There are four weeks left in the regular season. Four weeks to figure out which teams are making the playoffs, whether they're limping in, or coming out guns blazing. There are four weeks for the Patriots to defend their conference lead and four weeks for the Jets to inevitably play themselves out of a top five draft pick.
There's so much to see. Here's your fandom schedule, or list of teams you should be rooting for the best possible outcome for the Patriots this week.
Thursday, December 4, 8:25 PM Game
Cowboys @ Bears - Doesn't matter. I like Tony Romo and I want to see him do well in the playoffs this year. Dez Bryant is tremendous and my only hope at salvaging my fantasy season. But I'd sacrifice that to see them go 8-8 this season. That would be four years in a row. That'd be funny.
Sunday, December 7
1:00 PM Games
Ravens @ Dolphins - This might be painful, but everyone should be rooting for the Ravens. They're a sneaky good team and they have a punchers chance of beating a potentially punchless Miami squad. A Dolphins loss would mean that the Patriots would basically have to lose out in order to fail to claim another AFC East title. Root for the Ravens. Let the AFC North have some more competition.
Colts @ Browns - Pretty simple choice to root for the Browns. Can they do it? Eh. The Colts do a good job of cleaning up the bad teams, and the Browns are inflated off a season against the AFC South and NFC South. They lost to the Jaguars for goodness sake. This is likely Brian Hoyer's last chance with the Browns, so as a Patriots fan, it shouldn't be a problem rooting for a big game for the back-up. A Colts loss helps the Patriots inch their way to a bye week.
Panthers @ Saints - Doesn't matter, but chaos is fun. How about the Panthers beat the Saints and the NFC South continues its trek towards the worst divisional season in NFL history? Go Riverboat Ron. Shut down Jimmy Graham and put a stamp on your season!
Steelers @ Bengals - Cincinnati has the better record so everyone should be rooting for Pittsburgh. Yes, this is a weird week. While the Patriots have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bengals, the fact that Cincy has tied this season kind of renders that useless. As they stand, the Bengals have the same numbers of losses as the Patriots; the Steelers should change that.
Texans @ Jaguars - Doesn't really matter, but rooting for the Texans would work. Helps the Jaguars inch closer to the top overall pick and give the Colts some semblance of competition in their forsaken division.
Jets @ Vikings - Root for the Jets! They're eliminated from the playoffs, Rex Ryan is going to be fired, and they still don't have a quarterback. A win pushes them further away from the Marcus Mariota race (Suck for Duck? Miss Your Quota for Mariota?) and takes the edge off of the "let's win for our embattled coach!" Let's let the Jets get their season busting wins out of their system before they face the Patriots.
Giants @ Titans - Both teams are eliminated from the playoffs. Root for Devin McCourty's brother in Tennessee? According to my reasoning for other games you should be rooting for the Giants to keep the Titans in lockstep with the Jets for draft position. But. That would involve rooting for the Giants. So. Go Titans.
Rams @ Washington - Root for the Rams! I don't think they can make the playoffs, but I want them to win the RG3 Trade Bowl. Also, a Washington victory would tie them up with the Jets, pushing the latter down the draft board!
4:05 PM Games
Bills @ Broncos - Root for the Bills! The Broncos winning will put the Patriots a step closing to winning the division and getting a playoff spot. The Bills winning will jump start the Patriots towards a first round bye. Let's shoot for the sky; go Buffalo!
Chiefs @ Cardinals - What team do you want to see in the playoffs? I think the Patriots clean house in a rematch, especially at home, but look at the alternatives: Would you rather see the Chiefs, or the Steelers/Ravens? I'd go with the Chiefs. Go Chiefs.
4:25 PM Games
Seahawks @ Eagles - A game with zero implications on the Patriots draft seeding, but one that changes the landscape of the NFC playoffs. If the Seahawks win, they double their chances of a first round bye and a couple homefield games. Do you want the NFC going through Philadelphia or Seattle? Which would you rather see in the Super Bowl? I'd root for Seattle.
8:30 PM Game
Patriots @ Chargers - Go Patriots.
Monday, December 8, 8:30 PM Game
Falcons @ Packers - Another toss-up. I have nothing but respect for the Packers; I'd rather they win homefield advantage instead of the Eagles or Seahawks. All three are dangerous, but the Patriots would love another crack at the Pack. Go Cheeseheads.