Here is your viewing schedule for tomorrow. With the Jets on at 4:15, there's plenty of reasons to be excited early. The Jets could control their own destiny by the time they take the field if three of the early games go the right way.
The hardest part of the playoff picture has always been the Jets winning out, and that remains the case. But with the showdown with the 14-0 Colts having a late kickoff, there's three more hours for Jets fans to dream of more January football.
Houston at Miami
Root for: HOUSTON
Why? The Texans, Jets, and Dolphins all sit at 7-7, but the Jets beat Houston and got swept by Miami, so it's vital that the Dolphins lose in the next two games. If the Jets win out, Houston is irrelevant as far as they are concerned. Miami has Pittsburgh at home next week, so it's feasible they lose next week if they win this week.
Vegas says: Miami by 3
I say: A lot of people seem to like Houston this week, and on paper, it makes sense. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson lead a fearsome passing attack against a Dolphins' secondary that can be picked apart. However, the Dolphins have the edge in the trenches on both sides, and the Texans have a tendency to be soft.
Miami 27, Houston 24
Jacksonville at New England
Root for: NEW ENGLAND
Why? As much as it stinks to root for the Patriots, Jacksonville is 7-7 and has the tiebreaker on the Jets. New England means nothing to New York in terms of the standings, and Jacksonville needs to lose to either the Patriots or Browns on the road for the Jets to pass them, so this is a huge game because Eric Mangini can only help the Jets so much.
Vegas says: New England by 10
I say: Jacksonville is bad on the road. New England is good at home. Jacksonville has no pass defense. New England has Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker. Jacksonville has all the motivation to try to keep it close and win, but the Patriots should be too much for the Jaguars.
New England 28, Jacksonville 21
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Root for: PITTSBURGH
Why? Simple. Baltimore and Denver lead the two Wild Card spots at 8-6. Pittsburgh can knock the Ravens into a tie with the Jets if they win. Gang Green has the tiebreaker over both squads.
Vegas says: Pittsburgh by 2.5
I say: This is a tough one to figure out. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are used to smash mouth football, and fans would see one of the most physical games of the year. The hate is still there, but the defenses are not, as both secondaries have been vulnerable. Pittsburgh's defense has a lot to prove, but they're at home, and they have the better offensive weapons, so look for the Steelers to win a tight one.
Pittsburgh 27, Baltimore 24
Kansas City at Cincinnati
Root for: KANSAS CITY
Why? The Bengals looked like a lock just a few weeks ago, and if they win this game, they're in. But if they lose and the Ravens win, they're just another playoff contender, and a Bengals loss could make next week's Jets-Bengals game an opportunity for the Jets to directly leapfrog the Bengals in the standings.
Vegas says: Cincinnati by 13
I say: The Bengals are clearly the better team, and they should be able to run all over the Chiefs. However, the Bengals' mental state is a question mark right now after the unfortunate death of Chris Henry, and they've already had a letdown against the Raiders earlier this season. Cincinnati should win, but the Chiefs could make it closer than Bengals fans will want to see.
Cincinnati 27, Kansas City 20
4:15 game (besides the Jets, of course)
Denver at Philadelphia
Root for: PHILADELPHIA
Why? Denver is in the AFC, Philly is in the NFC. The Broncos lead one AFC wild card spot, and if they lose, the Jets would tie them in the standings and beat them in the tiebreaker. They play the Chiefs at home next week, so this may be the Broncos' one chance to lose.
Vegas says: Philadelphia by 7.5
I say: The Eagles get back Brian Westbrook this week, but this game is more about Denver than anything else. Brian Dawkins makes his return to Philadelphia in a huge game. Will the Broncos finally stand up and make a statement that they won't choke down the stretch? Or will they yet again falter, and continue their late season free fall, as they have been so prone to do? I think they give a game effort, but they simply aren't as good as the Eagles, so Philly pulls it out.
Philadelphia 20, Denver 13