Yep, it’s that time of year — time to talk playoff possibilities for Week 13.
Already, three teams can clinch a playoff berth this weekend — San Francisco, New England and New Orleans.
The NFC West, of course, remains a tight chase, with the Seahawks just one game back of the 49ers with five games remaining. But San Francisco can earn at least a wild-card spot with a victory at Baltimore on Sunday and a loss (or tie) by the Los Angeles Rams in Arizona.
The Saints just need a victory over Atlanta on Thursday night to clinch the NFC South.
There are five scenarios, as detailed by the NFL in the news release sent out Tuesday, for the Patriots to clinch a playoff spot — the two simple scenarious being a New England win coupled with a loss (or tie) by either Oakland or Pittsburgh.
There will surely be more playoff scenarios in the week’s to come, for the Seahawks and everyone else, with the basic goal the same for everyone: Just win.
All right, onto this week’s Times’ Ten:
1. Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
The Ravens hold down the top spot here for a third week in a row after Monday night’s destruction of the Rams in Los Angeles. “We got our faces peeled off,” Rams safety Eric Weddle said.
2. San Francisco 49ers (10-1)
Niners jump two spots after a thoroughly impressive rout of Green Bay. It’s must-see TV this Sunday when the 49ers to go Baltimore (10 a.m., FOX).
3. New England Patriots (10-1)
Just how good is the Patriots’ defense? In a 13-9 victory over the Cowboys, New England held one of the league’s top offenses out of the end zone and limited Dak Prescott to 212 yards passing and a 64.2 passer rating, both season lows.
4. Seattle Seahawks (9-2)
Seahawks are 6-0 on the road after the victory in Philly, and here comes a rested Minnesota team for a pivotal Monday night matchup.
5. New Orleans Saints (9-2)
Michael Thomas has 104 receptions through 11 games, the fastest player in NFL history to reach 100 catches.
6. Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
Kirk Cousins has insisted star receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) will return on Monday night, which would be a good challenge for the Seahawks’ revamped secondary.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
KC’s Achilles’ heel? How about a rushing defense that ranks 30th in the league at 143.1 yards per game. Can the Chiefs slow down Raiders rookie standout Josh Jacobs?
8. Houston Texans (7-4)
The Texans have the upper hand in the AFC South after a crucial victory over the Colts.
9. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
Aaron Rodgers looked like he would have rather been back at Butte College on Sunday night. He had maybe the worst game of his career, held to 104 yards and sacked five times by the 49ers.
10. Buffalo Bills (8-3)
It’s fair to still be skeptical of the Bills overall, but that defense is legit, ranking third in the league in points allowed (15.7) and yards allowed (288.6).