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Fans lucky for Week 13 with marquee matchups like Jets-Patriots

This could be the weekend that two divisions are settled. Not officially or anything, but for all intents and purposes. We have two absolute monster rivalry games in the weekend primetime slots between two teams that absolutely do not like one another. If the Jets or Ravens manage to sweep the season series, it's hard to imagine them not taking their respective divisions. Nearly half of this week's games are divisional matchups with playoff implications. December football is here my friends.

The storyline:

We all know this one. Two 9-2 teams. Rex Ryan wants to dethrone Bill Belichick. The Jets beat the Patriots (then with Randy Moss) early in the season. Let the smack talk begin! * #### Why you should watch:

Give me one salient reason not to watch? Could the Jets neutralize Tom Brady again? Can the Pats knock off yet another elite opponent? Will Cardiac Mark Sanchez find more last-minute magic? * #### Did you know?

The Jets are on a franchise-record eight-game road winning streak. ... Sanchez has a 113.8 passer rating in his last four games against division opponents. ... The Patriots have won 15 consecutive home games in December. ... New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis is one rushing TD away from becoming the first Patriot since 2006 to record 10 or more in a season. *

The storyline:

If there is a more physical, visceral rivalry in the game today, I'm not sure what it is. They met three times, including the AFC Championship Game during Pittsburgh's championship run in 2008. The Ravens won the first meeting this year on a late-game drive. * #### Why you should watch:

Big Ben was still suspended for the first meeting. Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu are two of the best game-breaking safeties in NFL history. The Ravens are riding an eight-game win streak at home. These games are always close and bone-rattling. * #### Did you know?

Steelers LB James Harrison is the only player in franchise history with three cosecutive 10-plus sack seasons. ... Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger leads the NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating this year (122.4). ... The Ravens have won eight consecutive home games. ... Baltimore's Terrell Suggs has 11 career sacks against Pittsburgh. *

The storyline:

The upstart Bucs have struggled against tougher opponents, and the Falcons have a vital chance to fortify their shot at the top seed in the NFC. * #### Why you should watch:

This is a do-or-die game for Tampa Bay. Mike Williams might be able to test an iffy secondary deep if Josh Freeman can buy time. The Falcons could have the most balanced offense in the NFL. * #### Did you know?

The Falcons are 15-0 when Matt Ryan posts at least a 100 passer rating. ... Atlanta's Roddy White leads the NFL in catches with 84. ... The Buccaneers are 3-0 when LeGarrette Blount gets at least 15 carries. ... Tampa Bay's Mike Williams leads all rookies with 701 receiving yards. *

The storyline:

The Rams win a second straight game on the road here -- against a team they should have beat in Week 1 -- and the journey to the NFC West title could go through St. Louis. * #### Why you should watch:

The Rams have the most improved defense in the NFL and Sam Bradford is coming off a 300-yard slicing of Denver. The Rams need divisional wins as badly as any team in the NFL. * #### Did you know?

Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe has 20 interceptions since 2006, the fifth-most in the NFL over that span. ... St. Louis' Chris Long has six sacks in his past six games. ... Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 12 TDs in his last 12 games against the Rams. ... Arizona's Adrian Wilson has four interceptions in his last three games vs. St. Louis. *

The storyline:

Another division rematch; but now it's the Chargers flying and the Raiders sputtering. San Diego likely needs to run the table in the AFC West to ensure passing Kansas City. * #### Why you should watch:

Philip Rivers is preparing for another onslaught. Mike Tolbert is quietly bowling people over for San Diego. It is always fun to play, "Guess who will play quarterback for the Raiders?" And, just as fun to play, "Guess who will play receiver for the Chargers?" * #### Did you know?

Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has a 106.3 passer rating in two career games against the Chargers. ... Oakland's Darren McFadden had a career-high seven receptions last week. ... The Chargers have won 18 consecutive home games in December, a league record. ... San Diego leads the NFL in sacks with 33. *

The storyline:

Calvin Johnson and the Lions suffered one of the more heartbreaking, arcane losses in NFL history at Chicago in Week 1. They are still piling up yards, but face a reborn Bears defense. * #### Why you should watch:

The good Jay Cutler is suddenly outshining the bad. The Bears are running the ball with more energy and thrust in the last month ... But Ndamukong Suh is gonna test that soft offensive line. * #### Did you know?

Bears running back Matt Forte has five touchdowns in five career games against the Lions. ... Chicago's Devin Hester leads the NFC in punt return average (14.8 yards). ... Lions quarterback Shaun Hill has a touchdown pass in all eight of his starts this season. ... Suh leads all rookies with eight sacks. *

The storyline:

Vikings players are talking about being still mathematically alive under Leslie Frazier, but a loss here would end all of that chatter. The Bills have nearly toppled several teams better than this particular opponent. * #### Why you should watch:

No team in the NFL has suffered more improbable losses than the Bills. They play their butts off and are utterly enjoyable to watch (unless you root for them, I imagine). Brett Favre is entering the final month of his career. Sidney Rice could be rounding more into form. * #### Did you know?

Bills running back Fred Jackson has a touchdown in his last four games. ... Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick has a touchdown pass in 12 consecutive games. ... Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has a sack in four straight games. ... Minnesota's Percy Harvin is the only player in the NFL this season with a rushing, recieiving and return touchdown. *

The storyline:

So much for this being a potential Super Bowl preview. The Colts are just hoping to stay around .500 and the Cowboys want to show that they'll continue to play with a passion for Jason Garrett in this lost season. * #### Why you should watch:

Seeing how Peyton Manning does, coming off a four-pick game should be interesting. Dez Bryant might have to do something big on special teams to keep his team close. DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas pass rush could have some fun on this fast track. * #### Did you know?

Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has the most sacks in the NFL since 2006 (66). ... Dallas' Jason Witten leads all tight ends with 60 receptions. ... Manning has 61 career 300-yard passing games. ... Indianapolis' Jacob Tamme leads the NFL in receptions since November started with 38. *

The storyline:

The Giants have won their past four against the Redskins, who are having trouble on both sides of their line. A loss here, and you can begin to look forward to 2011 in Washington. * #### Why you should watch:

New York could end up dominating in the run game, especially with LaRon Landry still out. Washington's beat-up offensive line faces a tough task here. * #### Did you know?

Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has won four straight against the Giants (including the playoffs). ... Washington's Chris Cooley is third among NFL tight ends with 54 catches. ... Giants defensive end Justin Tuck has seven sacks in his past six games against the Redskins. ... New York's Eli Manning has won seven of his past eight starts against Washington. *

The storyline:

You have to think that Todd Haley refusing to shake Josh McDaniels' hand a few weeks back might have had something to do with that whole video-taping mess, right? And I have to think that the Chiefs will stay simple and run the ball down the Broncos' throat and run up the score if at all possible (which it most definitely is). * #### Why you should watch:

Bad blood makes for good football. Jamaal Charles is the least talked about superstar in the NFL. Matt Cassel been as good as any QB in the NFL for the last six weeks or so. * #### Did you know?

Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton leads the league with 3,370 passing yards. ... Denver's Brandon Lloyd has a touchdown in four consecutive games. ... Cassel led the NFL with 12 touchdown passes in November. ... Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe has a franchise record 14 touchdown catches this year. *

The storyline:

The decision to pass on Aaron Rodgers comes home to roost again, with the Packers in prime position to deal a big blow to a 49ers team still somehow in the hunt for the NFC West crown. * #### Why you should watch:

San Francisco has been just game enough on defense at times to possibly make this competitive. Troy Smith's improvisation creates problems. Clay Matthews has to be in the MVP conversation. Brian Westbrook gets to carry the load, again. * #### Did you know?

49ers linebacker Patrick Willis has a sack in three straight games. ... San Francisco has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 17 games. ... Rodgers has 13 rushing touchdowns since 2008 -- the most for any quarterback in the league over that span. ... Green Bay's Clay Matthews leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks. *

The storyline:

Chad Henne gets his starting job back by default, but is taking advantage of it. The Browns are playing as hard as any outfit in this league. Two smashmouth teams getting together in the Florida sun. * #### Why you should watch:

Peyton Hillis is now a force in the pass game, too. Brandon Marshall might return for the first time since embarrassing himself on our Thursday night game. Shaun Rogers continues to bring it with more consistency than I've seen in a long, long time. * #### Did you know?

Hillis is one of only three Browns to record 11 rushing touchdowns in a season (Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly are the others). ... Cleveland's Brian Robiskie had a career-best seven catches last week. ... Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess leads the AFC with 24 third-down receptions. ... Miami's Karlos Dansby leads the team with 80 tackles. *

The storyline:

This one smells like a total blowout, with a potent offense meeting a collapsing defense. After losing to Cleveland and Arizona already, another slip-up could crush the Saints' division hopes. * #### Why you should watch:

Reggie Bush has to look better than he did on Thanksgiving, right? T.O. continues to make a case for being a more sought-after free agent in 2011. * #### Did you know?

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has won nine of 10 against AFC opponents. ... New Orleans' Marques Colston has at least four receptions in every game this year. ... Owens has 12 career touchdown catches against the Saints. ... Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham leads AFC rookies with 44 receptions. *

The storyline:

David Garrard is getting dinged up, but the Jags are still right there with the Colts in the AFC South, which I'm not sure anyone saw coming. The Titans have fallen apart and if they have to keep playing Rusty Smith, it could get worse. * #### Why you should watch:

Maurice Jones-Drew is back in peak form. The Jags have a way of doing crazy things late in games to win. Chris Johnson is vowing to finish strong for the Titans after a steep decline from his 2009 production. * #### Did you know?

The Jaguars are 6-0 when Garrard has at least two touchdown passes in a game this season. ... Jones-Drew has rushed for over 100 yards in four consecutive games. ... Titans wide receiver Randy Moss has the eighth-most receptions in NFL history (952). ... Tennessee averages 7.1 yards per carry against divisional opponents at home. *

The storyline:

The Seahawks have been getting thrashed lately, but wins here, and over the Rams and 49ers will land them a division crown. The Panthers are in good shape to land the first overall pick. * #### Why you should watch:

Jimmy Clausen showed a few strides last week. Carolina is running the ball hard again. A second straight defeat at home would doom the Seahawks, who can't seem to stay healthy. * #### Did you know?

Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn scored his first touchdown last week. ... Carolina's Charles Johnson has a sack in two straight games. ... Seahawks wide receiver Ben Obamanu had a career-high 159 yards last week. ... Seattle's Earl Thomas is tied for the rookie lead with five interceptions. *

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