You know the season is coming to an end when there are NFL games on Saturday. Not that the two this week are that good, but they’re better than Georgia Southern-Eastern Michigan. We’ll start the weekly preview, as always, with the fellas in
Eagles (6-7) at L.A. Rams (11-2), 8:20 p.m. (Sunday, NBC10)
The Eagles have dropped three of the last five and the franchise quarterback has a fractured vertebra. But ... “I still look at them like a Super Bowl-caliber team,” L.A. wide receiver Robert Woods said. “Still the defending champs.” The Rams were manhandled by the Bears last week and have not lost two games in a row since Sean McVey took over as head coach before 2017.
Postgame headline: Guess Carson Wentz’s injury means no more option plays on 3rd & 1, huh?
Houston (9-4) at N.Y. Jets (4-9), 4:30 p.m. (NFLN)
The Texans had their nine-game winning streak snapped last week, but can still clinch the division with a win and losses by Indianapolis and Tennessee. Houston star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has scored at least one touchdown in five consecutive road games. Heavy rain is expected.
Postgame headline: Jets one step away from third straight 11-loss season
Cleveland (5-7-1) at Denver (6-7), 8:20 p.m. (NFLN)
Broncos rookie defensive end Bradley Chubb (12 sacks) and Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb (10 TDs) are cousins. Bradley Chubb has a shot at Jevon Kearse’s rookie sacks record (14.5 in 1999). Baker Mayfield’s passer rating in his first six games was 78.9; he had eight TD passes and six picks. In his last five, since the Cleveland fired its head coach and offensive coordinator, Mayfield’s rating is 114.4 and he’s thrown 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Postgame headline: Gasp! Browns have a better record than the Eagles
Tennessee (7-6) at N.Y. Giants (5-8), 1 p.m. (CBS3)
Former Eagle Dennis Kelly will start at right guard in place of Jack Conklin, who is out for the season with a knee injury. (Boy, where have you gone Dorial Green-Beckham?) The Titans also are down to their third tight end following injuries to Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith. Saquon Barkley can tie Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 13 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards.
Postgame headline: After two losses in less than 24 hours, MetLife executives wondering why on earth they paid for the naming rights to that stadium
Green Bay (5-7-1) at Chicago (9-4), 1 p.m.
Aaron Rodgers is 16-4 against the Bears, including a heroic rally in Week 1. Rodgers has not thrown an interception in 368 pass attempts, an NFL record. Green Bay is 0-6 on the road this season. The Bears are coming off a suffocating win over the Rams and will clinch the NFC North with a win. Chicago’s Tarik Cohen is secong in the league in yards receiving (679) among running backs and first in the NFL in punt return yardage (360).
Postgame headline: Bears put Packers out of our misery
Detroit (5-8) at Buffalo (4-9), 1 p.m.
Didn’t see the Lions being this bad. Matthew Stafford has one touchdown pass in the last three games. Buffalo linebacker Tremaine Edmunds last week became the youngest player (20 years, 221 days) to ever record an interception. Detroit head coach Matt Patricia and Buffalo OC Brian Daboll spent seven seasons together with the Patriots.
Postgame headline: Bills fans see Patricia and continue bizarre tradition of throwing obscene objects onto field
Tampa Bay (5-8) at Baltimore (7-6), 1 p.m.
John Harbaugh is sticking with Lamar Jackson as starting quarterback even though Joe Flacco is healthy. Baltimore is 4-0 with Jackson, so he really had no choice. “He is fun to watch, that’s for sure,” said Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter, “and they’ve been tearing it up with their run game.” Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans has 1,207 yards receiving and needs 216 to break the team record. Anyone who knew that Mark Carrier set the club mark in 1989 probably has a Lee Roy Selmon poster still hanging in their room.
Postgame headline: Ravens in first place after New England takes care of Pittsburgh
Arizona (3-10) at Atlanta (4-9), 1 p.m.
Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen is at least keeping a sense of humor during this lost season. He’s thrown more interceptions than TDs and completing only 55 percent of his passes. “I definitely need to throw to our team a lot more in all facets,” he joked.
Postgame headline: Julio Jones reaches 100 catches – for the season, not the game ... the Cardinals aren’t *that* bad
Oakland (3-10) at Cincinnati (5-8), 1 p.m.
Just a routine week for the Raiders who fired the general manager and found out the city of Oakland doesn’t want them anymore. “When you get here,” quarterback Derek Carr said, “it’s just rainbows and butterflies because you made it to the NFL. All of a sudden, you get new friends every year. I think I’ve like 27 different people in the locker next to me in five years. It just shows you how tough this business is.”
Postgame headline: Following upset loss to Raiders, Bengals assistant Hue Jackson a candidate to be fired twice in one season
Dallas (8-5) at Indianapolis (7-6), 1 p.m. (Fox29)
A Cowboys win would extend a remarkable streak of no NFC East team winning back-to-back division titles since the 2004 Eagles. While Andrew Luck deservedly gets much of the credit for helping Indianapolis dig out of an 0-5 start, the Colts defense is bidding to finish in top 10 in yardage for the first time in 11 years. Colts defensive players Anthony Walker and Darius Leonard are wearing specialized cleats designed to promote the Edwin Jackson 53 Foundation, named for the Colts linebacker who died in a traffic accident in February.
Postgame headline: Refs can’t take away the clear recovery the Colts have made from their early-season struggles
Miami (7-6) at Minnesota (6-6-1), 1 p.m.
Only players in history with more yards from scrimmage than Miami’s Frank Gore (18,530) are Jerry Rice (23,540), Emmitt Smith (21,579), Walter Payton (21,264) and Marshall Faulk (19,154). The numbers are nice, but Gore’s not in the same stratosphere as these guys.
Postgame headline: Stefon Diggs boasts about Minneapolis Miracle, Kenyan Drake says “hold my beer”
Washington (6-7) at Jacksonville (4-9), 1 p.m.
Best thing about this game is that local affiliate CBS3 switched up and will air the Giants-Titans instead. Washington quarterback Josh Johnson is making his first start since 2011 when he threw three interceptions in a loss to New England. He’s 0-5 in his career as a starter.
Postgame headline: Game sponsored by Chantix in honor of all those who’ve quit
Seattle (8-5) at San Francisco (3-10), 4:05 p.m.
Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks’ bizarre 2018 ended this week with a broken tibia. It started with a Super Bowl win and parade, included a brief stay with Cleveland, a guilty plea to insider trading, four games with the Seahawks and now a trip to the IR. Niners tight end George Kittle, a fantasy hero with 210 yards receiving last week, had 70 in the first meeting with Seattle. The Niners have lost nine in a row to Seattle.
Postgame headline: Seahawks doing to San Fran what Villanova used to do to the Big 5
New England (9-4) at Pittsburgh (7-5-1), 4:25 p.m. (CBS3)
Ben Roethlisberger is 2-8 in his career against Tom Brady, although the Steelers did get hosed last season when a potential game-winning touchdown catch was overturned on replay. Rob Gronkowski is averaging 110.7 yards per in his six games against the Steelers. He had a career-high 168 in last season’s meeting, which also was in Pittsburgh and also in Week 15. Pittsburgh’s three-game losing streak has cut its lead in the AFC North to a half-game.
Postgame headline: Steelers lose again as Mike Tomlin continues bid to become Packers next coach
New Orleans (11-2) at Carolina (6-7), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
This is boiling into a nice little testy rivalry, which the Saints have won three of the last four. They’ll also play in Week 17. Carolina has fumbled away control of a wild-card with a five-game losing streak and might need to win out to make it to the postseason. “There’s a chance — five percent,” coach Ron Rivera said this week. (It’s actually about nine percent according to FiveThirtyEight.com.) “That’s what they are giving us, so that’s what we will take. ... All you need is a chance.” Drew Brees has a TOTAL of 499 yards passing in the last three games.
Postgame headline: No one cares how Drew Brees has killed your fantasy team