Playoffs start in Week 14 for Giants, Cowboys

One of the great things about this time of year is the way the schedule skews to divisional matchups. We're backloaded, by design, and it should provide no shortage of big games down the stretch.

Yes, we know the Packers and 49ers have divisions wrapped up, and the Saints and Patriots are threatening to pull out of reach. But for the most part, there is legitimate uncertainty as to who will take most division crowns.

Can the Texans maintain their lead, with T.J. Yates, as the Titans begin to really ride Chris Johnson for the first time this season? Can Baltimore hold off Pittsburgh? One more Ravens slip-up against a lesser foe could really cost them. Will Tebow Time make it to the big dance? Could either the Giants or Cowboys sweep the two remaining games between those teams, and effectively settle the NFC East?

The answers are coming my friends. The final four weeks of the season figure to present us with another stunner or two (who saw the Jaguars over Ravens, or Rams over Saints, or Seahawks over Giants coming earlier this season?), and generally it's the time of year when the cream rises as well.

We've seen many an upstart club ride a hot December into a long playoff drive, and with Drew Brees chasing history, the Packers chasing perfection and the Colts chasing infamy, well, it makes for enough subplots to keep most games intriguing on one level or another. Oh, and I hear it's fantasy football playoff time as well. Congrats to those still playing. Alas, my Sonic Reducers are in a bit of a rebuilding mode, and if I could fire myself as their coach, I would.

Remember, games here are rated as either a footlong, a six-inch, a pita or a finger sandwich.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @jasonlacanfora.

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