NFC PLAYOFF WATCH
The game that has the attention of Seahawks fans is the matchup between two 9-4 teams, the Detroit Lions at the N.Y. Giants. The Lions, leading the NFC North, hold the No. 2 seed in the conference ahead of the currently third-seeded Seahawks. A loss today would help Seattle’s chances of nailing down the second seed and a first-round bye, especially considering the Lions have two tough games remaining (at No. 1 Dallas and home vs. Green Bay). Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will play with a dislocated middle finger on his passing hand, so Detroit’s offense will have to deal with that in a game that has the potential for bad weather (rain and 20 mph winds).
PLAYOFF DROUGHT OVER?
PLAYOFF DROUGHT OVER?
The Oakland Raiders have been on the outside looking in at the playoffs since 2002, but that could all change today. Should the Raiders (10-3) defeat the Chargers (5-8) in San Diego, they’ll clinch at least a wild card berth in the AFC playoffs. They’re technically tied with the Kansas City Chiefs atop of the AFC West, but the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker because they’ve beaten the Raiders twice. The Chiefs finish at the Chargers, so San Diego could also determine who wins the AFC West and a likely first-round bye.
WEEKLY COWBOYS DRAMA
Dak or Tony… who have you got? For now, it seems Dak Prescott is the answer to the question of who is the Dallas Cowboys quarterback going forward. But if he rolls out another stinker, despite leading the Cowboys to an 11-2 record and the No. 1 spot in the NFC, expect the whispers for Romo’s return to grow even louder. Prescott and crew face the Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football. The Bucs are one of the hottest teams going — they’ve won five straight games, including a 14-5 humiliation of the Seahawks — so it’s not going to be easy.
The Indianapolis Colts (6-7) and the Minnesota Vikings (7-6) are two teams who had high hopes and visions of making deep playoff runs this season. For one, those dreams will likely die on Sunday. Neither can afford a loss — or tie, for that matter — so this is one of those late season nonconference games that has playoff implications. The Vikings, currently No. 8 in the NFC, get a boost from having Adrian Peterson being active for the first time since suffering a knee injury in September. The Colts are third in the AFC South behind Houston (7-6) and Tennessee (7-6).
ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NO. 1
The Cleveland Browns continue their march — no, make that long, tortuous slog — through the 2016 season with the only question remaining being if they can become the second team to go 0-16 (hello, 2008 Detroit Lions). If you thought Robert Griffin III might improve their chances at breaking through into the win column, he didn’t look like much help last week (38.4 passer rating in a 23-10 to the Cincinnati Bengals). Maybe he’ll be better this week against the Buffalo Bills and their suspect secondary.