Titans need win and they’re in
Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tennessee are fighting for the AFC’s sixth seed. Tennessee is the only one that doesn’t need help from the other two. If the Titans (8-7) win at Houston, they’re in. They lost at home to the Texans two weeks ago, but Houston (10-5) might not have anything to play for. If the Chiefs beat the Chargers at noon, the Texans would be locked into the AFC’s No. 4 seed when they face the Titans at 3:25 p.m.
NFC East still up in the air
The Eagles (8-7) and Cowboys (7-8) both kick off at 3:25 p.m., so Philly has to assume it needs to win at the Giants (4-11) to clinch the NFC East. The Cowboys host Washington (3-12) needing a win and an Eagles loss. While Dallas has gone 1-4 in its past five games, the Eagles have swept its three NFC East rivals in the past three weeks.
Patriots eyeing bye ... AGAIN
To secure a bye in the playoffs for a 10th straight year, the Patriots (12-3) need to beat Miami (4-11) or have the Chiefs lose to the Chargers. The Patriots haven’t lost to Miami at home since 2008. They’ve won 11 straight AFC East titles and are gunning for their ninth straight AFC title game and fourth straight Super Bowl.
100 NFL SEASONS: A LOOK BACK AT 1961
Dec. 31, 1961: The Packers had won six NFL titles, but it wasn’t until this date that Green Bay, aka Titletown, hosted its first championship game. Paul Hornung, on leave from the U.S. Army, won MVP honors, scored 19 points (one touchdown, three field goals and four PATs) as the Packers beat the Giants 37-0 at “new” City Stadium, which would later be renamed Lambeau Field.
The Packers hadn’t won a title since 1944 and had lost to Philadelphia in the 1960 title game. But on New Year’s Eve 1961, a crowd of 39,029 sat in relatively warm 20-degree weather as the Packers won the first of five titles in seven seasons under coach Vince Lombardi.
In 1958, the Packers had a league-worst 1-10-1 record. Lombardi arrived in 1959, finishing 7-5 and winning the Western Conference with an 8-4 record in 1960. The Packers went 11-3 in 1961 and were 3½-point favorites over the 10-3-1 Giants in the title game that year.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
All the Eagles need to do to win the NFC East is beat the lowly Giants. But you don’t expect things to go that smoothly in the league’s bumpiest division, do you? The Giants, 4½-point underdogs at home, win a sloppy game. Pick: Giants 17, Eagles 12. Last week: Browns 31, Ravens 28. Result: Ravens 31, Browns 15. Record: 5-11.