BY MATT DOYLE World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 09, 2012
12/09/12 at 6:05 AM
High stakes AFC showdown: Monday night could be the first of two very important meetings between Houston and New England over the next seven weeks. The 11-1 Texans can all but assure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win at the 9-3 Patriots. But a New England win could make the race for home-field advantage interesting since Houston still has two games remaining with 8-4 Indianapolis.
Upon further review: Remember Seattle's controversial 14-12 win over Green Bay on Sept. 24? Golden Tate's touchdown reception on the final play that appeared to be a Packers interception could significantly impact the NFC playoffs. At 7-5, Seattle is in the thick of the playoff race and can still catch San Francisco for the NFC West title. Green Bay is tied with Chicago for the NFC North lead at 8-4, but that Sept. 24 loss could bring playoff tiebreaker scenarios into play that would work against the Packers.
Will they win again?: Arizona and Philadelphia were 4-0 and 3-1, respectively, after the first month of the season. The ensuing months have not been kind at all to these two bird-nicknamed clubs. Neither one has won a game since Sept. 30. In fact, their respective markets' major league baseball teams, who finished their seasons Oct. 3, have won games more recently than their local NFL colleagues.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys WR: At long last, the former Oklahoma State standout is living up to the expectations placed on him when he entered the league in 2010. Bryant has become a focal point for QB Tony Romo and the Dallas offense the past four games. In that span, he has 29 catches for 475 yards and six touchdowns.