Up in the air: So many teams still in thick of playoff chase

12/07/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak

With just a quarter of the season remaining, there is still a lot to be decided in the NFL Division races and the battle for playoff spots highlight Week 13 in the NFL.
Buffalo at Denver
At 7 and 5, the Bills sit two games behind New England in the AFC East and have the same record as Miami. But the Dolphins have a better conference mark, which makes this almost a must win game if the Bills are going to make the playoffs. It won't be easy on the road against the Broncos, who are a perfect 6 and 0 at home. Denver holds a one game lead over San Diego in the AFC West. This game will pit two of the NFL's top defenses against each other. Denver ranks 2nd against the rush and 10th against the pass, while Buffalo ranks 5th against the pass and 7th against the rush. The Broncos may be without tight end Julius Thomas for the third week in a row as he's still suffering from an ankle injury. Buffalo has won the past two games played between these teams, with the last meeting coming in 2011. The Bills also won the last game played in Denver back in 2008.

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Kansas City at Arizona
These two teams come in still in the thick of their respective division battles. They also both come in having lost their past two games. At 7 and 5, the Chiefs are two games behind Denver in the AFC West. The Cardinals, at 9 and 3, remain one game ahead of Seattle in the NFC West. Arizona is giving up 89.3 yards per game rushing, which is 6th best in the NFL. Kansas City ranks 7th in rushing yards per game, averaging 129.1. The Chiefs also have the NFL's top passing defense and they'll be facing the Cardinals Drew Stanton, who has thrown 5 interceptions in those past two losses. Arizona is hoping the return of WR Larry Fitzgerald will help in the passing department. Fitzgerald missed the last two games due to a knee injury. Kansas City is 3 and 3 on the road while Arizona has won all 6 of their home games this season. Kansas City has won the past 3 matchups between these teams, including the last meeting in 2010.
Seattle at Philadelphia
These teams come in on a roll, as the Eagles have won 4 of their past 5 games while the Seahawks have won 5 of their past 6. At 9 and 3, Philadelphia has a 1/2 game lead over Dallas in the NFC East. At 8 and 4, Seattle has gotten back to within one game of Arizona in the NFC West. The Seahawks have given up just 2 field goals in their past two wins over division rivals Arizona and San Francisco. The Eagles are averaging 31.3 points per game and rank 5th in the NFL in passing and 6th in rushing offense. The Seahawks defense ranks 3rd against the pass and 5th against the rush. The Seahawks boast the NFL's top rushing defense, and will face a Philadelphia defense that gives up an average of 107 yards per game on the ground. These teams last met in 2011, a game that was won by Seattle.
New England at San Diego
The 9 and 3 Patriots hold a two game lead over Miami and Buffalo in the AFC East. The 8 and 4 Chargers remain a game behind Denver in the AFC West. New England is coming in off of their first loss in 7 weeks after falling to Green Bay last week. The Chargers come in on a 3 game winning streak. That came after a 3 game losing streak, which followed a 5 game winning streak. San Diego has won 5 of their 6 home games this season, while New England has gone 3 and 3 on the road. New England has won the past two meeting between these teams in 2011, and in the last game played in San Diego in 2010.

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