In Week 16, the NFL’s TV schedule is all about survival of the fittest.
Each conference only gets two wild-card seeds. Entering this week’s action, there are 14 non-division winners still competing for those sports.
My math tells me somebody is going to get left out.
Because nearly half the league falls into that category and eight more teams are out to secure higher seeds, almost every Week 16 matchup has playoff implications.
Here’s how to watch those matchups, the Week 16 CBS and Fox coverage details.
NFL Week 16 Coverage Info
*Note: Maps courtesy of the506.com.
|Raiders at Panthers||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein|
|Bills at Dolphins||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Don Criqui, Randy Cross|
|Bengals at Steelers||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Jim Nantz, Phil Simms|
|Patriots at Jaguars||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots|
|Colts at Chiefs||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker|
|Saints at Cowboys||1:00 p.m.||Fox||Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston|
|Redskins at Eagles||1:00 p.m.||Fox||Tom Brennaman, Brian Billick|
|Rams at Buccaneers||1:00 p.m.||Fox||Ron Pitts, Mike Martz|
|Chargers at Jets||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Marv Albert, Rich Gannon|
|Titans at Packers||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf|
|Vikings at Texans||1:00 p.m. ||Fox||Chris Myers, Tim Ryan|
|Browns at Broncos||4:05 p.m.||CBS||Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts|
|Bears at Cardinals||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Dick Stockton, John Lynch|
|Giants at Ravens||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Joe Buck, Troy Aikman|
Matchup of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
It all comes down to this.
Which team will end up in the playoffs?
The winner of the game between the 8-6 Bengals and 7-7 Steelers will control its own playoff destiny going into Week 17. The loser is eliminated, unless Pittsburgh wins on Sunday and loses to the Browns next week while the Bengals beat the Ravens.
Anyway, this is the matchup of the week because it’s the only one that features two teams left in the playoff race that haven’t clinched and control their own destinies.
Throw in the fact that it’s between two bitter AFC North rivals, and the showdown couldn’t get much more heated.
Cincinnati will enter the contest having won four of its last five, while Pittsburgh has lost four of its last five. But while the Bengals enter significantly hotter as a team than the Steelers, Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger both have struggled of late.
Dalton has recorded a passer rating of 76.1 or lower in three straight games, while Roethlisberger has had key turnovers lead to the Black and Gold’s last two losses.
Whichever QB can snap out of it first will put his squad on the inside track to the postseason.
Underrated Matchup of the Week: New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys
How in the world is a matchup which includes the Cowboys underrated?
Well, many may not realize that this showdown is also between two playoff-bubble teams. Believe it or not, 6-8 New Orleans has yet to be eliminated. The Saints need a Christmas miracle to sneak in, but the first item on their to-do list is to beat Big D.
Now, Dallas’ playoff dreams wouldn’t be doused with a loss. It could still qualify with a win over the Redskins in Week 17, along with some help. But obviously, the Cowboys would love to avoid needing another team's assistance.
That sounds like a lost cause. Brees leads the NFL in passing yards this season with 4,335, and he generals the fourth-highest-scoring offense in the league. But if Romo continues to play as he has the past several weeks, the Cowboys will be able to keep up.
They’ve won five of their last six games, and over those weeks Romo is averaging 312.5 yards per game; a passer rating of 106.0; and, most importantly, he boasts a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 12-3.
And considering that the Saints and Cowboys defenses each allow over 24 points a game, these QBs won’t face much opposition.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.