Josh Freeman tends to rebound strong. The Seahawks lose this game and they're in trouble.
    • Did you know?

      Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has four touchdowns in the past three games. ... Seattle's Earl Thomas leads NFC rookies with five interceptions. ... Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams has the most touchdown catches by a rookie in team history (eight). ... Tampa Bay's Kellen Winslow has a reception in 74 consecutive games.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Baltimore at Cleveland

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Ravens need a win to keep pushing for the fifth seed. Browns fans still hate the Ravens, and would love nothing more than to play spoiler in this game.
    • Why you should watch:

      The Ravens have not forgotten how Peyton Hillis ran wild on them in the first meeting, and want revenge. Ray Rice is coming off his best game of the season. The Browns had no answer for Anquan Boldin the first time around.
    • Did you know?

      Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is 5-0 against the Browns. ... Baltimore's T.J. Houshmandzadeh has seven career touchdown receptions against Cleveland. ... Browns wide receiver Brian Robiskie had his first career touchdown last week. ... Rookie T.J. Ward leads Cleveland with 96 tackles.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • San Diego at Cincinnati

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      I can't help thinking about the AFC Championship Game these teams played in ridiculous conditions back in the day. This one is a must win for Chargers. The Bengals are better off staying in the range of a top-five pick.
    • Why you should watch:

      I have to wonder if weather becomes a factor. Vincent Jackson is just rounding into form. Who doesn't love watching Mike Tolbert running out of his helmet?
    • Did you know?

      The Chargers have won 10 consecutive home games. ... San Diego's Antonio Gates leads all tight ends with 10 touchdowns. ... Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has six touchdown catches in his last three games against the Chargers. ... Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap is second among rookies with seven sacks.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Washington at Jacksonville

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      Everyone's favorite all-time University of Florida QB, Rex Grossman, returns to Gator Land off his crowning game against Dallas. Oh, and the Jags need a win to keep pushing the Colts.
    • Why you should watch:

      The Redskins give up 450 yards just by coming out of the locker room. This will be another opportunity to evaluate Sexy Rexy.
    • Did you know?

      Redskins wide receiver Anthony Armstrong ranks second in the NFC with a 19.3 yard per catch average. ... Washington's Chris Cooley ranks second among tight ends with 67 receptions. ... Jaguars quarterback David Garrard has a franchise-record 22 touchdown passes this year. ... Jacksonville's Rashad Jennings is averaging 8.8 yards per carry in his past four games and most likely will start with Maurice Jones-Drew doubtful with a knee injury.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Carolina at Pittsburgh

      Thur 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      The Panthers' grip on the first overall pick should not be in peril this week. The Steelers could go ahead and rest Troy Polamalu another week. They won't need him here.
    • Why you should watch:

      Pittsburgh is on the cusp of securing a first-round bye. It is the last Thursday night game of the year, don't miss it.
    • Did you know?

      Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson has a sack in five consecutive games. ... Carolina's Jonathan Stewart has 460 rushing yards in his last four games. ... The Steelers are 6-1 at home against NFC opponents under Mike Tomlin. ... Pittsburgh has given up the fewest points in the league.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Houston at Denver

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      It wouldn't surprise many coaches and execs if Texans Coach Gary Kubiak is fired after season. ... And resurfaces in Denver. Otherwise, nothing to really see here for these two sunken ships.
    • Why you should watch:

      Tim Tebow hype and hysteria is likely to continue all week. He might be able to crack double-digit completions against this outfit. Brian Cushing is posing more of a threat to his own teammates than the opposition these days.
    • Did you know?

      Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has a 97 passer rating on the road this season. ... Houston's Arian Foster is tied for the franchise record with 13 rushing touchdowns this season. ... Tebow's 40-yard rushing touchdown last week was the longest by a quarterback in Broncos history. ... Denver's D.J. Williams leads the team with 112 tackles.
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Dallas at Arizona

      Sat 7:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network Get Tickets
    • The storyline:

      Well, it looked good when the schedule came out, that's for sure. I remember sitting with Rich Eisen in New York City for the draft, thinking how pumped we were to have this game on NFL Network.
    • Why you should watch:

      Did I mention this game was on NFL Network, and is the only game on tap for Saturday? And, how 'bout those Cowboys? This John Skelton kid might be a gamer for Arizona, eh?
    • Did you know?

      Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has at least 10 sacks in five consecutive seasons. ... Dallas' Jason Witten is one of only four tight ends with 600 career receptions. ... Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is the youngest player to reach 600 career catches. ... Arizona has a franchise record 10 return touchdowns this season.
    • Watch: Game Preview

 

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