Eagles (4-6) @ Lions (3-7)
Who to cheer for: Lions
Why cheer for them: I don't really consider eaither of these teams legit threats for a wildcard spot, but a win for the Lions would likely kill off the Eagles for the rest of this season.
Panthers (10-0) @Cowboys (3-7)
Who to cheer for: Panthers
Why cheer for them: The Bucs are 5 games back of the Panthers with 6 games to go. As much as I'd like to think the Bucs will win out and the Panthers will lose out, the odds of that happening are slim. If the Panthers beat the Cowboys, that would end all hope for a miraculous comeback by Tony Romo.
Bears (4-6) @ Packers (7-3)
Who to Cheer for: Packers
Why Cheer for Them: This game isn't as important. I don't really see the Bears as a threat, but dropping them to 7 losses would crush any hope they have. We're also nearing the point in the season where you just root for the division leaders to win each week, since the Bucs have little to no shot at winning their own division. If division leaders keep winning, they're probably beating teams the Bucs are competing with for a wildcard spot.
Vikings (7-3) @Falcons (6-4)
Who to Cheer for: Falcons
Why Cheer for Them: This is a tough one, but hear me out. First, I have to assume the Bucs will win or most of this piece becomes moot. Let's say the Bucs beat the Colts. The Bucs have better control of the Falcons than they would the Vikings because they play the Falcons next week.A loss would not only drop the Vikings to 4 losses...potentially within one game of the Bucs...but also drop the Vikings conference record to 4-3, matching the Bucs conference record (Conference record is the tiebreaker if you do not play that team during the season). The Falcons would improve to 7-4, but play the Bucs next week. If the Bucs beat the Falcons next week, assuming the Bucs beat the Cotls this week, both teams would be 7-5, but the Bucs would own the tiebreaker on the Falcons with just 4 games left to play. With that said, the Vikings beating the Falcons isn't the worst thing in the world either. My goal is to just have the Bucs have as many options to get a wildcard spot as possible.
Rams (4-6) @ Bengals (8-2)
Who to Cheer for: Bengals
Why Cheer for Them: You should obviously be cheering for any AFC team facing an NFC team. In this case, the Rams would drop to 7 losses on the season, and with a potential move to LA on the horizon, the Rams players may just check out on this season.
Saints (4-6) @ Texans (5-5)
Who to Cheer for: Texans
Why Cheer for Them: The Saints are coming off their bye week and have changed defensive coordinators. A win could give the Saints hope, but a loss could be devastating enough for them not to recover. The last thing anyone wants is for Drew Brees and Sean Payton to have hope.
Giants (5-5) @ Redskins (4-6)
Who to Cheer for: Giants
Why Cheer for Them: Both of these teams own a tiebreaker over the Bucs. Personally, I hope the Giants just run away with the division and bury the Redskins hopes along the way. Dropping to 7 losses would put enough doubt in the Redskins organization to pretty much eliminate them from any playoff push.
Steelers (6-4) @ Seahawks (5-5)
Who to Cheer for: Steelers
Why Cheer for Them: The Seahawks have one of the easier schedules of the contenders for the NFC wildcard slots. I do think the Steelers may have enough fire power on offense to go into Seattle and get a win.