The NFC East crown will come down to the experienced Tony Romo or the unflappable Robert Griffin III.
OTAs, training camp, draft and free agency, roster cuts, preseason games, more roster cuts, opening day, winning streaks and losing streaks. Busted plays, blown calls, season-ending injuries, trade rumors, quarterback controversies and potential coaching changes.
A four-month odyssey concludes tomorrow for 20 NFL teams. The remaining dozen begin a four-week trek ending in confetti champagne and glory. The task is simple, win or prepare for next season. The AFC playoff picture is set as Sunday’s contests will only fine tune things. The NFC remains murky with the East up for grabs and others looking for help.
Sunday December 30, 2012, Games beginning at 1:00pm:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) at Atlanta Falcons (13-2) – The Falcons have completed the “easy” portion of their schedule. Silencing legitimate doubters in two weeks will be another story.
Bucs 24 – Falcons 13
NY Jets (6-9) at Buffalo Bills (5-10) - If the Jets are smart Rex Ryan and anyone responsible for this joke of a season doesn’t board the team bus home.
Bills 20 – Jets 9
Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) - I haven’t heard anyone mention Marvin Lewis’ name as a COY candidate. Until now.
Bengals 27 – Ravens 20
Cleveland Browns (5-10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) – Two teams headed in opposite directions. The AFC North will be very competitive next season.
Steelers 23 – Browns 21
Chicago Bears (9-6) at Detroit Lions (4-11) – Again,the pressure is on Cutler, but the defense will save the day.
Bears 30 – Lions 13
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (5-10) - Is Maurice Jones-Drew really going to play?
Titans 22 – Jaguars 13
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) at NY Giants (8-7) - We’re almost certain of Andy Reid’s fate in Philly, is it possible Tom Coughlin walks away if the Giants miss the postseason?
Eagles 24 – Giants 20
Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (7-8) – The Saints can breathe easy knowing Sean Payton will be with the team for the forseeable future.
Saints 34 – Panthers 28
Houston Texans (12-3) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Chuck Pagano returns.
Colts 23 – Texans 19
Games beginning at 4:25 pm or later:
Green Bay Packers (11-4) at Minnesota Vikings (9-5) – Who wins, a determined Adrian Peterson or an iffy Packers run defense?
Packers 33 – Vikings 20
St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5) – Seattle heads into the postseason as the great unknown no one wants to see.
Seahawks 29 – Rams 23
Miami Dolphins (7-8) at New England Patriots (11-4) - The Patriots are playing for more than you think. So is Miami.
Patriots 27 – Dolphins 17
Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) at Denver Broncos (12-3) – I’m concerned about the Broncos ability to run the ball in the playoffs.
Broncos 27 – Chiefs 9
Oakland Raiders (4-11) at San Diego Chargers (6-9) – Norv Turner might as well take it out on the Raiders.
Raiders 24 – Chargers 16
Arizona Cardinals (5-10) – San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) – Aldon Smith comes within a hair of the NFL sack record.
49ers 29 – Cardinals 10
Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Washington Redskins (9-6) - The Cowboys are banged up, but determined to close the deal. The Redskins know if they get into the postseason anything can happen.
Redskins 24 – Cowboys 21
Last week: 12-4
2012 Season: 147-92-1