Good morning, welcome to week 16 of the NFL season.
The Sunday slate is lacking just a little this week since we had a game on Friday, three games yesterday and a game tomorrow night. Of the 10 games scheduled for Sunday, two games have absolutely no bearing on the playoffs so you can go ahead and ignore them.
On to Sunday’s games.
BEARS vs. JAGUARS, 12:00 P.M., CBS
The Jaguars are now in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 pick and Trevor Lawrence after the Jets boned themselves by winning last week. The Bears, on the other hand, have the clearest path to making the playoffs needing a win today to give them a 90 percent chance of getting in. I’d imagine both teams will try to help each other out.
COLTS vs. STEELERS, 12:00 P.M., CBS
The best game of the early slate. Pittsburgh is on a losing skid, highlighted by an embarrassing Monday night loss to the Joe Burrow-less Bengals. Unfortunately for you LSU fans there’s no former Tigers on the Colts roster, while Jerald Hawkins is a backup for Pittsburgh.
BROWNS vs. JETS, 12:00 P.M., CBS
The Browns are in a precarious spot. Six players were placed on the COVID list, including Jarvis Landry and four other receivers. Cleveland’s starting middle linebacker, B.J. Goodson, is out after testing positive for COVID, and LSU’s own Jacob Phillips is out due to contract tracing. Cleveland is 10-4 but doesn’t yet have a playoff spot clinched and Miami’s wild win last night keeps the heat on the Browns.
GIANTS vs. RAVENS, 12:00 P.M., FOX
New York’s season is on life support after losing two straight games to Arizona and Cleveland. Even more problematic is the Ravens have to keep winning to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. This is, as they say, a loser leaves town game.
BENGALS vs. TEXANS, 12:00 P.M., FOX
No LSU, no playoff implications, no care.
FALCONS vs. CHIEFS 12:00 P.M., FOX
Clyde Edwards-Helaire left Sunday’s game against New Orleans with a nasty looking ankle sprain. But there is optimism in KC that Clyde will be able to go once the playoffs begin, and even better for the Chiefs is they currently are in prime position to get a first round bye.
PANTHERS vs. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM, 3:05 P.M., CBS
I initially wrote that there were three games with no impact on the playoffs but forgot that Washington, despite its 6-8 record, is leading the NFC East. What a trash heap division.
BRONCOS vs. CHARGERS, 3:05 P.M., CBS
Some LSU representation, but no impact on the playoffs. Skip this one.
RAMS vs. SEAHAWKS, 3:25 P.M., FOX
The best game of the late slate. With a win Seattle locks up the NFC West. If Seattle loses, they’d need a win next week and the Rams to lose against Arizona to clinch. As for the Rams, they’re officially in the playoffs after Arizona’s loss yesterday.
EAGLES vs. COWBOYS, 3:25 P.M., FOX
A loser leaves town game, whoever loses is eliminated. Now if Washington beats Carolina, both teams are eliminated which I’m rooting for because that’s two fewer ass NFC East teams we’d have to worry about.
TITANS vs. PACKERS, 7:20 P.M., NBC
The Packers need a win to lock up the NFC’s top seed and the only bye. So as a Saints fan and a resident of Nashville I am of course pulling for the Titans and hoping that Derrick Henry goes off for about 250 yards tonight—which he might because the Packers are soft.
BILLS vs. PATRIOTS, Monday December 28, 7:15 P.M., ESPN
The Patriots are out! How weird. Buffalo, on the other hand, may only be playing for seeding tomorrow night. If the Chiefs win, they’ll lock up the top spot in the AFC, and if Pittsburgh loses against Indy, the Bills will be locked in at No. 2.