The top five games of Week 14, where ESPN is once again shafted by a ridiculously bad St. Louis-Seattle matchup…
(Team rankings are based on our latest power rankings.)
1. No. 16 Bears at No. 8 Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 ET on Fox)
Anything with Tim Tebow is required viewing at this point in time, simply because of how surreal that story has become. What makes this one particularly interesting is that Tebow and the Broncos face the toughest defense they’ve had to play yet. And while it’s scary to imagine what might happen to Caleb Hanie against Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil after taking seven sacks last week, Chicago is desperate. Anything could happen here.
2. No. 13 Giants at No. 12 Cowboys (Sunday, 8:20 ET on NBC)
Will New York build off of what some might call a moral victory last week against Green Bay? Or will they have trouble getting up after losing a game they had so many chances to win? And how will the Cowboys react to another heartbreaking loss in Arizona? Dallas has a clear edge in the NFC East, but that’s completely gone if it loses this game.
3. No. 6 Texans at No. 17 Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 ET on CBS)
More questions here. Like, can Houston make it three in a row without Matt Schaub at quarterback? They also probably won’t have Andre Johnson for this one, so it could be tough. Both teams are desperate, as Houston tries to hang on to grab a first-round bye in the AFC and Cincinnati tries to hang on to a playoff spot after dropping three of four to division rivals. Poor Andy Dalton, who has to face a top-three defense for the fourth time in five weeks — and this one will be featuring a cornerback (Johnathan Joseph) who will be looking to burn his former team.
4. No. 9 Falcons at No. 19 Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 ET on Fox)
Returning home after back-to-back road victories, Cam Newton and the Panthers have all the momentum. But the Falcons haven’t lost back-to-back games in two years. Carolina has nothing to lose right now, while Atlanta is trying to figure out what went wrong last week as it fights for a playoff spot in the NFC. And keep in mind that in their first meeting, in Atlanta, the Panthers led in the fourth quarter.
5. No. 14 Raiders at No. 1 Packers (Sunday, 4:15 ET on CBS)
Green Bay looks to win its 19th straight game, and that shouldn’t be too difficult a task at home against a banged-up Raiders team that was crushed in Miami in Week 13. But the Pack have been cutting it closer than normal in their last three games, and it’s almost desperation time for an Oakland team that has outplayed the likes of Denver, Buffalo, San Diego and Houston on the road this season.