By Ray Hamill
There are four NFL games on Sunday with major playoff implications, not only in determining who might be playing in January, but just as importantly, where they might be playing.
In the AFC, the Patriots (7-2) will travel to play the Colts (6-3) in a game that could be instrumental in deciding who ultimately has gets the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage for the playoffs.
The Broncos (among others) still hope to have a say in that particular race, but there’s no denying the importance of this game nonetheless, and the winner will have the upper hand heading into the final quarter of the season.
Especially if it’s the Patriots, who made a statement by blasting the Broncos two weeks ago. A victory over the Colts will give the Patriots a head-to-head advantage over both their main conference rivals and all signs would point to the conference championship going through Foxborough.
A win for the Colts, on the other hand, would give Indy a huge upper hand, especially with such a soft division and relatively easy schedule the remainder of the way.
Also fighting for conference supremacy on Sunday, the Lions (7-2) will travel to play the Cardinals (8-1) in a matchup of the current top two seeds in the NFC.
Not only is this a potential NFC championship preview, but whoever comes out on top will likely host such a rematch if it should transpire.
Hot on their heels are the Eagles (7-2) and Packers (6-3), who meet at Lambeau Field in another showdown with big playoff implications.
The Eagles keep winning in spite of starting someone called Mark Sanchez at QB, and need to continue to do so with a surprising Cowboys team fighting them all the way in the East, while the Packers need the victory to keep pace with the Lions in the North.
Also on Sunday, the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks (6-3) travel to play the Chiefs (6-3), a pair of teams that currently occupy wild card spots in their respective conferences, and two teams that also need to win to keep pace with high-flying division leaders.
As for just how close and packed the playoff races are right now? A loss for the Chiefs could see them fall from fifth to ninth seed overnight.