Following a difficult week for the entire NFL, Week 18 is officially on.
Following a double-header on Saturday, the action will resume on Sunday with 14 games — including the New England Patriots’ against the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m. ET. Naturally, all of our attention will be on that contest. However, two of the other games in particular will be important for the club and its playoff outlook.
Welcome to our final regular season Patriots Rooting Guide of the year.
1:00 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) at Atlanta Falcons (6-10): Go Falcons! Because of several New England draft picks being tied to teams playing today, Atlanta is our pick in this one. Sorry, Tom Brady. | FOX, fuboTV
Minnesota Vikings (12-4) at Chicago Bears (3-13): Go Vikings! The No. 1 overall draft pick ending up in the NFC versus the AFC would probably be better from a New England point of view. So, here’s to hoping the Bears lose and get some help from Houston. | FOX, fuboTV
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (11-4): Go... Ravens? This depends on how Sunday goes down. If the Patriots qualify for the playoffs via beating the Bills, it probably will not matter all too much who they play next week. In that case, a Ravens win would set up a rematch with Buffalo — a team ideally just beaten by New England — a week later. | CBS, fuboTV
Houston Texans (2-13-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1): Go Texans! As noted above, a Houston win in combination with a Bears loss would move the No. 1 overall pick from the AFC to the NFC. | CBS, fuboTV
New York Jets (7-9) at Miami Dolphins (8-8): Go Jets! This is a big one: in case the Patriots lose in Buffalo, they need two games to go their way. One is the Dolphins’ against the Jets. | FOX, fuboTV
Carolina Panthers (6-10) at New Orleans Saints (7-9): Go Saints! The Patriots own two of the Panthers’ picks in this year’s draft, and a Carolina loss would improve the position of those third- and sixth-rounders. | FOX, fuboTV
4:25 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Rams (5-11) at Seattle Seahawks (8-8): Go Hawks! A Seattle win over L.A. would help the position of the Patriots’ fourth-round pick acquired as part of the Sony Michel trade. | FOX, fuboTV
Arizona Cardinals (4-12) at San Francisco 49ers (12-4): Go Cardinals! This game is tied directly to the one above. An Arizona win would help them leapfrog the Rams in the standings — thus pushing up the Patriots’ selection in Round 4 of the draft. | FOX, fuboTV
8:20 p.m. ET
Detroit Lions (8-8) at Green Bay Packers (8-8): Go good game! It really does not matter who wins this one from a Patriots perspective, so hopefully this can be a chill affair for all of New England. | NBC, fuboTV
Make sure to head down to the comment section to discuss today’s games, and to take a look at this story stream for all of our Patriots-Bills coverage.
As for today’s games, here is who our staff is picking to win: