California Football Dreaming
The NFC Playoff scenario is, in a word, CRAZY, and it starts in Prime Time on Saturday night, when the 8-6 Los Angeles Rams head north to take on the 11-3 San Francisco 49ers.
Unless everything goes haywire, and it could, the #1 seed in the NFC will go to either the 49ers or the Seattle Seahawks depending on their Week 17 matchup. But first, the 49ers would like to beat the Rams (and after their loss to the Falcons, it would put them in the best position for the division and that #1 spot).
The 49ers beat the Rams, 20-7, in Week 6, and with the inconsistent play of Jared Goff and Co., they’re poised to do it again. The cavalry arrives for the 49ers’ secondary, as Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams are back.
George Kittle also tends to go all George Kittle on the Rams, with over 100 receiving yards in his last two games against LA. Also, the 49ers are coming off a not-so-awesome loss that they’d like to make up for. Advantage: Niners.
Meanwhile in the NFC North, Monday Night Football is going to be 🔥 with the 11-3 Green Bay Packers taking on the 10-4 Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Though they’ve clinched a playoff spot, a win crowns the Packers the Kings of the North. The Vikings need to win for any chance at the division, but a Rams loss Saturday night puts them in the dance. If the Rams don’t help them out, Minnesota is still in with a win in one of its last two games.
Green Bay won this matchup in Week 2, but this is a very different Minnesota team than it was then. Kirk Cousins has thrown 25 touchdowns and five interceptions this season, and since running back Dalvin Cook is most likely out, Cousins will need to take control in the air. The Vikings’ defense forced seven turnovers last week against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Packers’ QB Aaron Rogers hasn’t thrown for over 250 yards since Week 8, but he’s still Aaron Rodgers and these are his kinds of games.
MNF in December was made for these types of matchups and this one could go either way.
A Nor’easter in Foxborough
Let’s take break from the NFC for a slide and head to New England, where the 11-3 Patriots will play host to their division foe, the 10-4 Buffalo Bills, on Saturday afternoon.
After a couple of tough weeks, the Patriots bounced back with a 34-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Both the Bills and the Patriots have clinched playoff spots, but a win gives the Patriots the NFC East, again. The Bills could take the East if they win out and get a lot of help.
New England beat Buffalo, 16-10, in Week 4, when Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen threw three interceptions. The Pats’ defense leads the league with 25 INTs and on offense, they protect the ball very well.
Buffalo’s offense has just not performed at a high enough level to match a Patriots’ defense that has allowed 181 points in 14 weeks. And the Patriots are at home. Advantage: New England.
Cowboys vs. Eagles
It looks like the 7-7 Dallas Cowboys might just want to win the NFC East after all. Coming off an impressive 44-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Dak Prescott and friends are off to Philly to take on the 7-7 Eagles.
The NFC East has been sad all season long, but the division leaders are showing signs of life. If the Cowboys can put together two wins in a row, the division is theirs and Jason Garrett lives to coach another playoff game. The Eagles need to win out to win the division and play in January.
Dallas is undoubtedly the better team, ranked #1 in the NFL in total offense and #7 on defense. It’s just a matter of if they decide to play like it. The Cowboys’ backfield, led by Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott, rushed for 263 yards last week. Dallas could use those numbers again with Prescott nursing a sprained shoulder. He said he’ll be fine for Sunday, but a dominant run game will help matters.
Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz threw three TDs last week, and rookie running back Miles Sanders had 19 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown.
This game should be all Dallas, but these two teams give new meaning to the term Any Given Sunday.
The Pro Bowl, which takes place January 26 in Orlando, votes are in!
The Baltimore Ravens have 12 selections, including phenom quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, and safety Earl Thomas. Drew Brees and Michael Thomas are among seven selections from the New Orleans Saints. The Chiefs have six and the Steelers and Eagles each have five.
San Francisco 49ers’ rookie defensive end Nick Bosa and his big brother, Los Angeles Chargers’ defensive end Joey Bosa, led all defensive ends in votes.