Friday Five, Week 13

December football is here. That means we’re at the crucial point of the fantasy season, but also means teams are fighting tooth and nail for a playoff berth. There are two teams on a bye this week, but we have a fairly full and competitive Sunday slate. Below are the five games on the Sunday slate I’m most excited to see.

Sunday Early Games:

Washington Commanders (7-5) at New York Giants (7-4)
About
: Divisional battles are always exciting, especially when the stakes are this high. Each team in the NFC East has at least seven wins. If the playoffs started today, the Giants and Commanders would be in. But it’s far from a lock—for either team. Both have played above expectation but both features a tough stretch drive. And with the Commanders facing down a bye in Week 14, they can’t afford to give up any ground. The Giants, meanwhile, lost on Thanksgiving to the Cowboys and want to avoid two straight division losses, especially with two games against the Eagles yet to go.

Tennessee Titans (7-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
About
: Another battle featuring potential playoff contenders. The Eagles are the leagues’ only 10-win team, currently sitting as the top seed in the NFC. But the Minnesota Vikings are hot on their tail in the NFC, and the Dallas Cowboys are looming in the NFC East. So, the Eagles are motivated to keep winning. The Titans also need this game. While their place in the AFC South is nearly secure, the Titans have struggled against other playoff contenders. The Titans have lost to the Bills, Chiefs and last week to the Bengals. Tennessee needs to pick up some quality wins if they hope to compete for a title. A win in Philadelphia would go a long way toward that goal.

Sunday Late Games:

Miami Dolphins (8-3) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
About
: What a game. And that’s before you consider that Jeff Wilson will get to face the team that traded him a few weeks ago. These teams also have a lot on the line. The Dolphins are tied atop the AFC East, having won every game Tua Tagovailoa has started and finished. But there’s little margin for error with the Buffalo Bills playing strong and the Kansas City Chiefs sitting atop the AFC. The 49ers, meanwhile, are holding a lead in the NFC West, but don’t have much of a lead over the Seahawks. The 49ers are also chasing the Eagles and Vikings for a higher seed in the NFC. This is a battle between title contenders that has massive playoff ramifications.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
About:
Speaking of massive playoff implications, this one has that in spades. Last season it was the Bengals’ ability to win over Patrick Mahomes that pushed them to the Super Bowl. That started with a late-season win, then carried over into the playoffs. Joe Burrow and the Bengals are hoping for similar magic. The Chiefs are currently atop the AFC, while the Bengals are tied atop the AFC North. Both teams have competition in their division, and both have larger aspirations for the post-season. The winner here will take a step forward, while the loser will have more work yet to do.

Sunday Night Game:

Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
About:
On paper, this doesn’t seem like a great game. A few months ago it looked different. The Colts got a quick lift in Jeff Saturday’s first game, but back-to-back losses have pushed them seemingly out of the playoff hunt. But they can still play the role of spoiler. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are in prime position for a playoff push. Still, the Cowboys trail the Eagles by two games in the NFC East. If they want to capture the division and a home game, they need to keep winning. That begins with Sunday’s battle at home.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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