By Danny Cox
The 2012 NFL season is nearing its end, and some things are coming into the clearing. The AFC is seeing a number of teams move forward and distance themselves from the rest of the conference, so it appears as if those playoffs are on their way to being set.
The NFC is a different story. Last week’s action took some drastic turns and left a large number of teams still alive for playoff positions. To put it bluntly, the NFC is a complete and total mess. Maybe there will be a bit more clarity after the action that takes place this weekend.
Bye Weeks: All bye weeks are done
Thursday Night Football: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
The perfect season of the Atlanta Falcons was destroyed by the Saints just a few weeks ago. New Orleans was one of the hottest teams in the league until the 49ers and some pick-sixes cooled them off a good bit. Now, they’re preparing to clash again, but this time in Atlanta. Was Roddy White’s assessment of the Saints correct or will New Orleans prove to be the better team again?
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills
Any week that sees the Jags win a game is a step in the right direction, but if they do it again, they’re just going to be hurting their chances at landing the top pick in the draft. Buffalo is running that middle of the road season, and should grab another win this week.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
Chicago is staying strong in the NFC, and is one of the few clear cuts to make the playoffs. Seattle has been another strong contender in the NFC, but last week’s loss to the Dolphins takes some of their credibility away.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams
San Francisco is strong, no matter who is under center. There was a lot more expected this season from Sam Bradford and the Rams, but they’ve just failed to deliver and need a few extra pieces to advance.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Miami has their moments, but they won’t have nearly enough to take down the mighty Patriots. New England isn’t the dominant force they’ve been in past years, but they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.
Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets
Two teams that have dive-bombed since the beginning of the season, and they’ll both see lots of changes in the upcoming offseason. Will Tim Tebow make a serious appearance for the Jets before the end of the year? It certainly doesn’t seem that will happen as long as Rex Ryan has something to say about it. Still, the Cards are the poorer of the two teams here.
Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions
Andrew Luck and the Colts were embarrassed two weeks ago, but rebounded nicely last week. The Lions are just faltering left and right this season, and it is only a matter of time until Ndamukong Suh pushes things one step too far.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
The Vikings are coming off a loss from last week just like the Packers are. One main difference is that the Pack was completely and totally embarrassed by the Giants. Aaron Rodgers is going to be a little angry, and he’s going to take it out on the secondary of Minnesota.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
There are still tickets available for this game as low as $9. Yes, nine dollars. Anyone taking on this? Anyone at all?
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs
Doesn’t appear as if that Super Bowl guarantee from the beginning of the season is really coming to light for the Panthers, but they did finally look good last week. Then again, that was against the faltering Eagles. Kansas City is still horrible.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos
Josh Freeman and the Bucs are surprising everyone this season, and almost caught the Falcons napping last week. They’re not going to let Denver sit at home and just Peyton Manning run all over them. Still, Manning has had more than enough time to make the Broncos his team and run them his way.
Two more teams that are in the fight for one of the top draft picks in 2013. Yet, the Browns did not lat down and surrender last week like the higher-ups in the organization wanted them to do with white flags included. The Raiders are going to somehow pull this one out though and prove they aren’t dead yet.
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers
San Diego has just become flat-out awful, and this season is a bust. Had it not been for one big play last week though, they would have taken down one of the best teams in the AFC. I believe they’re going to continue with some of that momentum and take down the Bengals.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
There’s no way that the walking wounded in black and yellow can hold their own against the mighty Ravens.
Philly continues their plummet into obscurity.
Monday Night Football: New York Giants at Washington Redskins
The first meeting of the season between these two teams was a nail-biter which was won 27-23 by the Giants. RG3 has come a long way though, but there are far too many problems on the Redskins’ squad. Their defense is faulty and they almost let the Cowboys come back from a deep hole on Thanksgiving, and the Giants have way too many weapons to contain.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.