I would like this opportunity to wish all of you the happiest of holidays, as well as the happiest of every day now and beyond. For those few who read my babble on occasion, I will make this fast so you can get back to your gifts and egg nog.
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cowboys quest to crawl out of their divisions cellar continues, while Arizona seems content to be at the bottom of theirs.
Cowboys 31 Cardinals 13
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Now that the Patriots are in the playoffs, they need to stay healthy the rest of the way while trying to get home field advantage. Playing Buffalo helps. An improved team that will keep the Patriots sharp enough but not exert them as much as the games they have played recently.
Patriots 24 Bills 16
San Francisco 49ers @ Saint Louis Rams
At 5-9, the Niners are still within reach of the best record in the NFC West as they switch starting quarterbacks yet again. The Rams could have taken over the division last week, but lost. This is a game they must win.
Rams 23 49ers 17
Detroit Lions @ Miami Dolphins
the Dolphins slim playoff hopes are on life support, while the young Lions play hard each week. This could come down to a field goal in overtime.
Dolphins 16 Lions 13
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Now that Pittsburgh won Thursday, the onus is on the Ravens to win as well in order to remain tied for first place in the AFC North.
Ravens 27 Browns 17
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
KC needs to win in order to maintain their one game lead in the AFC West. Tennessee gave up weeks ago after quarterback Vince Young quit on them yet again.
Chiefs 24 Titans 20
Washington Redskins @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Star halfback Maurice Jones-Drew is listed as doubtful, which is a huge blow to a Jaguars team who relies on him so heavily and needs to win here for a chance at winning their division. Luckily, they are facing a mess of a team in the Washington Redskins.
Jaguars 27 Redskins 24
New York Jets @ Chicago Bears
The Jets showed a lot of heart winning last week against Pittsburgh. They are still fighting for their playoff lives, but may have to do it without quarterback Mark Sanchez. The youngster has a tear in his shoulder, and it is hard to see the Jets risking his career by letting him play.
Chicago rebounded from a butt kicking two weeks ago to smash the Vikings last week and take a commanding two game lead of the NFC North. Now they are focused on trying to gain home field advantage, though that is unlikely.
Bears 17 Jets 16
Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos
Two last place teams play 60 minutes then go home.
Texans 31 Broncos 21
Indianapolis Colts @ Oakland Raiders
While the Raiders have a faint chance of still winning the AFC West, Peyton Manning continues to defy the odds and keep a pretty lousy Colts team in playoff contention.
Colts 23 Raiders 21
San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Bolts keep charging to the AFC West crown, so winning here is vital. The Bengals only story is wondering which of their two big mouthed has-been wide receivers will complain next.
Chargers 34 Bengals 21
Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Though the Buccaneers 2010 playoff dreams are done, they still are a pesky squad who will not roll over. Seattle is tied for first place in the NFC West, so winning here is vital.
Buccaneers 21 Seahawks 17
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers Game of the Week
The Packers are fighting for their playoff lives, so quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns from the concussion that put him on the bench two weeks ago. Since the Packers running game is not very good, they need to to be as sharp as he was before the injury.
The Giants blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter last week before losing the game and the opportunity to lead the NFC East. They face a tough Packers defense while trying to stay a game ahead of Green Bay in the Wild Card chase.
This could be a classic.
Giants 23 Packers 21
Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles
Philly should trounce a Vikings team that gave up long ago.
Eagles 27 Vikings 10
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
This should be the best NFL game that ESPN broadcasts on Monday Night Football in 2010.
These teams met in the third week, where the Falcons won a back and forth contest 27-24 in overtime. Atlanta is also undefeated at home this year, and has the best record in the NFL. New Orleans has dropped two of their four losses on the road this season.
Add to Falcons star wide receiver Roddy White's unexpected smack talk on the Saints this week, these division rivals are headed for a violent collision. The Saints are still alive in dreams of winning the NFC South, but the Falcons will bury that thought if they win.
The one thing Atlanta does is hang onto the football better than New Orleans, yet also execute a more balanced offense. If the Saints shut down White, Atlanta may struggle.