This is not likely to be a good matchup weekend for the NFL.
Two of the three prime time games – Las Vegas at the Rams on Thursday night and New England at Arizona on Monday night – won’t have much at stake for either team although Las Vegas could stay in the wild-card race by beating the Rams. That would give the Raiders a 6-7 mark.
In the Sunday night game, Miami is at the Chargers in a flex game with both teams having wild-card hopes. Miami is 8-4 and the Chargers are 6-6. But neither team looks like a Super Bowl contender.
Of what I call the Big Six teams with the best shot at the top seed in each conference, five of them figure fairly easily.
In the AFC, the Bills should beat the Jets after losing the first meeting, Kansas City should win at Denver and Cincinnati is an easy choice over the Browns.
In the NFC, Dallas is a 17-point choice over the Texans in the biggest spread of the year and 11-2 Philadelphia figures to beat the Giants.
But Detroit has a good shot at beating Minnesota in a Fox early game that will be shown only in the Midwest. Minnesota is 10-2 but they may not be as good as their record while the Lions are on a roll and may better than their 5-7 mark. The Vikings barely beat the Jets last week and could have a tough time with the Lions. A loss would pretty much end the Vikings’ hope for the top seed, but they will still likely win their division.
Fox has an interesting doubleheader game that will be shown in much of the country since Carolina at Seattle is their other late game.
It will pit San Francisco rookie Brock Purdy, the last player drafted, making his first start against Tom Brady. San Francisco, 8-4, has the better team but could struggle with a rookie at quarterback. He had a good showing against the Dolphins last week when he took over in the first quarter after Jimmy Garopollo was lost for the season with a broken foot. But now the Bucs have a chance to look at him on film.
Meanwhile, Brady is showing his age and put only three points on the board for the first three-and-a-half quarters against the Saints before leading two touchdown drives to win the game. The win gave the Bucs a 6-6 record.
Both teams may make the playoffs but it is unlikely that either Purdy or Brady is going to make the Super Bowl.
This is the last week of byes and six teams – Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Washington – will have the week off.