Well, we’re getting down to brass tacks in the NFL.  Save for tonight’s mega-clash between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints (more on that below), Week 12 of the NFL season is in the books.  And much like this past baseball season, there aren’t that many division races left to be decided.  The Bengals have joined the Colts, Vikings, and Saints as mortal locks to win their divisions, while the Patriots, Chargers, and Cardinals all have commanding leads in their divisions.  That, once again, only leaves the NFC East, where Philadelphia and Dallas continue to do battle.

But much like in baseball, the wild card races are beginning to heat up as the calendar gets set to switch over to December, and the charge is being led by a team that had been left for dead just five weeks ago.  Here is our recap of what you may have missed, and our preview of tonight’s marquee Monday Night match-up.

1. The Tennessee Titans started the season 0-6 and were humbled by the New England Patriots 59-0 just six weeks ago.  Since that defeat, and the insertion of quarterback Vince Young (pictured) into the starting line-up, the Titans have won five in a row and amazingly are back in the playoff hunt.  Last night’s win over the Arizona Cardinals was straight out of a fairy tale.  Trailing by four points with a little over two minutes remaining in the contest, Young and the Titans drove 99 yards in 17 plays, scoring on the last play of the game on 4th and goal on the nine yard line.  Young completed a touchdown pass to Kenny Britt as time expired to keep the Titans unlikely run going and their playoff hopes alive.  Not bad for a guy who was benched for most of last season and the first six games of this year.

2. The Indianapolis Colts are still undefeated after defeating the Houston Texans yesterday 35-27.  The Texans scored the game’s first 20 points before choking away the lead and the game to Peyton Manning and the Colts in the second half.  Indianapolis will next face those streaking Tennessee Titans in Indy next week.

3. Finally, all the action that took place yesterday was mere prelude to tonight’s Monday Night game between the undefeated Saints and the New England Patriots.  Some say that the Patriots are the only thing standing between the Saints and an undefeated season.  We doubt that.  We believe that the Patriots will win tonight because their defense is better than that of the Saints and they have the offense to beat New Orleans in a shootout.  But how amazing is it that a match-up between the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots is all of a sudden the Game of the Year.  When we were growing up, the Saints and the Patriots used to alternate the title of NFL’s worst team.  Now they are playing a Monday Night game that the whole country is excited about.  And that is why we love the NFL.  It’s completely cyclical.  The Saints, Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Bengals, Cardinals have all been truly horrible during our time as a football fan.  Now they are the elite.  So take heart all those fans of awful teams.  Your time on top will come.

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