It’s all about playoff positioning now. Move on. Move in. Move whatever your mamas gave you to make it happen.
It’s moving week in football, pro and college.
Move on. Move in. Move whatever your mamas gave you to make it happen.
While many of us sit and stew over Sunday’s Bears-Texans happenings at Soldier Field — hey, isn’t that Deshaun Watson? — another local station will be offering Vikings at Buccaneers. To the rest of the country, the Bears and Texans are falling in a forest with no one around to hear them. The Vikings and Bucs, on the other hand, are knees-deep in wild-card relevance.
Also Sunday: Packers at Lions and Steelers at Bills. Our friends in Green Bay still have a shot — and a good one — at home-field advantage in the NFC. So do the one-loss Steelers in the AFC. The Bills, no slouches, are 9-3 division leaders.
Monday brings Ravens at Browns — the first team desperate for a win at 7-5, the latter one maneuvering at 9-3 for a playoff game at home. The 7-5 Raiders, not dead yet, host the Chargers on Thursday. Saturday brings another Packers game, and don’t we just love to watch them bask in Super Bowl possibility?
The stakes are even higher at the college level. Next up: conference title games, with the order of the four-team playoff in the balance. In the Big Ten, Ohio State needs a win — a convincing one — against Northwestern. In the ACC, Notre Dame will try to beat Clemson for a second time — what a feat that would be — with both teams still very much alive for the final four. Same goes for Alabama (of course) and Florida (don’t sleep on the Gators) in the SEC.
Grab your popcorn, people. Here’s what’s happening:
Gonzaga vs. Iowa (11 a.m., Ch. 2)
The No. 1 Zags and No. 3 Hawkeyes move the ball so well, it’s beautiful to watch. Is it crazy to think Hawkeyes big man Luke Garza might lock up national player of the year honors in December?
Texans at Bears (noon, Ch. 2)
Will we make it to 12:01 before the complaining about Mitch Trubisky, Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace starts?
Vikings at Buccaneers (noon, Fox-32)
Both these teams would be in if the playoffs started today. The 6-6 Vikes might want to not lose, though.
U.S. Women’s Open, final round (1 p.m., Ch. 5)
A South Korean has won this event in eight of the last 12 years. This time, a cavalcade of Americans are in the hunt.
Packers at Lions (3:25 p.m., Fox-32)
Maybe, just maybe, the Lions will party like it’s 2017 or 2018. They swept the Packers both those years, if you can believe it.
Rockets at Bulls (7 p.m., NBCSCH)
The teams’ first preseason meeting was ugly for the Bulls — but not for rookie Patrick Williams, who shined. We’ll take more of that, please.
Steelers at Bills (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5)
Is Pittsburgh really the team to beat in the NFL? We hear those snickers, Kansas City.
Ravens at Browns (7:15 p.m., ESPN)
Man, the Browns sure have come a long way since being routed 38-6 in Baltimore in the season opener. Pretty soon, stadium security might even start recognizing Baker Mayfield when he shows up at the gates.
Minnesota at Illinois (6 p.m., ESPN2)
It’s the Big Ten opener at State Farm Center in Champaign. Close your eyes and you’ll almost hear the Orange Krush.
Bulls at Thunder (7 p.m., NBCSCH)
Will Coby White begin to look more comfortable running the point? Will Lauri Markkanen be aggressive at the offensive end? Will ex-OKC coach Billy Donovan mistakenly pop into the wrong team’s huddle during a timeout?
Chargers at Raiders (7:20 p.m., Fox-32, NFLN)
There’s no love lost whenever San Diego and Oakland — sorry, Los Angeles and Las Vegas — clash on the ol’ gridiron.
Nets at Celtics (7 p.m., ESPN2)
What a thrill to have Kevin Durant back in action. Get used to it, sports fans: The Nets totally are a thing again.
Lakers at Suns (9:30 p.m., ESPN)
It has been almost 10 weeks since the Lakers hoisted the championship trophy. How did we survive that long without hearing LeBron James’ name 800 times a day?
Big Ten championship: Northwestern vs. Ohio State (11 a.m., Fox-32)
All the Wildcats have to do is bottle up Justin Fields — the Big Ten’s best quarterback since Drew Brees — and the rest of the Buckeyes’ blue-chip brigade. Easy-peasy, right?
ACC championship: Clemson vs. Notre Dame (3 p.m., Ch. 7)
Beat a team the caliber of Clemson twice — this time with superstar QB Trevor Lawrence playing — and the Irish will lock into a top-two playoff seed. Lose a close one? Fingers crossed for that fourth and final spot.
SEC championship: Alabama vs. Florida (7 p.m., Ch. 2)
To the winner goes a playoff spot. To the loser — if it’s Alabama — goes a playoff spot. Roll Tide.
Panthers at Packers (7:15 p.m., NFLN)
Just give Aaron Rodgers the MVP award already. We hear those snickers again, Kansas City.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith (10 p.m., DAZN)
Come on, you know you haven’t had your fill of guys beating the hell out of each other. Stream this super-middleweight title unification fight and appreciate the greatness of 53-1-2 Alvarez, the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.