By Ray Hamill
The turkey wasn’t the only thing to put me asleep on Thanksgiving. The football played its part.
So here’s hoping Sunday’s contests are a little more exciting, especially the two standout fixtures of the day, Denver at Kansas City and New England at Green Bay.
Perhaps too often we hear of potential Super Bowl previews during a regular season that always seems to offer more surprises than not, but the Patriots/Packers game is a definite possibility for that category.
The Patriots (9-2) are not just the best team in football but the hottest, having won seven straight since that Monday-night embarrassment at K.C., with Tom Brady displaying hall-of-fame precision in orchestrating an offense of essential no-names.
The Packers (8-3) are the second hottest team in the league, having won three straight and six of their past seven, and have taken advantage of the Lions’ recent tough schedule to surge into the division lead and the No. 3 seed in the conference.
And similar to the Patriots, the Packers have relied heavily (entirely?) on their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who has 30 touchdowns to just three picks and a league-high QB rating of 119.3.
The Sunday night contest, meanwhile, is a key AFC West showdown, with far more than just division implications on the line when the Chiefs (7-4) host the Broncos (8-3).
The Broncos won 24-17 when the two met back in September, but the Chiefs have rattled off seven wins in nine games since then, while the Broncos have shown some frailties recently, dropping two of their past four.
The game will go a long way toward deciding the AFC West and that could be crucial for both in a deep and talented AFC playoff contending field.
The division winner could very well get a top-two seed and a first-round bye in January, while the runner-up may not even qualify.
How deep is the AFC this season? Seven of the top nine contenders have seven wins each, and if the Chiefs lose on Sunday, they could drop from fifth to 10th seed in one day.