2012 NFL schedule: 49ers battle Seahawks for NFC West crown

USA TODAY Sports

There are a couple of key matchups to watch for during Week 16.

The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, and the outcome of a few Week 16 games will likely determine which teams are playing in January and which are on the golf course. Let's take a look at a couple of the key games to keep an eye on this Sunday, Dec. 23.

As for the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC West title will be up for grabs as they take on the surging Seattle Seahawks. Both teams have been scoring at a high rate in recent weeks, and their defenses rank amongst the best in the league. This is the Sunday Night Football game of the week, with kickoff set for 8:20 p.m. ET.

The Oakland Raiders have had a season to forget, although they're coming off a shutout victory over the Chiefs. In Week 16, they'll face Cam Newton and the Panthers at 1 p.m. ET.

One game with potential playoff implications is between the Giants and Ravens. Both teams are currently battling for postseason positioning, and they're coming off brutal losses by 17+ points.

The Steelers and Bengals are currently going after the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. They'll meet up at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, and the winner will likely be going to the postseason. If the Colts can beat the Chiefs, they will also clinch a spot.

For a full look at the Week 16 schedule, check out Sports Illustrated.

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