By Jason Bryden
Assistant Sports Info Director
Washington (5-6) at New York Giants (7-4)
An absolute must win for the Washington Redskins as they make their first trip to the New Meadowlands Stadium to take the on the New York Giants.
Washington, who fell to Minnesota on Sunday 17-13, currently trail Green Bay, Tampa Bay and the Giants by two games for the final wild card spot and also trail Philadelphia by two games in the NFC East race as all four teams are 7-4. The Redskins do own the tiebreaker on Green Bay. A loss by Washington would drop them three games back in the NFC East race and possibly in the wild card race. The Giants snapped a two-game skid to down Jacksonville, 24-20, and are now 7-4 on the season as they overcame a 17-6 deficit at halftime. New York has been besieged by injuries to its offensive line and wide receivers, but is still in the thick of the NFC East and wild card race. The Giants are tied with Philadelphia for first in the NFC East, but the Eagles own the breaker with their Week 11 win over New York.
Jacksonville (6-5) at Tennessee (5-6)
Can Jacksonville get some separation from Tennessee in the AFC South race or will the Titans down the Jaguars, a scenario which would make both sides 6-6.
Jacksonville, the current leaders of the AFC South due to its win over Indianapolis, blew a 17-6 lead on Sunday against the Giants. The Jaguars have won three of their past four games to ascend to the divisional lead. Jacksonville will be playing its first road divisional game after playing its first three divisional games at home and its final two divisional games after Sunday are away. The Titans are hoping to snap a four-game losing streak and lost on Sunday by a 20-0 at Houston. Tennessee has quarterback issues right now as its top two quarterbacks are both injured, Vince Young is out for the year and Kerry Collins is hoping to return this week.
Atlanta (9-2) at Tampa Bay (7-4)
When the two teams met in Atlanta in Week 9, the Falcons held on to down the Buccaneers 27-21. On Sunday it is rematch time in Tampa as the Buccaneers are hoping for a reversal of fortune and get back into the NFC South race.
Atlanta, who currently has the top record in the NFC, continued its home dominance with a 20-17 win over Green Bay on Sunday, getting a field goal by kicker Matt Bryant with nine seconds to go. A win by the Falcons gets them to 10 wins and a season sweep of the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay came up short in Baltimore on Sunday by a 17-10 score. In its four losses, the record of the opponents is 33-11, and Tampa Bay has yet to beat a team with a winning record, but is 7-0 against teams with losing records.
Pittsburgh (8-3) at Baltimore (8-3)
First place is on the line in the AFC North as the Steelers travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on Sunday night in front of a national audience in one of the NFL’s most hard hitting and bitter rivalries.
Baltimore won the first meeting by a 17-14 score in Week 4 in Pittsburgh as the Ravens scored on a quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the final minute to lift the Ravens to the win. In that game, the Steelers did not have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as he was serving the last of his four-game suspension for his off the field conduct. Pittsburgh is hoping having him around will be the difference this time. Both teams won by three points on Sunday – Pittsburgh in overtime at Buffalo, 19-16, and Baltimore downing visiting Tampa Bay, 17-14. A win by the Ravens gives them the season series and the tiebreaker, while a Steelers victory splits the season series and a better division record as it would give the Ravens two losses in the AFC North.
The Steelers lead the all-time series 19-12, but the Ravens have won six of the last seven in Baltimore.
New York Jets (9-2) at New England (9-2)
Another grudge match occurs on Monday night as the Jets travel to Foxboro to take on the Patriots with the winner grabbing first place in the AFC East.
New York took the first meeting by a 28-14 score in East Rutherford, New Jersey as the Jets scored the final 21 points in the Week 2 win, including 18-0 in the second half. A win by the Jets gives them the season sweep of the Patriots and all tiebreakers on New England. A win by New England gets them a season split with New York. The two teams join Atlanta as the only three teams to have won nine games so far in 2010. Both teams won on Thanksgiving as the Patriots topped Detroit by a 45-24 score, while the Jets dropped Cincinnati in a 26-10 win.
New York leads the all-time series 51-50-1, but New England has won both playoff meetings. The Patriots have won six of the last eight meetings, including the 2006 AFC Wild Card meeting, in Foxboro.