The NFL likes to schedule division games late in the season, so it isn’t surprising that six division leaders will play division games this week.
One of them, Green Bay at Chicago in the Sunday night game, won’t have much significance because the Packers are 9-3 with a four-game lead in the loss column over Minnesota while Chicago is 4-8.
But the other five games will give division leaders a chance to solidify their leads. New England is the only division leader with a bye.
Baltimore, 8-4 in the AFC North, takes on 6-6 Cleveland. The Ravens have a one-game lead over 7-5 Cincinnati, which plays San Francisco, which is fighting for an NFC wild card spot at 6-6.
Tennessee at 8-4 in the AFC South figures to beat 2-10 Jacksonville to maintain its two-game lead over 7-6 Indianapolis, which has a bye.
Kansas City is 8-4 in the AFC West and meets the Raiders, who are tied for third with Denver at 6-6. The Chargers, who are second at 7-5, figure to beat the Giants and can tie the Chiefs if the Raiders pull off an upset.
Dallas leads the NFC East at 8-4 and can virtually wrap up the division title with a victory over Washington, which is second at 6-6.
Arizona, with the best record in the NFL, leads the NFC West and meets the Rams, who are second at 8-4. An Arizona victory would all but wrap up the division title. This is the Monday night game.
Tampa Bay, which is 9-3 in the NFC South, has a four-game leads over Carolina, Atlanta and New Orleans, who are all 5-7. So they are only playing for a bye.
But they take on Buffalo, and it is a critical game for the Bills. After their loss to New England Monday night, the Bills trail the Patriots by a game and will fall two games if they lose this game.
For the TV fans, CBS has the doubleheader with the Raiders-Chiefs and the Bills-Bucs game being shown to most of the country. Fox has a single game and will feature the Cowboys-Washington game.
So wins by Dallas and Arizona would enable them to join Tampa Bay and Green Bay that have virtually wrapped up their titles with four games left.
This is the last week of byes so all 32 teams will be playing the final four week of the regular season.