The Green Bay Packers bring a disappointing season to a close, hoping to finish 8-8 as the Detroit Lions coming off a backbreaking loss to the Bengals are also playing for nothing. The Lions can still win nine games and hope to sweep the Packers for the first time since 1991. Without Aaron Rodgers, it is hard to imagine the Packers putting up enough offense to win this game.
Two teams who have had disastrous seasons meet with just draft positioning on the line. While the Houston Texans pick belongs to the Browns, the Indianapolis Colts with a loss will draft number three. The Colts have shown signs of life at times with Jacoby Brissett playing well. The Texans meanwhile with third-string quarterback T.J. Yates have been a disaster. This one looks like a win for the Colts as the Texans season mercifully ends.
With a win, the Minnesota Vikings can wrap up a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Chicago Bears have played better as of late, but coming against a team like the Vikings is a bit of a tall task. The Bears played well earlier in the year, losing at Soldier Field 20-17, but going on the road against a fired-up Vikings defense will be too much to ask for Mitchell Trubisky who could be playing next season with a new coaching staff.
The New England Patriots hold destiny in their own hands as they just need a win against the New York Jets to ensure the AFC Championship Game will be at Gillette Stadium once again. The Jets played the Patriots touch earlier in the season, but that game was at the Meadowlands and with Josh McCown at quarterback. The Patriots will make sure this game is out of reach early as they again display their dominance against a weaker opponent.
The nightmare is finally over for the New York Giants as a disastrous season comes to an end against the Washington Redskins. In what could be his final game with the Giants, look for Eli Manning to put up some big numbers against a Redskins team that is also playing for nothing. The Giants will get the win and head into an offseason of uncertainty with likely many changes to come for 2018.
Don’t expect to see a lot out of the Philadelphia Eagles, who already have home field locked up in the NFC. Though they are the only team to have not at home all season, the Eagles focus is on the playoffs, so they will likely rest most of their starters having already lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz. The Dallas Cowboys after being eliminated last week will likely want to finish strong and would like nothing more than to beat a division rival, which will also likely cause a cautious approach by the Eagles.
The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a shot to get home field in the AFC Playoffs, if the Jets shock the world and the Patriots. In other words, they have as much chance of that happening as the Cleveland Browns winning a game. Speaking of which the Browns are who the Steelers are playing, and though you will likely see Landry Jones play at least the second half the Steelers will still win the game, as the Browns complete the dream of a 0-16 season.
Both of these teams have something to playoff for as the Carolina Panthers can win the NFC South with a win and Saints loss, while the Atlanta Falcons need a win to clinch the playoffs. The Falcons get this one at home, and that will be a big edge, as the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones find the formula and build a big enough lead that their fourth quarter foibles don’t come back to haunt them as the Panthers fall just sort of spoiling New Year’s Day in the Atlanta.
Last week’s win over the Lions, was the best the Cincinnati Bengals have played in a long time. It was more of a tribute to coach Marvin Lewis who was likely coaching his final game in Cincinnati. The Baltimore Ravens can wrap up a playoff spot with a win and they are playing strong down the stretch. Look for the Ravens defense to have a big game and pave an easy road for Joe Flacco to get the win at home.
The Kansas City Chiefs have won the AFC West and are going on to the playoffs while the Denver Broncos are going home after a ten-loss season. That being said the Broncos should have a big edge in this one as the Chiefs have singled they will be resting many of their stars as Patrick Mahomes gets the start at quarterback. Mahomes a rookie faces a tough road start in Denver even with the Broncos disappointing season.
The Los Angeles Chargers can make the playoffs with a win, while the Oakland Raiders are done, despite this the Chargers will feel like they are playing a road game as the Raiders are still more popular in Los Angeles and will fill the StubHub Center. That being said look for Phillip Rivers to put up a big game against the porous Raiders secondary to get the big win for the Chargers.
The San Francisco 49ers come into the game with four straight wins with Jimmy Garoppollo under center. The Los Angeles Rams meanwhile have the NFC West in their pocket and could begin resting players at some point in the game. However, look towards Todd Gurley II to be the difference maker as the Rams look to boost his MVP candidacy by setting him up to reach 2000 yards from scrimmage.
It’s the uniform, it’s the colors and it’s the logo. The Miami Dolphins are wearing their throwbacks again as they look to spoil the Buffalo Bills playoff chances. The Bills who are the only major sports team to have not made the playoffs since the year 1999. The Bills can end this drought with a win and some help. However, the Dolphins will have something to say about it as they will be wearing their magical 1972 throwbacks. In the 70’s the Dolphins were 20-0 against the Bills and this magic will continue in the season finale in Miami.
Thanks to their win over the Cowboys last week, the Seattle Seahawks still have a shot at getting in the playoffs. The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a shutout win over the Giants last week, but are a team that is heading into an uncertain off-season as it is rumored coach Bruce Arians will likely be shown the door on Black Monday. The Seahawks with the home crowd edge will put forth a great showing as they do their part while hoping the Falcons fail.
Last week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly derailed the Panthers, before Cam Newton’s last-minute touchdown drive. This week they can prevent the New Orleans Saints from winning the NFC South. The Saints have not been especially sharp as of late, while the Buccaneers have shown signs of life. The Buccaneers may not be able to make up for their full disappointing season, but it will at least be a good way to end it.
The Tennessee Titans still have a shot at the playoffs if they are able to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. This is despite losing their last three games. However, with the way Marcus Mariota is struggling it hard to imagine the Titans can get much going against the Jaguars defense. The Jaguars may not have much to play for with the AFC South clinched and no shot at a bye, but after their poor performance in San Francisco, they will want to enter the postseason by ending the season on a high note.