Yahoo Sports NFL senior writers Charles Robinson, Kimberley A. Martin and Terez Paylor select games this week that will leave us buzzing heading into Monday.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
For the second straight week, it’s a playoff game of sorts for the Cowboys, who can lock up the NFC East title with a win over the Eagles on Sunday. Conversely, Philadelphia controls its playoff path, with the ability to clinch the postseason with wins this week and in the regular-season finale versus the New York Giants.
There’s also the added injury intrigue in this one, with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott nursing a shoulder issue and essentially the entire starting wide receiver core for the Eagles having been wiped out.
This feels like a game where two players could be the difference for their respective teams: Ezekiel Elliott for Dallas and Carson Wentz for Philadelphia. Both signed massive contract extensions this offseason. A game like this is where they can really earn it.
Cowboys at Eagles
The NFC East is a dumpster fire, and it is what it is. Someone has to win it, and whoever does will earn a playoff berth and a home playoff game. That means a lot of pressure on both coaches, particularly the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett, to please their respective owners.
After winning its last two games, Philly is trending upward at the right time, and so is quarterback Carson Wentz. The Cowboys are more talented, however, which explains why they're favored by Vegas despite being the road team. If Dallas commits to the run game, the strength of the offense, and uses the pass as a complement, they should win.
It sounds simple, but it hasn't been a given this year. If they emphasize the pass, the Eagles may surprise. Regardless, expect the best offensive play-calling both teams have to offer; it's do or die.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Your team didn’t beat Dallas on Thanksgiving and the Steelers on “Sunday Night Football”? Bills fans can’t relate.
Buffalo is playoff-bound for the second time in three years under head coach Sean McDermott. It’s an impressive feat considering the team has earned a spot in the postseason only twice in the past 20 years.
Buffalo was the only team that played the Patriots tough earlier this season — back when Brady seemed like his old self, his offense appeared to be clicking and New England’s defense was unstoppable. But the Patriots have looked like a shell of their former championship selves over the second half of the season, and their recent struggles make Saturday’s showdown all the more interesting.
The upstart Bills have already clinched a playoff berth and are 6-1 on the road. More impressive: Quarterback Josh Allen has an 8:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the fourth quarter.
Buffalo’s history against New England isn’t pretty. Tom Brady is 31-3 against the Bills and the Patriots have won 34 of the past 39 meetings dating back to 2000. So far, McDermott is 0-5 with the Bills against New England.
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