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NFL playoff picture: Week 12 games

Hopefully you have recovered from the turkey overload on Thanksgiving, because there is a huge weekend of NFL games ahead.

All of the bye weeks are behind us, giving us the first full slate of games we have had since Week 4. On Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings took another step toward clinching the NFC North title with a win over the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers officially announced their arrival in the AFC gaggle, while the Dallas Cowboys all but checked out for a long winter’s nap.

Going into Sunday, here is how the NFL playoff pictures look:


1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)
2. New England Patriots (8-2)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
5. Tennessee Titans (6-4)
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

7. Buffalo Bills (5-5)
8. Miami Dolphins (5-5)
9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-6)


1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)
4. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
5. Carolina Panthers (7-3)
6. Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

7. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
8. Detroit Lions (6-5)
9. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

So which games should you be watching closely? For starters, the Saints and Rams are getting after it in Lo Angeles, with the winner earning what could be a key tiebreaker down the stretch. New Orleans has won eight in a row but will be without star rookie corner Marshon Lattimore, who was injured in the win over the Washington Redskins a week ago.

Another key matchup will include the Steelers and Packers on Sunday night, a contest that sees Pittsburgh favored by two touchdowns at home. The Steelers have been rolling ever since their win in Week 6 at Arrowhead Stadium, beating the previously unbeaten Chiefs. Pittsburgh started the year at 3-2 but has five straight victories.

Speaking of Kansas City, the Chiefs are in Arrowhead Stadium this weekend to take on the Bills. Both teams have been in the tank recently, with Buffalo losing three straight while the Chiefs have dropped four of five, including a hideous 12-9 overtime loss to the New York Giants last Sunday.

The bottom of the AFC standings could also see a shakeup. Jacksonville is trying to pad its lead in the AFC South with the Jaguars on the road against Blaine Gabbert and the Arizona Cardinals. Jacksonville is favored, although winning with Blake Bortles is always a dangerous game. Meanwhile, the Titans are on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, facing Jacoby Brissett and Co. Tennessee hasn’t played since last Thursday’s 40-17 loss to the Steelers, giving it ample time to get issues corrected.

Finally, the Ravens host the Houston Texans on Monday night. A win would keep Baltimore in the playoff picture, perhaps gaining some ground on the Miami Dolphins, who are stuck playing the Patriots in Foxboro this weekend.

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