The NFL has an entertaining tripleheader for much of the country on Sunday. It starts with the Saints-49ers at 1 p.m. on Fox, the Chiefs-Patriots on CBS as the late afternoon game and Rams-Seahawks on NBC as the Sunday night game. Unfortunately, the MNF game is the Eagles-Giants and the NFL can’t flex that game. Any of the three Sunday highlight games would have been a better attraction on Monday night.
Game of the week
Chiefs at Patriots. Early in the season, this looked like the game of the year in the AFC, but Baltimore has surpassed both teams. Still, it is a good game as Patrick Mahomes faces Tom Brady, who plays the role of the aging gunslinger facing the new kid on the block. Brady’s dealing with injuries and the lack of an elite receiving corps, but he is still Brady. The Chiefs will try to hand the Patriots their second straight loss after they were beaten by Houston Sunday night.
Game of the weak
The 3-9 Dolphins face the 4-8 Jets, who lost to the Dolphins in the first game and have now lost to two winless teams. The Dolphins were 0-8 when the Jets lost to them and the lost to the 0-11 Bengals. The Dolphins were supposed to be tanking to get the first pick but their three wins, including last week’s victory over the Eagles, has them two games behind the 1-11 Bengals.
What to Watch for this weekend:
—The game between the Saints and 49ers, both 10-2, could be a preview of the NFC title game and a battle for the top seed although the Seahawks are also 10-2. The top seed is the only thing the Saints have to play for because they are the only team in the NFC South with a winning record. But the 49ers are locked into a struggle with Seattle for the NFC West title. They play the Seahawks in the last game of the year.
—The 7-5 Rams need a win over the Seahawks to keep their wild card playoff hopes alive. With the Saints and 49ers at 10-2, they have no chance to win the division title. The Rams showed signs of getting it together when they routed the Cardinals last week, but it has still been a disappointing season for the Rams.
—Surprising Buffalo, which is 9-3 and is likely to get a wild card spot, will try to upset Baltimore, which is playing to keep the top seed. A Buffalo win and New England loss to Kansas City would leave the two teams tied for the AFC East title at 10-3 with three games left. The Bills play at Pittsburgh and New England the next two weeks.
—The 7-5 Titans, who are a game behind Houston in the AFC South race, can’t afford to look ahead to the Texans game next week. They play at Oakland, which has been unpredictable and is 6-6.
—Eli Manning returns to the starting lineup because rookie Daniel Jones is injured and faces a familiar foe in the Eagles, who will tie Dallas for first place in the NFC East at 6-7 with a victory. Yes, 6-7, that is how bad this division is. The Cowboys or Eagles will not only win the division, but host a playoff game against a team with a better record. That will cause howls of protest from those who favor reseeding at the end of the regulation season. But the league wants to put a premium on teams winning their division. There will be more howls if the Eagles or Cowboys win a playoff game at home against a team with a better record but it appears unlikely.