NFL Pre­view Plenty of playo≠ im­pli­ca­tions in Week 13

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Cameron Wolfe, The Den­ver Post

Week 13’s sched­ule is full of com­pet­i­tive games, many with play­off im­pli­ca­tions. There are eight games Sun­day where both teams are in the thick of a play­off race. De­cem­ber foot­ball means weather is­sues, in­juries and tiebreak­ers will all come into play. Although the prime­time matchups lack the spunk they’ve had in re­cent weeks, the early games give fans an early taste of play­off foot­ball. Detroit at New Or­leans, 11 a.m. The Lions are in the driver’s seat to win the NFC North, and quar­ter­back Matthew Stafford oddly looks bet­ter with­out hav­ing to force the ball to wide re­ceiver Calvin John­son. L.A. Rams at New Eng­land, 11 a.m., KDVR-31. It’ll be a first glance at the Pa­tri­ots’ of­fense this sea­son with­out all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, a pre­view of what they’ll have to man­age the rest of the sea­son. Hous­ton at Green Bay, 11 a.m. The Pack­ers avoided vir­tual elim­i­na­tion last week, but they’re in near must-win games for the rest of the sea­son to make the play­offs. Philadel­phia at Cincin­nati, 11 a.m. The Ea­gles are slip­ping out of the play­off mix and a loss to the Ben­gals would ce­ment that, but a win keeps hope alive for another week. Mi­ami at Bal­ti­more, 11 a.m. The Dol­phins are pen­ciled into the play­offs, but they have a tough road matchup with a gritty Ravens squad still com­pet­ing for an AFC North ti­tle. San Fran­cisco at Chicago, 11 a.m. Fam­ily mem­bers and friends, and those in­ter­ested in where top draft picks might land, will likely be the only ones in­ter­ested in this matchup. Buf­falo at Oak­land, 2 p.m. The Bills are on the out­side of the play­off hunt look­ing in, but their phys­i­cal­ity up front presents an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge for the Raiders. N.Y. Giants at Pitts­burgh, 2:25 p.m., KDVR-31. The Steel­ers al­ways seem to be the AFC’s dark horse. They have enough tal­ent to scare any­one. Their mad­den­ing in­con­sis­tency has them in a fight to get into the play­offs. Wash­ing­ton at Ari­zona, 2:25 p.m. If Kirk Cousins can con­tinue his strong play Wash­ing­ton will have found it­self a fran­chise quar­ter­back that it’ll have to pay. Tampa Bay at San Diego, 2:25 p.m. The Buc­ca­neers are mak­ing a late play­off push. They’ve won their last three games, in­clud­ing wins at Kansas City and against Seat­tle. Carolina at Seat­tle, 6:30 p.m., KUSA-9. Cam New­ton vs. Rus­sell Wil­son was once a game of the year con­tender, but the Pan­thers’ sud­den drop has made this a run-of-themill Week 13 matchup. In­di­anapo­lis at N.Y. Jets, Mon­day, 6:30 p.m., ESPN. The Colts are one of the NFL’s most frus­trat­ing teams be­cause they’re fail­ing to take ad­van­tage of the tal­ent of their star quar­ter­back, An­drew Luck.

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