Taking a look ahead: NFL Week 13

A look ahead to Week 13 in the NFL:

1. The focus is on the NFC this weekend with Philadelphia at Seattle in the prime time game Sunday night and Fox has a good doubleheader with Minnesota at Atlanta in the early game and Carolina at New Orleans in the late game. The Monday night game is the Steelers-Bengals, which doesn’t seem to be a good matchup but the Steelers have been playing down to the level of their competition all year so it could be closer than expected. And Steelers usually get good ratings. If the NFL ratings are going to rebound, the NFL needs a good showing this weekend. It’s December and the chilly weather up north tends to keep fans indoors. But maybe the lower ratings are the new normal for the NFL. And CBS has a tough Sunday with only one game featuring two teams with winning records: Pats-Bills. And does anybody think the Bills have a chance in this game?

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Giants’ Mara comes off as clueless in messy benching of Eli

It is unusual for a phrase to be remembered for almost a thousand years.

Yet King Henry VIII’s famous phrase in 1170, “Will no one get rid of this meddlesome priest?’’ hasn’t faded into the history books.

It was used by fired FBI director James Comey in hearings before Congress earlier this year.

Henry II was referring to Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, because they were having a dispute.

So four knights killed Becket even though Henry II later said he didn’t mean for him to be killed.

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Taking a look back: NFL Week 12

A look back on Week 12 in the NFL:

1. The Kansas City Chiefs continued their slide with their fifth loss in the last six games, a 16-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs still lead the AFC West with a 6-5 mark and have what looks like an easy schedule except for the game against the Chargers. But the way their offense is struggling, there may be no easy games and the Chiefs are in danger of missing the playoffs. The Chiefs got one first down in the first half against a Bills team that was giving up an average of 45 points a game the last three games. Coach Andy Reid is sticking with veteran Alex Smith and the offensive woes aren’t all on him. But if Smith doesn’t get on track, the Chiefs are likely to move to Patrick Mahomes next year and Smith will be looking for a job.

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Arians’ belief in Gabbert still probably won’t end well for Cardinals

Jacksonville Jaguars fans aren’t going to believe this, but Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he would be “comfortable’’ with Blaine Gabbert starting in 2018 if Carson Palmer retires.

Arians wouldn’t rule it out happening at his press conference Monday, according to azcentral.com.

“Oh yeah,” the Cardinals coach said, “I think that’s a possibility.”

Gabbert, a first round bust with the Jaguars, led the Cardinals to a 27-24 victory over his former team Sunday.

“I’m really proud of him,” Arians said. “These things don’t happen. I mean, you hope they don’t happen very often when your top two guys go down. But we’re very blessed to have him and he has taken the bull by the horns and showing us, ‘I’m a player. I can play at this level and play at a very high level.’”

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Kudos to Steelers’ Tomlin for admitting he’s looking ahead to Patriots

The NFL can be thankful for the Pittsburgh Steelers-Green Bay Packers primetime matchup last Sunday night.

After all three Thanksgiving day games declined in the ratings – including a staggering 20.5 percent drop by the Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Chargers game over last season’s Dallas game – the Steelers-Packers game showed a three percent increase.

That is a modest bump but a positive one in a year of declining ratings for the NFL, even though it was a 10 percent drop from the previous week’s Sunday night game.

The Dallas drop was particularly alarming because the Cowboys are one of the league’s most popular teams, although they lost a lot of star power when commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Ezekiel Elliott for six games. Goodell’s long quest to suspend Elliott even though the league’s lead investigator said the alleged victim wasn’t credible may have cost the NFL in the ratings.

There were fears the Steelers-Packers game could drop because Aaron Rodgers was injured, but both the Steelers and the Packers are popular national teams and bring in a lot of eyeballs. And the game wound up closer than expected, with the Steelers winning 31-28 on a field goal as time expired.

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