The AFC West, NFC East, NFC South, and NFC West are all in action this afternoon, and some of these games are actually important.
The Saints are visiting the Falcons in a game that means nothing at all. The Falcons have already punched their ticket to the playoffs, but Sean Payton may be coaching his final game for the Saints, which should make Drew Brees unhappy.
The Raiders are visiting the Broncos in a game that matters more to Oakland (and to the Texans, for that matter). Coach Kubiak may be hanging up his Denny’s menu once and for all after today’s game, so expect the Broncos to play hard for him. But the Raiders want to go into the playoffs confident behind Matt McGloin and to disprove all the naysayers who think they’re doomed without Derek Carr. If Oakland wins this game, they win the AFC West and the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
The Chiefs are at the Chargers in the hopes of heaping yet more misery on San Diego fans. KC is already assured at least a wild card spot, but it’s always nice to go into the playoffs with a victory behind you. Plus, if the Raiders lose to the Broncos, the Chiefs can win the AFC West and the aforementioned first-round bye with a win over the Chiefs.
Basically, what we’re looking at is this: With the Dolphins’ loss to the Patriots, the Texans will host whichever team finishes second in the AFC West.
The Rams are hosting the Cardinals in what should be a defensive masterpiece. Neither of these teams are doing anything next week except cleaning out lockers and firing people, so this game should be horrible to watch.
The Seahawks are visiting the 49ers in what might be Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke’s final game with the franchise. Perhaps the 49ers can salvage some pride and win a third game this season, but I wouldn’t bet money or anything of value on that.
Finally, the game that will have everyone talking is going to take place when the Giants visit Washington. This game matters to Giants fans, Packers fans, Lions fans, and Seahawks fans. The game also matters to Kirk Cousins as he plays for a new deal.
There you have it. These are your late afternoon games. Discuss them, at length, below.