By Peter King
December 27, 2012
Last Week: 13-3 (.813); This Season: 157-82-1 (.656)
Sunday, Dec. 30
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) at Atlanta Falcons (13-2)
Remember when the Bucs were 6-4 and in all those playoff-scenario graphics? Well, they'll finish the season on a six-game losing streak that has everyone at Tony Dungy's barbershop in Tampa wondering: "Was it fool's gold with Greg Schiano in the first two months?"
1 p.m. ET (CBS) New York Jets (6-9) at Buffalo Bills (7-8)
Give it to C.J. Spiller. A lot. That would be a fitting end to the second-most disappointing team's season this year. (The Eagles are No. 1.)
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
Jeopardy answer: NFC, Seattle. AFC, Cincinnati. Jeopardy question: "What are the two most dangerous Wild Cards in the NFL this season, Alex?"
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Cleveland Browns (5-10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
In the grand tradition of Spergon Wynn, the quarterback for the Browns this week may be Thad Lewis. Or Josh Johnson. Injuries to Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy may make that necessary. A very strange way for the Holmgren-Shurmur-Heckert Era of Browns history to end ... if owner Jimmy Haslam decides to pull the plug on them Monday.
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Chicago Bears (9-6) at Detroit Lions (4-11)
Yes, Calvin Johnson gets to 2,000 receiving yards. But the Bears get the real prize, sort of: the sixth playoff seed. That prize may not be such a prize. The Bears' reward will be a trip to San Francisco or Green Bay, depending on who gets the third seed.
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (5-10)
In the Munchak-Mularkey Job Saving Bowl, my only question is this: Do fans actually have to attend?
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) at New York Giants (8-7)
A few big names in their swan songs here. Andy Reid and Mike Vick for the Eagles. Osi Umenyiora for the Giants. New York has a little bit more to play for, but don't discount what Vick has to play for: his future.
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (7-8)
The Panthers try to end the year on a four-game winning streak, and come close, with Cam Newton continuing to play like September 2011. But the Saints continue to prove they'll be a 2013 contender when Sean Payton (I think) returns to coach. New Orleans, with this win, would be 8-4 down the stretch, the only real stinker the 52-burger the Giants hung on them. Mysteriously, I might add.
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Houston Texans (12-3) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
I badly want to be sentimental this week and pick Chuck Pagano and his Colts. If Pagano could put the pads on and block J.J. Watt, I would.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Green Bay Packers (11-4) at Minnesota Vikings (9-6)
I look into my crystal ball, which had the Vikes winning in Houston last week (he said in a humblebrag sort of way), and see a bummer of a day for the Vikings. Minnesota's a better defensive team than you think -- the Vikings really beat up the Texans last week. And so it won't be easy for the Packers, playing for the two seed. But Aaron Rodgers and his weapons are better than Matt Schaub and his.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5)
The Seahawks will lose heart when they go into halftime and see "SF 23 AZ 3" on the CenturyLink scoreboard. No matter. They'll get the fifth seed and travel to Washington for the Wild Card Battle of the Rookie QBs.
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) Miami Dolphins (7-8) at New England Patriots (11-4)
I love the fact that Tom Brady ripped into his offense for, shall we say, uninspired play at Jacksonville last week. Amazing a team this good for this long this season, a team that, like Houston, should finish 6-0 in its division and 11-1 in the conference ... and will have to survive the Cincinnati pass rush, most likely, in a Wild Card game.
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) at Denver Broncos (12-3)
Last March, the Chiefs were dying to get Peyton Manning to visit. They desperately wanted to sell him on their franchise and their great skill players and their chance to win now. But Manning chose the familiarity of so many things in Denver (old Buddy Brandon Stokley lived there and might come back to play, John Elway was the franchise czar, a trusted rehab guy was there, etc.) and so the Chiefs never got in to see him. Kansas City wasn't the only jilted suitor. Seattle wanted in. The Jets too. Nothing. But imagine for a moment if Manning chose the Chiefs. Kansas City, 11-4. Denver, 6-9. And I'd be picking Kansas City to win this game, 31-10.
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) Oakland Raiders (4-11) at San Diego Chargers (6-9)
Norv Turner and A.J. Smith will leave Del Boca Vista with a win, a proud wave, and not a lot of love from San Diegans.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Arizona Cardinals (5-10) at San Francisco 49ers">49ers (10-4-1)
How would you feel if you're Pete Carroll, standing in front of his Seahawks this week, knowing Seattle wins the West with a Seattle win and a San Francisco loss to Arizona, whose backup quarterbacks this season have thrown two touchdown passes and 17 interceptions ... playing against a Niners team that's never lost a second straight game under Jim Harbaugh, coming off a skunking last Sunday to the Seahawks? Pete: You can't lie to your team, so don't try. The latest victim under center for Arizona: Brian Hoyer, signed by the Cards 10 minutes ago. "It's a crazy business, but to me, it's the best job in the world," said Hoyer. We'll see if he says that at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday.
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Washington Redskins (9-6)
We talk about the meaning of quarterbacks in every game, and rightfully so. But I like Alfred Morris (4.7 yards per rush as a sixth-round rookie) to win this game down the stretch before a crowd that will be Gibbs-Monk-Doug Williams excited ... and will make the stadium shake in the process Sunday night.


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