FOXBORO (CBS) — The Patriots do not play football this weekend, which is a damn shame. They’ve won seven straight to take over the top seed in the AFC and have been a treat to watch over the last few months.

But just because there is no Patriots football doesn’t mean there is no football to watch. There is actually a lot of important pigskins for New England fans to lock onto this weekend. No one can clinch anything in the AFC, but there are a lot of important games to be played on Sunday.

That includes and old friend visiting an old foe, and that old friend actually can clinch something this weekend. So while there is no Patriots game to watch, there is quite a lot to be watching for in Week 14.

The 8-4 Crew

The Patriots are atop the AFC at 9-4, with a trio of 8-4 teams nipping at their heels. All three of those teams are in action on Sunday.

The 8-4 Titans are currently slotted behind the Patriots in the AFC standings, and they get a cushy matchup against the 2-10 Jaguars in Tennessee. Both of Jacksonville’s wins are against teams with winning records (the Bills and the Dolphins), but the Jags have been outscored 88-31 over the last three weeks, so another upset win for them is highly unlikely this weekend.

The 8-4 Baltimore Ravens are third in the AFC and get to pay a visit to the 6-6 Cleveland Browns this weekend, a team they just beat a few weeks ago, 16-10. With their bye week between these matchups with Cleveland, the beat-up Ravens have essentially been all about the Browns for the last three weeks. That gives them quite the advantage over a team that is struggling, with Cleveland losing three of its last five and five of its last eight overall.

Rounding out the 8-4 trifecta in the AFC is the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that has won five straight and six of seven. They’re not completely back to being the Chiefs that have dominated the AFC for the last two years, but they’re getting close. And this weekend they get to host the 6-6 Raiders, who have lost four of their last five to fall out of the playoff picture. You can catch this game on WBZ at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Any of the 8-4 crew losing this weekend would obviously help the Patriots’ cause to remain atop the AFC, but none of the matchups really favor that happening. At least New England owns the tiebreaker over all three, thanks to their 7-1 record against the AFC this season.

Brady Against The Bills

The 4:25pm game on CBS/WBZ is the one to watch this weekend, both around the NFL and here in New England. The Bills were just demoralized by their divisional foil on national television on Monday night, with the Patriots needing Mac Jones to throw just three passes thanks to an incredibly dominant run game. Now Buffalo gets to go against the quarterback who has done nothing but demoralize their franchise for two decades, and they get to do so on a short week.

It would be unfair if it weren’t so poetic.

Chances are Tom Brady will throw more than three passes against Buffalo this weekend, as he goes for his 33rd career win over the Bills. The Bills look like they’re ready to implode after Monday night’s laugher, and six days after the Patriots reaffirmed themselves as the kings of the AFC East, the Bills now have to go against Brady. Rough.

Brady and the Bucs can clinch this weekend too. With a win and losses by the Saints and the Panthers, Tampa Bay clinches the NFC South title and a playoff berth. (They can still clinch a playoff spot with a tie along with losses by Carolina and New Orleans, and a tie or a loss by both San Francisco and Washington, but that’s just silly.)

The Other Rookie QBs

The fact that Mac Jones fell to the Patriots at No. 15 is infuriating other NFL teams and fans around the league. And the fact that the four quarterbacks taken ahead of him aren’t doing all that much to help their respective teams at the moment is even more salt in the wounds.

This weekend will be a good chance for Patriots fans to see the rest of the field. Or at least some of the field. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, who went to two of the worst teams in football. are now guiding… two of the worst teams in football. Justin Fields is set to retake Chicago’s starting gig this weekend against Green Bay, while Trey Lance is stuck behind Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco.

Jones isn’t lighting the world on fire stats-wise, but he is ahead of everyone else in the QB rookie class in most of the big categories, including completion percentage (70.3%), passing yards (2,869) and passing touchdowns (16). He also leads the pack with the nine victories under his belt.

No one will be catching Jones in the wins category this weekend, but Lawrence may be able to close in on Jones in a few of the passer categories — if the Titans defense has a really bad weekend.


You don’t have to wait until Sunday to get your football fix. There is only one game in the college ranks this weekend, and it’s the big one: The annual Army-Navy game.

Army has won four of the last five matchups, and comes in at 8-3 on the season. Navy has an impressive ground attack, but the Midshipmen are just 3-8. A win over Army though is all that matters for Navy, and vice versa. (Though Army at least gets to play in the Armed Forces Bowl in two weeks.)

Patriots fans checking out the game (which just so happens to be on WBZ at 3 p.m. on Saturday) should keep an eye out for New England long snapper Joe Cardona, who is attending the game for the first time since graduating from the Naval Academy and being drafted by the Patriots in 2015. He’ll be one of the many shouting “Beat Army!” throughout the game.

The Patriots may be off, but the WBZ-TV sports team isn’t! Check out a bye week edition of Patriots GameDay on Sunday morning at 11:30am! Staff