It’s Week 17, and the Miami Dolphins need to win to assure themselves a playoff berth. The Buffalo Bills won the AFC East and will have a home playoff game for the first time in 24 years. There is no bye for the second seed, so the Bills may not have their starters in long, which would help Miami, who will not be able to go to Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the game this week after he tested positive for COVID. Look for Tua to do enough to get the Dolphins into the playoffs.
The Cincinnati Bengals have won their last two games, but the Baltimore Ravens needing a win to get into the playoffs, have played like a team on a mission the past three weeks. Lamar Jackson has returned to his 2019 MVP level as the Ravens have done damage. Look for that trend to continue as the Ravens win this one going away.
After their loss to the Jets last week, the Cleveland Browns must win their final game to end their 18-year playoff drought. The Pittsburgh Steelers have clinched the AFC North and will be resting up for the playoffs. This includes Mason Rudolph starting for Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. The Browns will get the win, but it will be a struggle to overcome their COVID troubles from last week.
Two teams in the NFC North ending disappointing seasons. The Minnesota Vikings can avoid a ten-loss season with a win, whatever that is worth. The Detroit Lions are already in for a year of change, with Matthew Stafford likely among those finding new homes. This one feels like a Lions loss as they already have their bags packed and cannot wait for the game to be over.
The New England Patriots are assured of their first losing season since 2000; the New York Jets have spoiled the tank with two straight wins. Cam Newton has been nothing but a disaster in Foxboro and will likely not return next season. The Jets have already informed Adam Gase he will not return, this one will not be pretty, but the Patriots will get the win as Jarret Stidham could get in the game early.
The winner of this game will be in a position to win the NFC East if Washington loses on Sunday Night. There is not a single team that deserves to win the division and be in the playoffs as all teams have nine or more losses. The Dallas Cowboys are playing their best football as Andy Dalton knowing how to win a division and lose playoff games, has led the way. The New York Giants are reeling as Daniel Jones has fans wonder should the Giants take another quarterback in the draft.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have nothing to play for and have several players on the COVID list. Expect this one to have the feel of a Week 4 preseason game, as the Atlanta Falcons hoping to end the season on a positive note playing Tampa for the second time in three weeks gets the win as the Buccaneers focus on next week’s Wild Card round.
The Chicago Bears are surging and need to win their final game to get into the playoffs. Mitch Trubisky has been impressive, likely buying himself and Matt Nagy another season in the Windy City. However, dreams will be shattered on Sunday, as the archrival Green Bay Packers needing a win for the playoff bye, march into Soldier Field and get a win, albeit a close one.
After playing well early in the season, the Las Vegas Raiders have come up craps in the second half, five of their last six games. The lone win a miracle finish against the Jets. Last week they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by grabbing Ryan Fitzpatrick’s face mask. Drew Lock has shown flashes for the Denver Broncos and will end his season on a positive note as the Raiders’ secondary struggles again.
The Jacksonville Jaguars upended the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 and have not won since. They have the number one picked clinched, but the Colts need a win and help make the playoffs. The Colts have made a tradition of losing in Week 1 and will go out and put this game to bed early as they hope it will be enough to get into the playoffs as 11 wins may not be enough.
At 14-1, the Kansas City Chiefs have home field locked up as they pursue a Super Bowl repeat. The Chiefs, with a bye secured, will be resting many stars, including Patrick Mahomes. The Los Angeles Chargers will likely have several changes in the offseason, but they hope to finish strong to build upon for next season. Look for Justin Herbert to have a big day as the Chargers end the year with four straight wins.
With a win, the Arizona Cardinals can get in the playoffs, despite their awful game last week against the 49ers. The Los Angeles Rams will also make the playoffs with a win, but after losses to the Jets and Seahawks, they are now up the preverbal creek as Jared Goff is out. The Rams offense has sputtered with Goff the past two weeks. Without him, they will be helpless.
A nightmare season comes to an end for the San Francisco 49ers, who have not been allowed to go home in six weeks due to COVID protocols in Santa Clara. Playing their third home game in Arizona, they hope to end the year on a positive note. The Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, look to carry their momentum into the playoffs. The Seahawks may rest some stars in the second half, but their defense will be the one that needs to work and gets the win.
After his six touchdowns on Christmas, Alvin Kamara was fined for his Christmas shoes by NFL Commissioner Roger Scrooge Goodell. However, the worst news is that Kamara has tested positive for COVID and will miss this game, and is iffy for the playoffs. The Saints need a win and help to get a bye, but with that unlikely, they will focus on resting for next week and open the door for the Carolina Panthers to get the win.
Last week J.J. Watt called out his teammates as a frustrating season came to a boil for the Houston Texans. The worst part is they traded away their draft pick that could be as high as #3. The damage Bill O’Brien did will last for years in Houston. The Tennessee Titans will win the division with a win. Facing a Texans team that is toxic and already thinking of going home, it will be like shooting fish in a barrel as Derrick Henry makes a case for MVP with 200 yards.
The Washington Football Team began the year as the team with no name, will end it as the team with no quarterback. Needing a win for the third straight week, Washington is forced to start Taylor Heinicke. Alex Smith is still unable to play with a thigh injury; an injury made more serious by his nearly fatal leg injury in 2018. Dwayne Haskins, who started the last two weeks, was released Monday as his attitude rubbed coach Ron Rivera the wrong way. Taylor Heinicke could not even start for his XFL team. This one will hurt as Jalen Hurts leads the Philadelphia Eagles to a win that ends Washington’s season.