Not only do NFL fans get three night games to savor during wild-card weekend, but they also can revel in the rivalries.
AFC East foes New England and Buffalo, who split victories on the road during the season.
What the NFL covets for the regular-season finale is a pivotal game, a win-or-else matchup.
The league got it with the Raiders hosting the Chargers. Barring a tie — oh, please, not one of those — either Las Vegas or Los Angeles will be heading to the playoffs.
Playoff scenarios will dominate Week 17, which used to be the finale for the regular season. Now, with a 17th game added to the schedule, there are postseason implications nearly everywhere.
Among the most intriguing matchups involving two clubs not into the Super Bowl parade but on the fringes will take place in Indianapolis on the only Sunday with 15 NFL matches all year.
A mulligan is a golf term, of course. Pro Picks would like to apply it to the NFL.
We'd like the opportunity for a do-over on any of the choices this week — made before any games have been played — that get messed up because of more pandemic-related issues.
With COVID-19 outbreaks for a variety of NFL teams, figuring out who will be on the field is as difficult as predicting who will win games.
Those issues begin with Thursday night's prime-time and big-time matchup in the AFC West between the Chiefs (9-4) and Chargers (8-5).
There's a mystery show on TV in prime time Thursday night: Pittsburgh versus Minnesota.
There's no way to figure out these two teams. The Vikings (5-7) go from on the rise in a victory over NFC power Green Bay to heading into the abyss after a loss to previously winless Detroit.
Yes, it's been a strange year on the field, with visiting teams 90-87-1, not counting two neutral-site games in London. And this week's betting lines are further proof home field isn't necessarily an advantage.
It's difficult enough choosing winners and point-spread coverers and upsets when there is one Thursday night game each NFL week.
As for three, well, c'mon. Short breaks between games is ridiculously tough when there is only that one contest.
Even the most die-hard Atlanta fans might avoid watching Thursday night's matchup with New England. They all know that Fox will be hitting hard on that February 2017 night in Houston when the Falcons went brain dead and allowed the Patriots to steal a Super Bowl.
The Baltimore Ravens do nothing easily.
Yes, they have the AFC's best record among teams that have had their bye (6-2; Tennessee is 7-2). Their excitement quotient is off the charts, and their special teams are, well, very special.
Not all is lost for the Indianapolis Colts.
Sure, they are three games behind Tennessee in the AFC South. And yes, the Titans swept Indy this season to hold a massive tiebreaker.
Consider this, however: Derrick Henry, the Titans' outstanding running back and the best offensive player in the division, is sidelined possibly for the remainder of the season.
That's the sound of gritting teeth throughout the NFL as what should be one of the best prime-time matchups of the season loses some of its luster.
Green Bay's star receiver Davante Adams and fellow wideout Allen Lazard tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
For those who oppose Thursday night NFL games, be it players, coaches, fans or bettors, this week is a perfect example of why.
It's difficult enough to prepare for a Sunday game when you have key injuries, particularly at quarterback.
Tom Brady has a boo-boo. Well, a bit more than that: Brady’s right hand — the one he throws with — was wrapped up earlier this week after he injured it while demolishing Miami’s defense on Sunday.
One week after a monumental performance by Pro Picks, it was more like Prodigious Misses, with bad choices across the board. At least we've survived in knockout pools and, somehow, have hit on every upset special to win outright.
Time to retire. Put away the crystal ball and enjoy the spoils.
After going 14-2 against the spread last week, Pro Picks is in rare form.
We'll defy the odds and keep going, starting with Jacksonville, No.
In an effort to get every team a Thursday game, NFL schedule makers often take some of the likely tail-enders and stick them in early season games.
Sort of a “let's get them out of the way before they've lost a lot” philosophy.
Opening week of the NFL season often includes upsets (Steelers, Dolphins), over-the-top achievements (Raiders, Eagles) and underwhelming performances (Packers, Titans). Finding the correct ones is a major challenge for prognosticators.
Hey, he's back!
No, not Tom Brady, who's only 44 and as healthy as any NFL quarterback. Dak Prescott will be behind center for Dallas, returning from a gruesome ankle injury that derailed the 2020 season for the Cowboys.
Here's the dilemma prognosticators face for Sunday's Super Bowl:
Aaron, meet Aaron. And Aaron.
Aaron Donald, the unanimous All-Pro defensive tackle who owns a couple of Defensive Player of the Year awards, certainly hopes to meet fellow All-Pro Aaron Rodgers on Saturday — in the Packers' backfield...
Let's see: Tom Brady and his six Super Bowl rings versus a 7-9 division winner. Need we say more?...
With the NFL opting not to play a Thursday game on Christmas Eve, it moved the prime-time showcase to late afternoon Friday and sent Minnesota down to New Orleans...
After the worst week for Pro Picks all season — we looked like the Saints, as in unprepared — our confidence isn't shaken...
There is a word that has become taboo in NFL circles in the Pacific Northwest and in the Valley of the Sun...
What a brilliant idea: The defending NFC champion 49ers hosting the team they vanquished in January to get to the Super Bowl, the Packers.
There is losing, and there is LOSING.
The Atlanta Falcons have mastered the capitalized version...
It's so fitting to call the NFC East the NFC Least this season. Just adding an L to the division makes sense: Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia and the New York Giants have been collecting losses...