By TPR Staff

Every week I complain about how high up that week number is getting and I’ll be no different with it this week. We’re only a month away from having the 2012 NFL playoffs set and there are some vicious seeding battles ensuing. Some are fighting just to get in, while the big boys are fighting to play in their own friendly confines. With that in mind, here are my five picks of the week for games that can’t be missed.

Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers

How the 49ers, and namely Colin Kaepernick, respond to a gut-wrenching loss to the St. Louis Rams last week will tell us a lot about what this team is really made of. Coming home to play the young, but dangerous Miami Dolphins seems to be a reasonable remedy. Miami played the league’s best offense as well as anyone in the league has last week and it won’t be a walk in the park for Kaepernick. Still fighting for a first round bye, the Niners need this one to keep pace with the Packers.

Baltimore Ravens @ Washington Redskins

After two very different games last week, the Ravens come in licking their wounds after suffering their first loss at home in almost two full seasons. Whereas the Washington Redskins are flying high on a winning streak that saw them take out division leader New York last week. Robert Griffin III is proving as good as the hype and has to be licking his chops at the ailing Baltimore defense. The Ravens need to do whatever possible to get their offense back on track after three dismal games in a row. Just a suggestion, but actually giving Ray Rice the ball might help.

New Orleans Saints @ New York Giants

After the Falcons pretty much put out a bounty on the Saints playoff hopes last week, New Orleans now finds themselves two games behind the final wildcard leader in the NFC. So they have nothing to play for, right? If you know anything about Drew Brees, you know that he’s never going to mail in a performance, especially against another team on the playoff bubble. New York can look like the best team in the league one week and a cellar dweller the next. With Washington creeping up on them, they need to get back on the right track at home.

Dallas Cowboys @ Cincinnati Bengals

Probably flying under the radar more than any other team in the league, Cincinnati has won four straight and is sitting just right outside the AFC playoff bubble, losing in a tiebreaker with the Steelers. On the other side of them is a team fighting for their season in the Dallas Cowboys, who seem to find new ways to lose close games each week. Still, they’re only one game behind the Giants with one game against the Redskins left. A loss in Cincinnati could end their season, as they probably need to win out to get in.

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

In what is undoubtedly the game of the week, and maybe of the season, the Texans take their league best record on the road to face a Patriots team that is just as hot and sports the most explosive offense in the game. Houston’s defense has struggled a bit the past month and that surely has Tom Brady licking his chops. Whereas the Patriots defense has a hard time stopping anyone if they don’t turn the ball over. This one could be a shoot out and could be a preview to the AFC title game in January. For an in-depth preview, check that out here.




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