Senior NFL Columnist

Ten things that intrigue me from NFL Week 16

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy vs. the Bears defense: Chicago has struggled in a big way in run defense, ranking last in the league. McCoy leads the NFL in rushing. He is averaging 5 yards per carry. You can bet if the game matters -- and it might not depending on what happens earlier in the Dallas game -- he will get a lot of carries.

Cardinals WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd vs. Seahawks CBs Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell: Sherman is arguably the best man-to-man corner in the league, while Maxwell has done a nice job stepping in for Brandon Browner. But Fitzgerald -- who is coming off a concussion last week and has to be watched -- and Floyd are both big, tall receivers who can be a problem in man coverage.

How do the Broncos bounce back? They were handled easily at home by the Chargers the last time out, and they've had a long time to let it marinate. So how does this supposed power team bounce back on the road against an inferior Houston team?

Saints rookie LT Terron Armstead vs. Panthers DE Greg Hardy: The Saints made the decision to bench Charles Brown, who was abused last week by Robert Quinn, and go to Armstead, a rookie with no starts. That's pretty risky in a game at Carolina that means so much. Hardy is a top-level pass rusher who will make it tough on the rookie.

Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. the Ravens defense: The Patriots lost last week at Miami and now must travel to face a tough Baltimore defense in a huge game for both teams. These are the types of games that usually bring out the best in Brady, but the Ravens have had some success against him. How do the Ravens handle the short week?

Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Chiefs pass rushers: The Colts have struggled to protect Luck this season and now he has to go to Kansas City to face a Chiefs team that can get after the quarterback. How does Luck handle it? Can the Indianapolis line play better?

Can the Dolphins keep it rolling? They have won three consecutive games and Ryan Tannehill is playing well, but going to Buffalo is always tough. The Bills will start backup Thad Lewis at quarterback, and he beat Miami earlier this season. The Dolphins need two victories and they are in the playoffs.

How is the Cowboys' confidence after their debacle last week? How do you recover after blowing the lead they did to the Packers? Here's how: You are playing for your season. If the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, they are done. It's time for Tony Romo and gang to show they can be a playoff team. If not, Jason Garrett will likely be looking for work.

Bears DE Julius Peppers vs. Eagles LT Jason Peters: Peppers has come on in recent weeks, but he will face a stiff challenge from Peters. The Bears are missing a lot of key pieces on defense, so Peppers has to show up in this one.

Are the Cardinals are a playoff team? They travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks and they need a victory to have any real playoff chance. Can they beat the league's top team on the road? Or are they still climbing to be in that class?

 
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