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A weekend filled with wrappers' delights

What's on your Christmas list? Home-field advantage? A first-round bye? A division title? Maybe just a simple playoff berth.

The NFL's schedule for Week 16 is spread over the next three days with 13 games on the docket for today, two nationally televised games on Christmas Day and the final ABC "Monday Night Football" game ever to wrap it all up.

The Seattle Seahawks can wrap up home field throughout the NFC playoffs today, while Chicago and Denver can clinch division titles and first-round byes. The New York Giants can clinch the NFC East with a win, while it's possible for the Carolina Panthers to wrap up the NFC South with some outside help.

Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and San Diego are still contending for playoff berths, but none can clinch this weekend.

In all, there are 12 teams still vying for the final seven playoff spots with two weeks to go in the season.

>Game of the day

Chargers (9-5) at Chiefs (8-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Pick 'em.

The scoop: A loss would eliminate San Diego from the AFC West title chase. Kansas City cannot win the division. Both teams are alive for a wild-card spot. . . . The Chargers ended an eight-year losing streak at Arrowhead, 34-31, last year and have won the past three games in the series. The Bolts defeated K.C., 26-20, in San Diego earlier this season behind a 10-catch, 145-yard game by TE Antonio Gates.

Outlook: Chargers get another desperate effort. San Diego, 40-37.

>Top attractions

Colts (13-1) at Seahawks (12-2)

TV: Ch. 4, 4 p.m.

The line: Seahawks favored by 10.

The scoop: A historic game because never before have two NFL teams met in the regular season with a combined total of 25 wins between them. Colts have nothing left to play for after San Diego handed them their first loss last week. However, a Seattle win or tie or a Chicago loss or tie assures Seahawks of top record in NFC and home field throughout conference playoffs.

Outlook: Colts ease up. Seahawks, 28-21.

Giants (10-4) at Redskins (8-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Redskins by 3.

The scoop: Giants win division with a win or tie. Redskins, left for dead with a 5-6 record four weeks ago, can clinch a playoff berth if they win and Dallas, Minnesota and Atlanta lose. . . . Each team is on a three-game win streak. . . . Giants embarrassed Redskins, 36-0, Oct. 30 in emotional aftermath of passing of Wellington Mara.

Outlook: Crowd (91,000 plus) drowns out Eli Manning. Washington, 24-21.

Falcons (8-6) at Buccaneers (9-5)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Buccaneers by 3.

The scoop: Tampa Bay can clinch a playoff berth this week but needs a lot of help. A Carolina win and a Tampa Bay loss, however, would eliminate the Bucs from the NFC South contention but not the wild-card race. . . . Tampa Bay edged the Falcons, 30-27, Nov. 20 when Derrick Brooks forced a Michael Vick fumble that led to winning field goal.

Outlook: Bucs better on defense, and that's what wins in December. Tampa Bay, 20-10.

Cowboys (8-6) at Panthers (10-4)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Panthers by 5.

The scoop: Carolina looking to wrap up the division but needs a win or tie coupled with a Tampa Bay loss or tie to do it this week. Regardless of what others do, Carolina would clinch a playoff berth with a win or a tie. . . . QB Drew Bledsoe of the Cowboys has 42,996 career passing yards and needs 45 to pass Dan Fouts on the all-time list.

Outlook: Bledsoe will be intimidated by Carolina front four. Panthers, 28-17.

>Best of the rest

Bills (4-10) at Bengals (11-3)

TV: Ch. 4, 1 p.m.

The line: Bengals by 13 1/2 .

The scoop: Bills rank next to last in AFC in both offense and defense. . . . Buffalo offense has a chance to function with Kelly Holcomb getting start at QB, but defense can't contain Bengals. Cincy QB Carson Palmer leads league with 30 TD passes and is second with 102.6 passer rating. RB Rudi Johnson has 1,352 yards while WR Chad Johnson has 1,260 receiving yards and eight TD catches. Bills, on the other hand, have almost no big-play capability.

Outlook: Cincy won run-for-bus game over '84 Bills, 52-21. This could be just as ugly. Merry Christmas. Bengals, 42-14.

Steelers (9-5) at Browns (5-9)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Steelers by 7.

The scoop: Steelers are in the lead for final AFC wild-card spot with a home game against Detroit next week. However, Pittsburgh would lose if a three-way wild-card tie at 11-5 should develop among Steelers, San Diego and Jacksonville.

Outlook: If rookie QB Charlie Frye stays poised, Browns keep it close. Steelers, 20-17.

Jaguars (10-4) at Texans (2-12)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Jaguars by 6.

The scoop: The Jags, who have won six of their past seven, can earn their first playoff berth since 1999 with a win. However, Houston leads series between teams, 4-3, including 20-6 in Houston last season.

Outlook: Texans and Titans (next week) are Jax nemeses. Houston, 17-13.

Titans (4-10) at Dolphins (7-7)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Dolphins by 5 1/2 .

The scoop: Can you believe Dolphins are at .500? Titans won in Miami, 17-10, last year.

Outlook: Dolphins finishing strong. Miami, 17-10.

49ers (2-12) at Rams (5-9)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Rams by 9.

The scoop: Niners opened season by upsetting Rams at home. Tim Rattay (now a Buccaneer) directed that victory. Rookie Alex Smith gets another start today against either Jamie Martin or rookie Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Rams.

Outlook: Smith still looking for first win. Rams, 28-24.

Eagles (6-8) at Cardinals (4-10)

TV: Ch. 29, 4 p.m.

The line: Cardinals by 1.

The scoop: Eagles have won four of past five against Cardinals but former NFC East rivals have not met since 2002. . . . Josh McCown will start at QB for Arizona with Kurt Warner off to IR list. Mike McMahon gets another start for Eagles.

Outlook: Eagles haven't landed yet. Philadelphia, 21-14.

Raiders (4-10) at Broncos (11-3)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: Broncos by 13.

The scoop: Denver can clinch first-round bye with a win and a Cincinnati loss. Broncos have tiebreaker advantage over Bengals based on conference record.

Outlook: Denver looked like a pro team against inept Bills last week. Raiders have mailed it in. Denver, 31-7.

Bears (10-4) at Packers (3-11)

TV: Ch. 29, Sunday, 5 p.m.

The line: Bears by 7.

The scoop: Chicago clinches division title with a win and can get a first-round bye with help. No matter what they do, Bears can back into a playoff berth if either Washington or Tampa Bay should lose the rest of the way.

Outlook: Packers' injuries continue to pile up. Bears, 13-10.

Vikings (8-6) at Ravens (5-9)

TV: ESPN, Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Ravens by 3.

The scoop: A loss by Bears and a Minnesota win means Vikings could win the division by beating Bears next week in season finale based on superior division record (5-1 to 4-2). They will need to win out and get help for wild-card berth, however.

Outlook: Ravens make it a Viking funeral. Baltimore, 16-13.

Patriots (9-5) at Jets (3-11)

TV: Ch. 7, Monday, 9 p.m.

The line: Patriots by 5 1/2 .

The scoop: Passing of an era. Jets, who lost at Cleveland in first ABC Monday Night game in 1970, will lose in last, too.

Outlook: Tom Brady versus Brooks Bollinger looks like no contest. Pats, 24-3.

>Dog of the day

Lions (4-10) at Saints (3-11)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Saints by 3.

The scoop: Game is in San Antonio. . . . Lions interim coach Dick Jauron was an aide on Bills' defensive staff in 1985, when Saints coach Jim Haslett was still a linebacker with team.

Outlook: Haven't fans of Lions and Saints suffered enough? Saints, 21-17.


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