Roger Goodell and the NFL administration deserves major credit for the success of the National Football League. Putting divisional games at the end of the season was pure genius.
Because of that rule change, we now have football games that matter at the end of the season. Yes, we'll have a team or two who ends up winning 13 or 14 games, likely solidifying a bye in the playoffs, but for the most part, it has done justice for NFL fans.
While Week 14 doesn't fall within this rule change, it will however excellently set up the last three games of the season for fans. Three NFC divisions have yet to be settled (West, East, North) and one AFC division (North) is far from locked.
Here is the viewing info for Sunday's most captivating games.
Houston Texans (11-1) vs. New England Patriots (9-3)
When: Monday, December 10, 8:30 p.m, ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
Both teams have secured a playoff spot in the AFC, however New England still has hopes of locking up a playoff bye.
This game will be more about bragging rights, as both teams have championship aspirations. Both teams are built differently, but are effective in their own rights.
Houston is the more complete team. They can ram it down your throats with a strong running attack led by Arian Foster and Justin Forsett, and a passing attack featuring multiple variations of boot legs and play action.
The Patriots on the other hand, have a high-flying passing attack, reminiscent of Chip Kelly's no-huddle offense, and contrary to their reputation as one-dimensional team, they can also run the ball effectively.
On this night, however, the better quarterback will prevail. Matt Schaub is good, but Mr. Brady is great.
New York Jets (5-7) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
When: Sunday, December 9, 1:00 p.m., ET
Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville
The New York Jets are awful. The Jaguars are something out of a horror movie. Obviously, this matchup wasn't highlighted for it's potential competitive outcome, but rather a goodbye wave to current New York Jets starter, Mark Sanchez.
From his off-the-field endeavors (GQ, potential mates), to his courageous on-the-field antics (butt fumble), Mark Sanchez sure gave Jets fans a wonderful three-year ride.
Yes, Mr. Sanchez did lead the Jets to two AFC Championship appearances, but unfortunately, in this NFL age, it's about the current not the past.
And the current isn't pleasant. Sanchez has looked awful, and was finally benched last week in favor of Greg McElroy. McElroy was solid, but he isn't the solution to the Jets quarterback woes.
Unfortunately for Jets fans, Mark Sanchez isn't either. Neither is the heralded Tim Tebow. The Jets issues are far deeper than who lines up at quarterback.
Rex Ryan is a great head coach, but the talent (or lack thereof) on this team has finally reached a level even he could not fix.
Even so, Sunday's matchup against the Jaguars is Sanchez's last straw. For many, this came weeks ago, however, for the few that have patiently waited, don't expect a different result.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) vs. New York Giants (7-5)
When: Sunday, December 9, 4:25 p.m., ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, New York
The New Orleans Saints are still in the running for a wild card spot, while the Giants are holding onto their slim NFC East lead, with both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins on their trail.
Expect this to be a matchup of desperation.
If the Giants lose, and I suspect they could fall to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, and either the Redskins or Cowboys win, they could miss the playoffs altogether.
Remember, one of the NFC North teams will likely snag the first wild-card spot. And don't discount the Seattle Seahawks.
For the Saints, this is likely their last chance at salvaging a rather disappointing season in the Sean Payton era. Though, Sean Payton not being there has to count for something, right?
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