San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tavon Wilson,
San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tavon Wilson, left, and defensive back Emmanuel Moseley, right, defend a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Daniels during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

HOW TO WATCH NFL WEEK 14

Mike Shara

Sort of a middling weekend of football in Week 13, no? I mean, the Bills/Patriots Monday night game was close right up to the end, but it wasn’t exactly chock full of breathtaking plays. Belichick’s defensive schemes have once again apparently broken offensive football as we knew it. The Steelers let the Ravens outsmart themselves at the end of the game and saved their playoff hopes in the progress as rumors of Ben Roethlisberger’s imminent retirement began to leak out like they should have about five years ago. Week 13 also showed that being a consistent, playoff-ready team is still a bridge too far for the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders. Somehow the Chiefs’ defense has become the new version of the Vikings’ Purple People Eaters while their offense has completely disappeared (who saw that coming??). The best thing about last weekend’s football was that we got to see Head Coach Dan Campbell and his hard luck Detroit Lions get their first win of the season. The fact that it came at the expense of Kirk Cousins only made it that much more pleasurable.

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This coming week certainly has games that could prove exciting. After costing themselves a key divisional game on Sunday, the Ravens will have to travel to Cleveland for another key division spat against a desperate Browns team that didn’t self-destruct last weekend because they were on a bye week. Buffalo, having been flogged yet again by their arch-nemesis Bill Belichick, get to go on the road to Tampa to face Tom Brady, the other half of the two-headed monster that has crushed their hopes of a division title for the last 20 years. Six weeks ago Buffalo was being talked about as a Super Bowl contender. Now, they are in serious danger of missing the playoffs entirely.

The 49ers and Bengals both choked away chances to solidify playoff position on Sunday and now will have to face each other in Cincy in a must-win game for both teams. Dallas will visit D.C. in a key game to determine who will win the NFC East – a prospect that would have seemed laughable a month ago, and Monday Night Football will again feature the game of the week as the Cardinals host a Rams team desperate to prove it can be a genuine threat on both sides of the ball in the same game. For the morbidly masochistic fan niche out there, you could choose to ‘enjoy’ the Jets/Saints game…or savor a classic Seahawks/Texans matchup. 

All games below are listed at Eastern Standard Time. Check your local listings to see which games are being broadcasted in your area. (This week Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Miami and New England are on bye weeks, by the way – see what I did there?)

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9

AWAYHOMENETWORKTIME
PittsburghMinnesota (-3.5 on BetMGM)8:20 pmNFL/FOX

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12

AWAYHOMENETWORKTIME
BaltimoreCleveland (-2.5 on FanDuel)1 pmCBS
JacksonvilleTennessee (-9.5 on DraftKings)1 pmCBS
Las VegasKansas City (-9.5 on BetMGM)1 pmCBS
DallasWashington (+4 on FanDuel)1 pmFOX
New OrleansNYJets (+4.5 on DraftKings)1 pmCBS
AtlantaCarolina (-3 on BetMGM)1 pmFOX
SeattleHouston (+7.5 on DraftKings)1 pmFOX
DetroitDenver (-7.5 on BetMGM)4:05 pmFOX
NY GiantsLA Chargers (-10.5 on FanDuel)4:05 pmFOX
San FranciscoCincinnati (-1 on DraftKings)4:25 pmCBS
BuffaloTampa Bay (-3 on BetMGM)4:25 pmCBS
ChicagoGreen Bay (-12.5 on FanDuel)8:20 pmNBC

MONDAY, DECEMBER 13

AWAYHOMETIMENETWORK
LA RamsArizona (-3 on DraftKings)8:15 pmESPN

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