Charles Krupa, Associated Press
The final six weeks of the season could be a real treat for the New England Patriots.
Tied with three other teams for the AFC's best record, the Patriots face their toughest foe on the remainder of the schedule when they visit Philadelphia on Sunday. And the Eagles are 4-6, the most disappointing team in the league this year, on the verge of falling out of contention in the NFC.
So the prospect of the Patriots once again having the conference's best record is very real. No, they won't be the dominating 14-2 they were in 2012, but a sweep of the last half-dozen games will land them at 13-3, even if it isn't quite as impressive a performance.
After the Eagles, New England plays the Colts, Redskins, Broncos, Dolphins and Bills. Not a winning mark among them.
As is their wont, the Patriots are looking at every opponent as if they were, well, the 2007 Patriots — the undefeated Pats.
"I think that we need to play really well, certainly better than we've played the last few weeks," Tom Brady said. "There're a lot of people on our team and our offense that have really taken the challenge that our coaches have given us and are going to go out there and try to play our best. I think we need to do that. This is the time of year when it's most important. There aren't a lot of games left. When you play a tough team on the road, that came off one of the biggest wins of their season, we have everything we could ask for. We're going to go out there and try to play our best."
Philly beat the Giants 17-10 on the road last Sunday night behind one of the best drives in the league for any team: 18 plays, 80 yards to a winning touchdown pass. Vince Young led it, and he might be at quarterback again with Michael Vick's ribs still tender.
"Anytime you go into a game with a guy who hasn't really played yet, and you come out with a win like that, especially late in the game when you persevere through it, that breeds confidence in his abilities," center Jason Kelce said. "I don't want to say that I was ever not confident that Vince could do it, but I'm definitely more confident now, having been through the (Giants) game."
The holiday weekend began on Thursday with the traditional Thanksgiving Day games at Detroit, where unbeaten Green Bay faced the Lions, and at Dallas, with Miami visiting the Cowboys. The night game was the first between head-coaching brothers in NFL history, with Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers at John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens.
On Sunday, it's Denver at San Diego, Chicago at Oakland, Pittsburgh at Kansas City, Houston at Jacksonville, Minnesota at Atlanta, Carolina at Indianapolis, Buffalo at the New York Jets, Cleveland at Cincinnati, Tampa Bay at Tennessee, Washington at Seattle, and Arizona at St. Louis.
The Monday night game features the New York Giants at New Orleans.
New York Giants (6-4) at New Orleans (7-3), Monday night
Two straight defeats erased the Giants' lead in the NFC East, and they have swooned a few times late in past seasons under Tom Coughlin. With Green Bay on deck after this prime-time visit to New Orleans, New York needs a quick remedy.
"We know the Saints are a very good home team," said Eli Manning, who grew up in New Orleans, where his father, Archie, was the Saints quarterback. "It's a loud stadium. ... We can try to start fast and move the ball and don't give up big plays to their defense, (that) should always help the occasion. It's just about being consistent."
The Saints haven't been all that consistent this year, either, but their deep corps of receivers, particularly tight end Jimmy Graham, will test the Giants' defense, which must find a pass rush that was absent last week.
Denver (5-5) at San Diego (4-6)
- Pistorius shown in TV interview ahead of...
- NFL to interview Matthew, Peppers, Harrison...
- Items owned by gangster 'Whitey' Bulger to be...
- World doping watchdog shuts down Rio Olympic...
- AP source: Irving, Barnes finish US Olympic...
- Federer out to turn around frustrating season...
- With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in...
- Ipsen, Hixon get Olympic 3-meter spots,...
- Never on Sunday: BYU won't compete on... 167
- U. stadium gets bigger scoreboard,... 75
- Sitake not intimidated by BYU's arduous... 58
- Kalani Sitake on BYU-Utah rivalry: 'I... 44
- Morning Links: BYU basketball fans... 43
- Dick Harmon: 1996 Cotton Bowl champion... 38
- Utah Jazz plan to be 'active' during... 24
- Sitake making transition from longtime... 20