Skip to main content

TWENTYMAN: 5 games to watch this week

Detroit's loss on Thanksgiving to Minnesota dropped them to 6-5 on the season and three games back of the NFC North-leading Vikings (9-2) with five games remaining.

Catching the Vikings for the division title isn't officially out of the question, but the Lions certainly made it hard on themselves, and have little room for error these next five weeks.

"There's a lot of football left," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said after the loss. "Don't count us out just yet. We've got a lot of football yet to play, and you don't know what's going to happen. There's other games that are being played too.

"I know the media will paint it like the sky is falling, but the sky is not falling for us. We've got to get ourselves a little bit better and keep moving forward."

Detroit is currently the eighth seed in the NFC playoff picture.

With Detroit's Week 12 contest in the books, here are five other games that should interest Lions fans this weekend:

**Tampa Bay (4-6) at Atlanta (6-4), Sunday, 1 p.m.


As it stands right now, Atlanta is the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture, but they still have games remaining vs. Minnesota (9-2), vs. New Orleans (8-2), at Tampa Bay (4-6), at New Orleans (8-2) and vs. Carolina (7-3). That's a gauntlet to finish the year.

The Falcons need to take care of business at home this week against the only opponent remaining on their schedule with a losing record. Lions fans would obviously like to see a Tampa Bay victory. This game also gives Lions fans an opportunity to scout a future opponent. The Lions travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs Dec. 10.

Carolina (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6), Sunday, 1 p.m.

Carolina holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lions, thanks to their Week 5 win in Detroit. It means that if Detroit is going to leapfrog Carolina in the playoff standing, they need to finish with a better record. Carolina is currently the fifth seed.

After this week, Carolina plays at New Orleans (8-2), vs. Minnesota (9-2), vs. Green Bay (5-5), vs. Tampa Bay (4-6) and at Atlanta (6-4).

The Jets are 3-2 at home this season, with their only losses coming to New England and Atlanta by just one score.

Seattle (6-4) at San Francisco (1-9), Sunday, 4:05 p.m.

Seattle is currently the seventh seed, one spot ahead of the Lions in the NFC playoff standings.

Any tiebreaker between non-division opponents for a Wild Card berth is first determined by head-to-head competition. The Lions and Seahawks don't play this year. Next is a better win-loss record against NFC opponents. The Lions are currently 5-4 against the NFC. Seattle is 4-3.

It's unlikely Pete Caroll lets his team look past San Francisco, but stranger things have happened.

New Orleans (8-2) at Los Angeles (7-3), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

This NFC matchup pits the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the NFC playoff race against one another.

The Rams are coming off a rough loss to Minnesota that has some wondering if they're a legit contender, or a beneficiary of a rather weak schedule to begin the year. Like Detroit, the Rams have only won one game this season against an opponent with a winning record.

After this tough test Sunday vs. New Orleans, the Rams have to play at Arizona (4-6), vs. Philadelphia (9-1), at Seattle (6-4), at Tennessee (6-4) and vs. San Francisco (1-9).

New Orleans' remaining schedule after this week is as follows: vs. Carolina (7-3), at Atlanta (6-4), vs. New York Jets (4-6), vs. Atlanta (6-4) at Tampa Bay (4-6).

Houston (4-6) at Baltimore (5-5), Monday, 8:30 p.m.

The Lions have a mini bye week having played on Thanksgiving. Their next game in Sunday, Dec. 3 in Baltimore. This is an opportunity for Lions players, coaches and fans to live scout their next opponent. This game being played on Monday night means Baltimore will be on a short week vs. Detroit.

The Ravens are currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture, so they have plenty riding on the line these next couple weeks.

The Ravens have the league's third best scoring defense (17.1 points per game allowed) and the sixth best defense in yards allowed.

Offensively, Baltimore is 31st in total offense (279.8) and 32nd in passing (165.2).

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content