The Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs; they are locked into the fifth seed. The New York Jets are going home and hoping to avoid a ten-loss season. The Jets’ disappointing season was put in motion with a fourth-quarter collapse. The Bills rallied and had a great year while the Jets bad start doomed everything. As Adam Gase deals with more problems, he will likely return, which is bad for New York long term. As for this game, the Bills will try to finish strong, but the game could go different if the Bills decide to rest players.
The New Orleans Saints could still get home-field if they get the help they need. They could be anywhere from the third seed to the first seed in the NFC Playoffs. With a bye week in play, the Saints will bring their best. The Carolina Panthers meanwhile have long since mailed it in.
The Cincinnati Bengals have won just one game this year and already have the number one pick locked up. The Cleveland Browns meanwhile had their ups and downs and failed to live up to lofty expectations. The Bengals will do their best to end things on a positive note as Andy Dalton likely has his Cincinnati swan song. The Browns meanwhile will be looking forward to going home as there are deeper issues at play that could lead to some changes in Cleveland.
The Green Bay Packers will at least get a bye with a win. The Detroit Lions are just glad this season is over as the loss of Matthew Stafford derailed the entire season. The Packers have been strong in the division and great against weaker teams. This should be a rather easy win for Green Bay.
The Kansas City Chiefs will need a miracle to get a bye as they need a Dolphins’ win in Foxboro. Expect to see the Chiefs give rests in the second half to several key players. The Los Angeles Chargers have been schizophrenic all season. They have been mostly bad as Phillip Rivers has had an awful year. The Chiefs have always been able to hand the Chargers, and this should lead to another Kansas City win in Arrowhead.
The Minnesota Vikings suffered a devastating loss on Monday, ending any chance of winning the division. They are locked into the sixth seed and will have to begin focusing on the playoffs. The Chicago Bears have been a disappointment and need a win to finish .500. With the Vikings focusing on resting for next week, the Bears get the opening to get the win in Minnesota.
The New England Patriots have been a first or second seed every year this decade. That is on the line as they host the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. A win, and that trend will continue. The Dolphins have had to scrap and claw their way to four wins and will not even get a chance to keep this one close as the Patriots quickly put this one out of reach, allowing their stars to rest much of the second half.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to win this game to finish .500, as Jameis Winston, with free agency coming up, will seek to finish strong to get the max deal he seeks. The Bucs quarterback has been widely erratic as he leads the league in passing yards and is among the leaders in touchdown passes. However, he also leads in interceptions. The Atlanta Falcons have had their ups and downs too and will be undergoing some change as Dan Quinn will have a defensive coordinator joining his staff next year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need a win to have a shot at reaching the playoffs. The Baltimore Ravens have home field and will be resting most of their players out of fear of injury, knowing the brutal history of this rivalry. Look for the Steelers to win this game easily as Robert Griffin III will not be able to carry the load with Lamar Jackson, clearing the mantle for his MVP in street clothes to finish the regular season.
The Dallas Cowboys can still win the division if the Eagles stumble in the Meadowlands. With that being said, they will continue their dominance over the Washington Redskins at home. The Cowboys are a team that could be in for an off-season of change even if they make the playoffs. Knowing this, look for the Cowboys to bring their best effort.
The Oakland Raiders still have a shot at the playoffs if the Steelers and Titans both falter in their games. This is unlikely. Even if both teams stumble, the Raiders are not assured of a win, as the Denver Broncos with rookie quarterback Drew Lock looking to finish strong will put forth a strong effort. The Raiders meanwhile are too unreliable and will again go down in disappointment.
The Tennessee Titans need a win to make the playoffs. The Houston Texans have won the AFC South and will be locked into the fourth seed and game against the tough Bills defense. Expect the Texans to rest up, especially with Will Fuller out. The Titans will take advantage and get the win in Houston.
The Indianapolis Colts are playing for pride alone as they need a win to finish .500. The Colts have played with pride all season as they defied expectations after the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck. The Jacksonville Jaguars meanwhile have been embarrassing most of the second half and have shown little pride as they have been chewed up and spit out all year.
The Arizona Cardinals stunned the Seahawks last week in Seattle, but don’t expect them to do the same against the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals always play well in Seattle but never played well against the Rams. Look for the Rams to go out and end their disappointing season end on a high note.
The Philadelphia Eagles need to win the game to make the playoffs as the division in their hands. A win and they are in. The Eagles have had their way with the New York Giants in recent years. The Giants have won their last two games and will look to end the season on a high note as Daniel Jones will hope to follow up his five-touchdown game. However, with the Eagles needing this win, expect to see the Eagles bring their best effort.
It has been a strange season for the Seattle Seahawks, as they have struggled at home, losing three games in front of the fame 12th man. This game will decide the NFC West and who is getting home field in the NFC. A win for the San Francisco 49ers, and they are the top seed. If the Seahawks win the division, they will likely still play in the Wild Card Game as they are keyed to the third seed. The Seahawks’ lack of a running game will hurt as Marshawn Lynch will not be ready, and that will lead to a loss in the final game of the regular season as the Seahawks will settle for the Wild Card.