GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 28, 2012

Crunch Time


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — WHO’S TRYING NOW?

The scenario, as it stands in the AFC, provides a double whammy for your New England Patriots.

The Pats, still alive for the bye and even the top seed in the AFC, have to play hard and go after the Miami Dolphins Sunday (4:20 p.m.) at Gillette Stadium.

Chances are, though, the effort will be for naught, and they’ll have to turn right back around and host an AFC Wild Card game just six or seven days later.

What makes this most likely?

Wins by Denver, at home against the 2-13 Chiefs and Houston, which is at Indy, lock the Pats into the No. 3 or 4 seed.

How tough a game do you think the Chiefs are about to put up, having to travel over the holidays? And if Indy even plays Andrew Luck and the starters this week, aren’t the Colts opening themselves up to gigantic criticism.

Headed to the playoffs, they’re going to allow J.J. Watt — in his bid for the sack record — tee off on Luck? Sorry, that’s not happening.

Honestly, it would take guts to do it, but if I was Bill Belichick I would seriously consider sitting all the regulars I possibly could.

THE REAL FUN

The best of the best comes from the NFC this weekend, where playoff positions are absolutely up for grabs.

Sunday night’s collision between Dallas and Washington will be for the NFC East title, a factor that makes it a huge take.

No freebies for Adrian Peterson, as he chases Eric Dickerson’s rushing record, and his Vikings, whose best scenario of making the playoffs is via the win. At 4:25, Minnesota hosts Green Bay with the Packers needing a win to lock down a bye.

Arizona and St. Louis have “spoiler” on their mind as they travel to San Francisco and Seattle, respectively, with the NFC West still up for grabs.

The world champion Giants still cling to their playoff life. But the G-Men must win at home against Philly, then hope for Minnesota, Chicago and Dallas all to tumble.

It could happen, right?

— Compiled by

Hector Longo