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Week 16 NFL preview

Eli Manning and the Giants will be the visitors in their cross-town rivalry game against the Jets. The game is critical to both teams’ playoff hopes.

Ray Stubblebine/REUTERS

Eli Manning and the Giants will be the visitors in their cross-town rivalry game against the Jets. The game is critical to both teams’ playoff hopes.

With Week 16 of the NFL season arriving a day early this week, the Boston Globe previews the action around the league:

THIS WEEK’S KEY MATCHUPS:

NY Giants at NY Jets

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Jets by 3

Records: Giants 7-7 (6-7-1 vs. spread), Jets 8-6 (6-8 vs. spread).

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Comments: Critical game for the MetLife cohabitants as both cling to playoff hopes ... Giants lead the all-time series, 7-4, and have won four straight ... Elite QB Eli Manning has a Jints franchise record 4,362 yards and 14 fourth-quarter TD passes ... Not-so-elite QB Mark Sanchez of the Jets is 283 yards shy of passing his career best of 3,291 ... Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul has collected 18 sacks in his last 20 games ... Jets LB David Harris has a team-high 80 tackles and a career-best 3 INTs ... Jets are 6-1 at home; Giants are 3-4.

Philadelphia at Dallas

Time: 4:15 p.m. (Ch. 25) Line: Cowboys by 1 1/2

Records: Eagles 6-8 (6-8 vs. spread), Cowboys 8-6 (5-8-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Eagles throttled Cowboys, 34-7, Oct. 30, when they were still the Dream Team ... Dallas QB Tony ‘’Smiles everyone, smiles’’ Romo is 3-0 with 867 yards, 7 TDs, and 2 INTs in last three at home vs. Philly ... Eagles QB Michael Vick threw for 279 yards and rushed for 50 in Week 8 victory ... Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy has NFL highs of 20 TDs and 100 first downs, including 82 rushing ... Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware has 7 sacks in his last two vs. Eagles ... Dallas’s Laurent Robinson has 9 TDs in last eight games.

Chicago at Green Bay

Time: Tomorrow, 8:20 p.m. (Ch. 7) Line: Packers by 13

Records: Bears 7-7 (6-7-1 vs. spread), Packers 13-1 (9-5 vs. spread).

Comments: Packers beat Bears, 27-17, Sept. 25 ... Chicago leads all-time series, 91-84-6, but Green Bay has won 5 of last 7 ... Bears QB Caleb Hanie has been brutal as Jay Cutler’s replacement, including a 10-for-23, 111-yard performance last week. ‘’Right now, we’re disappointed in our quarterback play,’’ said coach Lovie ‘’Master of the Obvious’’ Smith. Josh McCown gets the nod for this one ... WR Donald Driver is 21 receiving yards shy of becoming first Packer with 10,000 ... Green Bay’s Ryan Grant has rushed for 596 yards and 5 TDs in last six vs. Da Bears.

Atlanta at New Orleans

Time: Monday, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) Line: Saints by 6 1/2

Records: Falcons 9-5 (6-6-2 vs. spread), Saints 11-3 (10-4 vs. spread).

Comments: Falcons beat Saints, 27-24, in OT on Sept. 25 ... New Orleans has won six straight while Atlanta has won 7 of 9 ... Nawlins QB Drew Brees has an NFL-high 4,780 passing yards and is 305 shy of breaking the season record held by Dan Marino (all hail?) ... Hotlanta is 22-0 when QB Matty ‘’Ice’’ Ryan posts a 100-plus passer rating ... Saints RB Pierre Thomas has 5 TDs in four home games vs. Falcons ... Atlanta’s John Abraham had 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last week ... Saints safety Roman Harper has 17 career sacks.

THIS WEEK’S OTHER MATCHUPS:

Denver at Buffalo

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Broncos by 2 1/2

Records: Broncos 8-6 (7-6-1 vs. spread), Bills 5-9 (5-8-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Tebowmania hits Western New York ... Broncos QB Tim Tebow is 5-0 on the road ... Ryan Fitzpatrick is 171 passing yards shy of joining Drew Bledsoe, Joe Ferguson, and Jim Kelly as Bills QBs with 3,500 in a season ... Denver’s Willis McGahee (he cut his NFL teeth as a Bill) is 10 yards shy of his fourth 1,000-yard season.

Arizona at Cincinnati

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Bengals by 4

Records: Cardinals 7-7 (7-6-1 vs. spread), Bengals 8-6 (7-5-2 vs. spread).

Comments: Stop the presses: It’s Week 16 and the Bengals playoff hopes are alive and kicking ... Stop the presses Part II: The Cardinals have won 6 of their last 7 ... Beanie Wells is 6 yards shy of becoming first Cardinal with 1,000 yards rushing and 10 TDs in a season ... Cincy’s Cedric Benson is just 41 yards from his third straight 1,000-yard rushing campaign.

Minnesota at Washington

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Redskins by 6 1/2

Records: Vikings 2-12 (5-7-2 vs. spread), Redskins 5-9 (7-7 vs. spread).

Comments: Redskins rookie Roy Helu has rushed for 387 yards and a pair of TDs in his last four ... Washington QB Rex Grossman is 3-1 vs. Minny ... Vikings WR Percy Harvin has 5 receiving TDs in his last five games and is 213 yards shy of first 1,000-yard campaign ... Redskins’ Jabar Gaffney is 158 receiving yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.

Tampa Bay at Carolina

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Panthers by 7 1/2

Records: Buccaneers 4-10 (4-10 vs. spread), Panthers 5-9 (8-5-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Panthers rocked Buccaneers, 38-19, Dec. 4 ... Carolina’s Cam Newton has 30 combined TDs (17 passing, 13 rushing) — an NFL rookie record. He needs 18 passing yards to pass Peyton Manning (3,739) for most by a rookie ... Obligatory Kellen Winslow note: The cantankerous Buccaneers tight end has at least one reception in 90 straight games.

Cleveland at Baltimore

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Ravens by 13 1/2

Records: Browns 4-10 (6-6-2 vs. spread), Ravens 10-4 (7-6-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Ravens beat Browns, 24-10, Dec. 4 ... Joe ‘’Cool’’ Flacco is one 300-yard passing game from surpassing Vinny Testaverde (eight) as the Ravens franchise leader in that category ... Greg Little is 10 catches shy of passing Kevin Johnson (66 in 1999) for Browns rookie receptions record ... All-World Baltimore safety Ed Reed has 10 INTs vs. Cleveland, his most vs. any foe.

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Titans by 7 1/2

Records: Jaguars 4-10 (5-8-1 vs. spread), Titans 7-7 (6-7-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Jaguars beat Titans, 16-14, Sept. 11 ... Titans’ Chris Johnson needs 2 rushing TDs to join Earl Campbell (all hail) and Eddie George as the only players in franchise history with 40. Campbell has 73, George 64 ... Maurice Jones-Drew is 2 rushing TDs shy of passing Fred Taylor (61) for tops on Jags all-time list ... Tennessee’s Matt Hasselbeck is 76 passing yards away from his eighth 3,000-yard campaign.

Oakland at Kansas City

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Chiefs by 1

Records: Raiders 7-7 (8-5-1 vs. spread), Chiefs 6-8 (8-6 vs. spread).

Comments: Chiefs blanked Raiders, 28-0, on Oct. 23 ... Oakland has won six straight AFC West road games and five straight at Arrowhead Stadium ... Darrius Heyward-Bey is 225 receiving yards shy of becoming first Raider since Randy Moss in 2005 to post a 1,000-yard season ... Chiefs recorded six INTs in Week 7 win over Raiders ... Chiefs QB Kyle Orton is 1 TD pass shy of 80.

St. Louis at Pittsburgh

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Steelers by 15 1/2

Records: Rams 2-12 (2-11-1 vs. spread), Steelers 10-4 (6-8 vs. spread).

Comments: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (he looked as mobile as Herman Munster vs. 49ers last week) is 144 passing yards shy of the second 4,000-yard season of his career ... Rams monster back Steven Jackson needs 34 rushing yards for his seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season ... LB LaMarr Woodley is 1 sack away from becoming first Steeler with four seasons of 10-plus sacks ... Rams DE Chris Long has 10 sacks in last eight games.

San Diego at Detroit

Time: 4:05 p.m. Line: Lions by 2

Records: Chargers 7-7 (5-9 vs. spread), Lions 9-5 (6-7-1 vs. spread).

Comments: San Diego LB Antwan Barnes is coming off a career-high 4-sack performance against Baltimore and has 11 sacks on the season (also a career high) ... Detroit DE Cliff Avril has collected 9 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries in past eight games ... TE Antonio Gates is 3 receptions shy of passing Charlie Joiner (586) for tops on the Chargers all-time list ... Lions’ Brandon Pettigrew needs 5 catches to break his own team season record (71).

San Francisco at Seattle

Time: 4:15 p.m. Line: 49ers by 2 1/2

Records: 49ers 11-3 (11-2-1 vs. spread), Raiders 7-7 (9-4-1 vs. spread).

Comments: 49ers beat Seahawks, 33-17, Sept. 11 ... San Fran QB Alex Smith has won 12 of his past 15 starts and has thrown for 379 yards, 3 TDs, and zero INTs in last two vs. Seahawks ... Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson has won 5 of his past 6 starts ... Seahawks DE Chris Clemons has 11 sacks in his last 13 games ... 49ers have yielded an NFL-low 185 points and have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season.

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