Times NFL writer Sam Farmer examines five matchups worth watching:
1. CINCH TO CLINCH: Denver can qualify for playoffs with a win. Indianapolis can clinch the AFC South with a win. And a Seattle win secures not only the NFC West, but also a first-round bye in the postseason for Pete Carroll’s club.
2. ROUND 2: San Francisco plays host to Seattle in what has become one of the NFL’s best, and most bitter, rivalries. The Seahawks have won the last two meetings in blowout fashion.
3. ROAR: After a bumpy start, Carolina has won eight in a row and grabbed a share of first place in the NFC South with New Orleans. In a division showdown, the Saints play host to the Panthers.
4. ST. NICK: Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, who has 19 touchdowns and intercepted passes, faces what could be his toughest challenge yet — the first-place and suddenly defensively stingy Detroit Lions.
5. CHIEF CONCERN: Kansas City has lost three in a row and will look to pull out of that tailspin with a game at Washington. The Chiefs can lock up a playoff spot with a win and a loss by Miami (at Pittsburgh).
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