ADVERTISEMENT

One third of the field is in but there’s no sure way to project how the rest of the 12 National Football League playoff teams will turn out.

New England, Denver and Houston in the AFC and Atlanta in the NFC clinched playoff berths last week. Mathematically, at least, 25 other teams are alive for the postseason. San Francisco and Baltimore can join the club this week if they win and get some outside help.

The 49ers will be home against the Miami Dolphins while the Ravens will travel a few miles from Baltimore to Landover, Md., to face the Washington Redskins and their rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin has completed 73 percent of his passes with nine TDs and one interception in his last three games, all wins by the surging Redskins.

A look at the Week 14 games:

Game of the week

Texans (11-1) at Patriots (9-3)

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Patriots (-3½)

The scoop: It’s a very possible preview of AFC Championship Game. How will Tom Brady perform against pass rush of the Texans, led by J.J. Watt (15½ sacks)? … Can Texans cover slot man Wes Welker, who leads league with 92 receptions, and the Pats tight ends, too.? … Texans are already in the playoffs. They can clinch the AFC South with a win and an Indianapolis loss and can clinch a first-round bye or home field throughout the AFC playoffs with a win and help. … Patriots’ defense improving against the run, but will be tested by Texans’ Arian Foster, who has run for 1,102 yards.

Outlook: Houston has passed almost every test so far, but Brady and the Pats on Monday night in Foxborough may be too much to ask. Patriots, 33-27.

Top attactions

Saints (5-7) at Giants (7-5)

TV: Ch. 29, 4:25 p.m.

The line: Giants (-5)

The scoop: After perhaps the worst game of his career in last week’s loss to Atlanta (3 INTs, no TDs), Drew Brees comes up against a team he has thrived against. Brees is 4-0 against New York with 11 TDs and no INTs in his career. … Around New York the fear is that Big Blue will blow divisional title and have Cowboys or Redskins sneak in. New York has games at Atlanta and Baltimore after this one. … Saints trailing Seahawks, Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings and Buccaneers in race for No. 2 NFC wild card.

Outlook: Giants have won major tests against 49ers and Packers, but also lost at home to Steelers. Brees has New York’s number. Saints, 38-31.

Cowboys (6-6) at Bengals (7-5)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Bengals (-3)

The scoop: Battle of teams clinging to playoff dreams. Cowboys are only a game behind Giants in NFC East and Bengals trying to overtake Ravens in AFC North or get wild-card spot. … Bengals looking for sixth win in a row while Cowboys have won three of last four but two were over lowly Eagles and an OT squeaker against Browns.

Outlook: Cowboys have given up 91 points in last three games, all at home in Jerry’s House. Bengals, 35-28.

Bears (8-4) at Vikings (6-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Bears (-3)

The scoop: Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who once played cornerback for Bears, is 0-4 as head coach against Chicago. The Bears have won last six against NFC North rivals. … Chicago QB Jay Cutler is 5-0 versus Minnesota with 13 TDs and 5 INTs. … Vikings lost to Packers last week despite 210-yard rushing performance by Adrian Peterson. Bears will try to contain him today without MLB Brian Urlacher (hamstring).

Outlook: Bears beginning to break down physically like they did in ’11. Peterson leads Vikes to 24-21 victory.

Ravens (9-3) at Redskins (6-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Redskins (-2½)

The scoop: Ravens can clinch the AFC North if they win and Pittsburgh and Cincinnati both lose. They also can wrap up a playoff spot with a win or a loss by either the Steelers or Bengals. Baltimore has tough home games left against Denver and Giants before closing season at Cincinnati. … Mike Shanahan should be a favorite along with Pete Carroll for Coach of Year for getting Washington into playoff contention with Griffin III running the show from the pistol formation. Jim Haslett’s defense is No. 4 against the run.

Outlook: Ravens may be AFC’s most overrated team. Redskins, 20-16.

Dolphins (5-7) at 49ers (8-3-1)

TV: Ch. 4, 4 p.m.

The line: 49ers (-10½)

The scoop: A San Francisco win and lots of other contingencies could clinch a playoff spot for the Niners. Miami has won last two against SF, but last visit to Candlestick was in 2004, a 24-17 win. … Opponents have had good look at 49ers wonder boy QB Colin Kaepernick now. It will be interesting to see what Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle comes up with to counter him. … Dolphins are eighth in league in rushing defense while Niners are second in rushing offense.

Outlook: Fish are naive enough to think they are a playoff team. Niners have to work hard for 20-13 win.

Best of the rest

Rams (5-6-1) at Bills (5-7)

Kickoff: 1 p.m., Ch. 29

The line: Bills (-3)

The scoop: Rams coach Jeff Fisher was 6-2 (including postseason) against Buffalo as coach of the Oilers/Titans. … St. Louis has strong pass rush and a power runner in Steven Jackson. That’s a bad fit for the Bills, who will be without two starting offensive linemen and have been gashed by opposing runners until recent games. Jackson has been the most productive back in the NFL over the last seven seasons.

Outlook: Pass rush and Jackson spell bad news for Bills.. Rams, 31-21.

Chargers (4-8) at Steelers (7-5)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Steelers (-8)

The scoop: Embattled Chargers coach Norv Turner is 0-6 against Steelers in his career, including two losses as Redskins coach and one with Raiders. … Ben Roethlisberger coming off injury to start at QB for Pittsburgh, which is trying to overtake Baltimore in NFC North race. … Chargers’ four wins are over Chiefs (twice), Raider and Browns, teams with a combined 9-27 record.

Outlook: No December magic from Norv this year. Steelers, 28-14.

Cardinals (4-8) at Seahawks (7-5)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Seahawks (-10)

The scoop: Cardinals defeated S-Hawks, 20-16, on road to open season then won next three. They haven’t reached 20-point mark in eight straight losses since. … Seattle stands fourth in league in total defense and has held seven of 12 opponents under 20 points, including Bears in 23-17 road win in OT last week.

Outlook: You can’t win if you can’t score. Seahawks, 17-6.

Lions (4-8) at Packers (8-4)

TV: Ch. 2, 8:20 p.m.

The line: Packers (-6½)

The scoop: Green Bay has won 21 of last 24 against Detroit. That’s Patriots-over-Bills style domination. However, last two meetings were only four-point wins for Pack. … Packers and Bears are tied for NFC North lead. So, this could be pivotal weekend in division with both facing divisional opponents. … Green Bay lost RB James Starks (knee) just when he seemed to be healthy again after turf toe problem. … Lions lead NFC with 416.1 yards per game, but just can’t win because of leaky defense.

Outlook: Can’t see Lions winning at Lambeau even if they take the lead into fourth quarter. Packers, 41-28.

Falcons (11-1) at Panthers (3-9)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Falcons (-3½)

The scoop: Already assured of NFC South title, Atlanta can wrap up a first round bye with a win and help from the Vikings and Lions. They also can clinch the top seed in NFC with a win and help. … Falcons needed late field goal to edge Panthers, 30-28, in Atlanta on Sept. 30.

Outlook: Panthers, who were looking for improvement over 6-10 season in '11, have gone south instead. Falcons, 26-13.

Titans (4-8) at Colts (8-4)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Colts (-5½)

The scoop: Indy has dominated recent rivalry in AFC South, winning 15 of last 19, including last four at home. One of only two wins by Colts last season was over Tennessee at The Luke. Colts are 5-1 at home this season, where Luck has been especially impressive. … Jake Locker of Titans passed for 309 yards against Houston last week but Titans managed only 10 points in loss thanks to six turnovers.

Outlook: All the world is waiting for that Jets-at-Titans Monday nighter on Dec. 17. Colts move closer to playoff berth, 27-20.

Eagles (3-9) at Buccaneers (6-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Buccaneers (-7½)

The scoop: Who will Andy Reid make the scapegoat this week? Eagles coach has canned two assistants and released DE Jason Babin after recent losses, of which there have been eight in a row. … Tampa Bay almost has to win out to have playoff chance. … Buffalo’s Mike Williams having superb season for Bucs. He had six catches for 93 yards and a TD last week and has 43 catches for 16.7-yard average and six TDs this year.

Outlook: Bucs have too much on the line to lose this one at home against Eagles and rookie QB Nick Foles. Bucs, 34-24.

Chiefs (2-10) at Browns (4-8)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Browns (-7)

The scoop: Coach Romeo Crennel, QB Brady Quinn and RB Peyton Hills return to Cleveland to face their old team. Quinn had best game of career last week (19 of 23, 132.1 passer rating) in emotional win over Carolina. Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden had career-best 364 passing yards in win at Oakland. … K.C. is 1-4 on road with win at New Orleans. They also played Steelers to three-point game in Pittsburgh. Browns trying to win third in a row.

Outlook: Browns aren’t 7 points better, even at home. Cleveland, 17-13.

Dog of the day

Jets (5-7) at Jaguars (2-10)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Jets (-3)

The scoop: It will be Mark Sanchez starting at QB again for Jets despite Greg McElroy coming in to lead 7-6 win over Cardinals last week. That was one of two rare 7-6 games in NFL this season. Chargers’ loss at Cleveland was the other.

Outlook: Even Gang Green soap opera can’t make this one interesting. Without MetLife fans booing, Mark Sanchez has a decent game. Jets, 20-9.

Last week’s results: 9-6 outright, 6-9 versus spread. Season’s record: 107-69-1 outright, 82-91-5 versus spread.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com