Previewing NFL Week 13

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles face tough challenges as they attempt to retain their one game lead for the top seed in each conference thisweekend..

Kansas City plays 7-4 Cincinnati in the CBS doubleheader game Sunday that will be shown to most of the nation while the Eagles host Tennessee in one of the four 1 pm Fox games.

The Bengals are tied for the top spot in their division with Baltimore while the Titans have a three game lead in the loss column in their division

Kansas City is top seed in AFC at 9-2 and the Eagles are 10-1 in the NFC.

If Kansas City loses to the Bengals, 8-3 Buffalo can tie for top seed with a Thursday night victory over the Patriots. So could 8-3 Miami although the Dolphins have a tough game at 7-4 Francisco, which has been on a roll.

Miami and Buffalo are also battling for the division title and a home playoff game. One of them will be a wild card team.

Baltimore at 7-4 figures to rebound from the surprising loss in Jacksonville with a win over the Broncos in another CBS early game. That puts pressure on the Bengals to upset the Chiefs to remain tied for first.

Minnesota host s the Jets in one of the four CBS early games. The Jets stunned the Bears last week after switching from Zach Wilson to Mike White at quarterback and will try to pull off another upset. Minnesota has a five game lead in its division so it is only playing for top seed. There are also questions about whether Minnesota is as good as its record.

The Sunday night game isn’t much of an attraction with 8-3 Dallas hosting 4-7-1 Indianapolis but the game wasn’t flexed because the Cowboys usually get good ratings. Jeff Saturday could suffer his third consecutive loss as interim coach after winning his first game.

Tampa Bay, leading its division with a 5-6 mark, will attempt to stay on top with a Monday night victory over the 4-8 Saints, who would only be a game behind the Bucs if they pull off a victory. Atlanta is currently second in the division at 5-7 and has a bye along with 4-8 Carolina. It is hard to believe a 4-8 team is only two games off the division lead, but that is the current state of the NFC South.

Two NFC teams in wild card race play in Fox early game when the Giants host Washington.

Seattle at 6-5 is a game behind San Francisco and figures to keep pace with a victory over the disappointing 3-8 Rams.

NFL Week 12 in review

Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles remain the top seeds with six games remaining.

The Chiefs, who have with won 26 games in a row in November and December, boosted their record to 9-2 the victory over the Rams.

The Eagles, meanwhile maintained the best record in the NFC at 10-1 with a victory over Green Bay in what may wind up being a changing of the guard for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers, who has been playing with a broken thumb and was knocked out with a rib injury against the Eagles. That opens the door for Jordan Love to finally get a chance to play and the Packers may be ready to move on from Rodgers.

The Chiefs, who have a three game lead in their division, have a one-game lead over the 8-3 Dolphins and Bills in the battle for the top seed.

The Ravens fell to 7-4  loss to the Jaguars and are two games behind the Chiefs in the battle for the top seed with a loss to the Jaguars and are now tied with Cincinnati, which upset the Titans, who, like the Ravens, dropped to 7-4 although they have a comfortable lead over the 4-7-1 Colts.

The Jets made the right move in benching Zach Wilson for Mike White, who guided them to an easy win over the Bears and are now 7-4 and currently have the last wild card spot.

There are seven teams with fewer than five losses and currently make up the playoff field in the AFC. The  Pats and Chargers at 6-5  are still tying for a wild card spot. No other AFC team has fewer than seven losses.

In the NFC, there appear to be three challengers to Philadelphia for the top seed – 9-2 Minnesota, 8-3 Dallas and 7-4 San Francisco. The 49ers are on a roll with four wins in a row and while they aren’t likely to get the top seed, they will likely win their division and get a first round home game.

Tampa Bay at 5-6 actually leads its division over 5-7 Atlanta.t

All four NFC East teams are currently in the playoffs. Washington has the seventh spot at 7-5 but is only one game ahead of 6-5 Seattle in the loss column.

No other teams in the NFC has fewer than seven losses. Atlanta is 5-7 and the Lions and Packers are 4-7 so it remains to be seen if any of the seven loss teams can sneak into the playoffs.

Previewing NFL Week 12

There are no byes this holiday weekend so all 32 teams will be playing starting with the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader.

There will be five games on national TV this weekend with four on broadcast TV and the Monday night game on ESPN as usual.

But the feature game will be the Fox doubleheader game Sunday with Kansas City hosting the disappointing Rams. It pits last year’s champions against the team favored to win this year.

The Chiefs are 8-2 and are one game ahead of four 7-3 teams so the Chiefs can’t afford to coast if they want the top seed even though they have a three game lead in their division.

The Rams are 3-7 and probably out of the playoff picture but would love to upset the Chiefs. This will be the doubleheader game on Fox shown to much of the country. The networks want to showcase Patrick Mahomes as much as they can.

On Thanksgiving Day, there will be the usual three games – the first two in Detroit and Dallas – while Minnesota hosts New England in the third one in prime time.

None of the games will be on Prime with the Detroit game on CBS, the Dallas game on Fox and the Minnesota game on NBC. The NFL wants the largest possible audience for the holiday so Prime gets the short straw. 

Three of the four AFC teams at 7-3 are likely to win. Miami figures to beat Houston, the Bills are expected to beat the Lions and the Ravens are the choice over Indianapolis.

But 7-3 Tennessee has a tough game with the 6-4 Bengals. Tennessee has a three game lead in its division while the 6-4 Bengals, a game behind the Ravens, need a victory. The Titans-Bengals will be the feature early game on CBS.

There are two 6-4 AFC teams — New England and the Jets – besides the Bengals. The Patriots will be underdogs against the Vikings while the Jets play the Bears. The Patriots and the Bengals are currently the sixth and seventh seeds in the AFC playoff picture while the Jets are on the bubble with the 5-5 Chargers, who figure to beat Arizona. The Jets no longer look like a playoff team.

In the NFC, the Eagles have the top seed at 9-1 and figure to beat Green Bay in the Sunday night game. Minnesota at 8-2 figures to stay on their heels by beating New England on Thanksgiving Day. And the winner of the Dallas-Giants game with both at 7-3 will stay in race for top seed.

The NFC South and West are wide open. Tampa Bay at 5-5 plays at Cleveland while 5-6 Atlanta is at Washington.

In the West, San Francisco and Seattle are tied at 6-4. San Francisco hosts New Orleans and Seattle hosts the Raiders.

The short version is the Chiefs have the inside track on the top seed in the AFC and Philadelphia and Dallas have the best shots in the NFC although Minnesota has an outside shot.

NFL Week 11 in review

Mahomes Magic is alive and well.

Patrick Mahomes showed he has the inside track on both the top seed in the AFC and the league MVP when he pulled off his magic act again Sunday night.

After the Chargers took a four-point lead with less than two minutes to do, it took him six plays to put together the game winning drive.

The victory pretty much wrapped up the AFC West division for the Chiefs, who are 8-2 and have a three game lead on the 5-5 Chargers.

And they have a one game lead in the battle for the top seed as Mahomes goes for his second Super Bowl win in his first six years in the league. Tom Brady won his first three in his first five years but then went nine years before he won the fourth one.

Tennessee at 7-3 also has a three game lead in the AFC South and is virtually guaranteed a division title and home playoff spot.

Six other teams are battling for the other five AFC playoff spots. The closest race is in the AFC East with Miami, which had a bye last week, and Buffalo, which beat Cleveland, both 7-3. The Buffalo game was played in Detroit because of the snowstorm in Buffalo and the Bills go back to Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions.

New England and the Jets are 6-4 but neither looked like a contender  Sunday. They played a game in the wind that was tied 3-3 before the Patriots ran a punt back for a touchdown with five seconds left. Jets coach Robert Saleh wouldn’t commit to Zach Wilson remaining the starter.

In AFC North, Baltimore is 7-3 and Cincinnati 6-4.

That leaves eight AFC teams with four losses or fewer vying for seven spots. The Charges at 5-5 also can’t be ruled out.

In the NFC, Philadelphia stayed in top spot at 9-1 by escaping with a one point win over the Colts while Dallas seems to be emerging as their top challenger at 7-3 by crushing the Vikings, who are now 8-2 and have a four game lead in their division but don’t look like a team that can win three conference playoff games to make the Super Bowl.

The only other team besides the Eagles, Cowboys and Vikings with fewer than four losses in the NFC is the 7-3 New York Giants and they are try to hold on to wild card spot after losing to the Lions.

The rest of the NFC is a scramble and the most disappointing team is the defending champion Rams, who fell to 3-7 with a loss to the Saints. They won’t be repeating

The last team to repeat was the 2003-2004 Patriots and even Tom Brady couldn’t do it again. In the age of parity, repeating is difficult. The Steelers did it twice in a six-year span in the 1970s but those days are long gone.

Previewing NFL Week 11

What can the Minnesota Vikings do for an encore?

We find out Sunday when they face the Dallas Cowboys in the CBS late game that will be shown in most of the country. Their other late game is Cincinnati at Pittsburgh.

The Vikings are coming off that unbelievable victory over the Bills that was the game of the year. The Cowboys meanwhile, lost last Sunday to the Packers in the highest rated TV game of the year. That dropped the Cowboys to 6-2, but they remained a game behind the Eagles, who lost their first game to the Commanders.

But a loss to the Vikings would probably leave the Cowboys two games behind the Eagles, who play at Indianapolis. And a Vikings win would keep them tied at 9-1 with the Eagles in the battle for the top seed although the Eagles hold the head to head tie break.

The feature prime time game is Kansas City at the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday night, which was flexed to replace Cincinnati at Pittsburgh.

The 6-2 Chiefs have a game lead over the 5-3 Chargers as well as the top seed in the AFC. A victory would keep the Chiefs in the top seed spot plus a two game lead over the Chargers in the AFC West division race.

In the Thursday night Amazon Prime game, 5-3 Tennessee can remain in first place in the AFC South with a victory over 3-6 Green Bay, which stunned the Cowboys last Sunday.

In the Monday night game, San Francisco will attempt to go to 5-4 in the NFC West with a victory over 3-6 Arizona. Seattle leads the division at 6-3 and has a bye.

Atlanta, which is 4-5, can take the lead in the NFC South with a victory over 3-6 Chicago. Tampa Bay at 4-5 has a bye.

The 6-3 Jets, who play the 5-4 Patriots, and the 6-3 Bills, who host 3-5 Cleveland, can create a three-way tie in the AFC East at 7-3 if they both win. 

Baltimore at 6-3 can remain atop the NFC North with a victory over 2-7 Carolina.

Houston at 1-6-1 can remain in top spot in next year’s draft with a loss to the 4-5 Commanders.