Satur­day starts wild week­end

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - New York Jets (4-10) at New Eng­land (12-2), 11 a.m. Ten­nessee (8-6) at Jacksonville (2-12), 11 a.m. Min­nesota (7-7) at Green Bay (8-6), 11 a.m., KDVR-31. San Diego (5-9) at Cleve­land (0-14), 11 a.m. Wash­ing­ton (7-6-1) at Chicago (3-11), 11 a.m. At­lanta (9

Play­off sce­nar­ios are plen­ti­ful for nearly ev­ery con­tender at this point of the season, but the eas­i­est way for teams to im­prove their chances is to win. This is a rare NFL week­end — with 12 Satur­day games and two Sun­day games, along with “Mon­day Night Foot­ball.”

Only two games this week­end have no play­off im­pli­ca­tions: San Diego at Cleve­land and San Fran­cisco at Los Angeles. For the rest of the matchups, home-field ad­van­tage, divi­sion ti­tles and mak­ing it to the play­off party are the main pri­or­i­ties.

Mi­ami (9-5) at Buf­falo (7-7), 11 a.m. The Dol­phins con­trol their own des­tiny to make it to the play­offs, but there’s some­thing about Mi­ami’s in­con­sis­ten­cies that en­sure it won’t be easy.

Since stum­bling in the fi­nal week of the 2015 reg­u­lar season at Mi­ami to lose out on home-field ad­van­tage and then los­ing at Den­ver in the AFC cham­pi­onship game, the Pa­tri­ots have preached fin­ish­ing. They are two wins away from play­ing host through­out the AFC play­offs.

The Ti­tans are the best team in the AFC South, and if they avoid a let­down against Jacksonville they will set up a divi­sion cham­pi­onship game against Houston next week­end.

No NFC team wants to see Green Bay in the play­offs. Af­ter post­ing four con­sec­u­tive wins, the Pack­ers’ play­off hopes have gone from slim to likely.

The Browns are only two losses away from a com­pletely win­less season. It would be hard to com­pre­hend the Browns win­ning at Pitts­burgh in Week 17, so this is es­sen­tially their chance to avoid 0-16.

Wash­ing­ton is mired in medi­ocrity. Even if the Red­skins win their last two games, they could be sit­ting at home be­cause of their por­ous de­fense and bad run­ning game. The Fal­cons have to fend off a hot Buc­ca­neers team to win the NFC South, but the Pan­thers have as­pi­ra­tions of play­ing spoiler for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week.

So you’re say­ing there’s a chance? The Colts are hold­ing on to ex­tremely slim play­off chances, but they all start with an up­set road win against the Raiders.

Game of the week

Bal­ti­more (8-6) at Pitts­burgh (9-5), 2:25 p.m. Sun­day, NFL Network. This ri­valry has re­turned to promi­nence with an AFC North ti­tle at stake on Christ­mas. The Steel­ers would clinch the divi­sion with a win and strike a huge blow to the Ravens’ play­off hopes. Bal­ti­more has dom­i­nated Pitts­burgh re­cently, win­ning the last four meet­ings. To end that streak, the Steel­ers will need big games out of their play­mak­ers — run­ning back Le’Veon Bell, wide re­ceiver An­to­nio Brown and quar­ter­back Ben Roeth­lis­berger.

The Saints, like the Pan­thers, are play­ing the role of home spoiler against their NFC South ri­vals. Drew Brees will be on his game af­ter yet an­other Pro Bowl snub.

Rus­sell Wilson and Seat­tle have been an enigma all season, but it’s not hard to see them back in the Su­per Bowl again if their run­ning game wakes up.

This is a clas­sic De­cem­ber fight for draft po­si­tion. The Rams have al­ready fired their coach and the 49ers are likely to have front of­fice and/or coach­ing changes too.

Tom Savage’s come­back vic­tory over Jacksonville earned him a shot as the Tex­ans’ start­ing quar­ter­back with an AFC South ti­tle on the line.

The Cow­boys have clinched the NFC’s No. 1 play­off seed, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how mo­ti­vated they are for this game. Detroit has plenty to play for, in­clud­ing the NFC North ti­tle.

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