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NFL Week 13 early game live thread

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Here’s the early slate prior to Rams-Cardinals.

Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

As we get ready for the Los Angeles Rams to take on the Arizona Cardinals later today, here’s now the NFC playoff standings look:

Week 13 playoff picture prior to Sunday kickoffs
Week 13 playoff picture prior to Sunday kickoffs
via ESPN

Things will obviously get a bit clearer today with tonight’s matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks deserving of a top billing. Here’s the early slate and how it stacks up for Rams fans:

Minnesota Vikings (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (7-4)

Regardless of how this one ends up, it’s likely to be a game we can point to at the end of the regular season as a major reason why the standings will end up the way they will in terms of playoff seeding.

Heck of a weekend for Atlanta sports a day after hosting the SEC Championship.

New England Patriots (9-2) at Buffalo Bills (6-5)

Not sure the Bills are all that intent on remaining serious about 2017 when you’re making a starting QB switch from QB Tyrod Taylor to rookie QB Nathan Peterman in a crucial Week 11 game only to have him throw five interceptions in the first half and then go back to Taylor...but I guess this is a game.

The Bills beat the reeling Kansas City Chiefs last week and would make a huge statement with a win today to push them up the ladder in the AFC playoff push, but (1) these are the Patriots and (2) these are the Bills.

San Francisco 49ers (1-10) at Chicago Bears (3-8)

Could either of these teams contend in 2018? I suppose that will largely come down to the play of their quarterbacks in 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo and Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky.

While it has little to do with the 2017 season, this one does have major draft order impacts.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)

I suppose Tampa is already on the outside of any serious playoff discussions, but should the Packers lose this they’ll join them as another team mailing it in for 2017.

Houston Texans (4-7) at Tennessee Titans (7-4)

With the Texans 1-4 on the road (and that lone win a Week 2 slim victory over the Cincinnati Bengals) and the Titans 4-1 at home, it’s hard to see this one ending up in favor of H-Town.

And while we’re focused on the NFC side of the standings, the AFC South is shaping up to offer a really interesting race between the Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars who are also 7-4 going into today.

Denver Broncos (3-8) at Miami Dolphins (4-7)

These feel like two very rudderless franchises at this point. Not sure anything coming out of today changes that, but the Broncos at least have a first-year head coach in Vance Joseph and a QB in Paxton Lynch that at least gives them some hope to change course in a major way moving forward. For Miami...I just dunno. Now on a five-game losing streak, reports are coming out that HC Adam Gase is losing his players while QB Ryan Tannehill mends a torn ACL.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) at New York Jets (4-7)

Dramaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. The Chiefs badly need this one after seeing their season collapse on the back of losing five of their last six games. But the Jets are hardly an easy out as perhaps the surprise of the season.

Indianapolis Colts (3-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4)

Jacksonville certainly can’t afford to let an opportunity like this go to waste.

Detroit Lions (6-5) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

Really good game, this. Both are in the thick of a wild card race, but the NFC currently has six teams with at least eight wins while the AFC has just two. So while the AFC setup suggests the Lions need this win more than the Ravens do, I wouldn’t count out either team from the playoff picture after today.