The AFC South and NFC East titles are up for grabs in addition to the No. 1 seed within the NFC and the potential finish of an 17-year playoff drought.
Because the calendar turns to 2021, the NFL is experiencing just about what it covets. Strive two division races, and 5 wild-card berths out of six nonetheless undecided.
To not go unnoticed, naturally, is that the league is about to complete a whole schedule on time, with a couple of postponements however not practically the disruptions plaguing the opposite main sports activities organizations in 2020.
The main focus in Week 17 will vary from coast to coast. Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee and Indianapolis are chasing postseason qualification within the AFC, whereas the Cardinals, Rams, Bears, Giants, Cowboys and Washington search NFC spots.
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Each contenders for this division face NFL tailenders. The Titans have all the things of their management, whereas the Colts want help.
Tennessee (10-5) at Houston (4-11)
“It doesn’t get any extra clear than it’s for us proper now,” Titans quarterback Ryan Tanneill says. “We win this sport, discover a technique to win, win the division. That’s one of many issues we set out to do that 12 months. It’s fairly clear what we have to do. We simply need to exit and make it occur.”
To take action, and take the AFC South for the primary time since 2008, they will actually depend on Derrick Henry. He is assured of repeating as NFL speeding champ, the primary since Corridor of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006-07. Henry has a career-high 1,777 yards speeding and ran for 212 yards in his most up-to-date sport in opposition to the Texans. He had 211 yards speeding final 12 months in Houston, so reaching the elusive 2,000-yard degree is feasible
Jacksonville (1-14) at Indianapolis (10-5)
Indy misplaced a direct path to the postseason by falling at Pittsburgh final week. So the Colts must deal with the league’s worst group, then get assist.
Indianapolis wants a win and a loss by Baltimore, Cleveland, Miami or Tennessee to make it. However Colts veterans declare they will not be watching the scoreboards.
“Me personally, will probably be actual simple,” linebacker Justin Houston says. “I’ve a job to do and that’s enjoying in opposition to the Jags. I can’t deal with the rest. For those who do deal with the rest, it would turn into a distraction from what you actually need to do. I can’t let that be a distraction.”
Jacksonville owns the highest total choice in April’s draft, and will carry a 15-game slide into an offseason when Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence figures to be that choose.
It is fairly easy, actually — at the least on this woeful division. A Washington victory provides it the division crown. In any other case, the winner of the sport on the Meadowlands will get in; we’re not stepping into any situations with ties.
Washington (6-9) at Philadelphia (4-10-1)
Washington blew its first shot to clinch a playoff spot by shedding at house to Carolina. It tries once more, hoping veteran quarterback Alex Smith has recovered sufficient from a calf damage to go. In any other case, it is journeyman Taylor Heinicke.
“We perceive the state of affairs,” working again J.D. McKissic mentioned. “You’ll be able to simply inform guys are laser-focused on the market (at apply). There’s not a lot speaking and when there’s, it’s about soccer. Guys are simply able to play.”
Dallas (6-9) at New York Giants (5-10)
An atrocious protection has made a little bit of a turnaround in Massive D: The Cowboys have 10 takeaways of their three-game successful streak. That they had 11 within the first 12 video games.
Andy Dalton has settled in properly at quarterback, too. Ezekiel Elliott, regardless of a mediocre efficiency in 2020, wants 63 yards speeding for 1,000 this season, his fourth such output in 5 seasons.
New York has a somewhat-hobbled Daniel Jones at quarterback and has dropped three straight. LB Blake Martinez has 140 tackles, his fourth straight season with at the least that many.
The Steelers broke an unsightly three-game skid with an enormous second half to beat Indianapolis and earn the division title. Cleveland will get a wild card with a win, would want assist ought to it fail.
Baltimore additionally heads to the postseason by beating the Bengals.
Pittsburgh (12-3) at Cleveland (10-5)
Regardless of the juicy prospect of probably extending their despised rivals’ postseason exclusion, now at 17 seasons, the Steelers will relaxation a bunch of regulars, together with Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh’s 52 sacks lead the NFL, placing the Steelers able to high the league a fourth straight season.
A number of COVID-19 points stay for Cleveland, but it surely ought to have its dynamic backfield combo of Nick Chubb, who’s 41 yards in need of 1,000 speeding, and Kareem Hunt. Chubb’s obtained 11 touchdowns regardless of lacking 4 video games, together with the sooner loss in opposition to Pittsburgh, with a sprained knee.
Baltimore (10-5) at Cincinnati (4-10-1)
Throughout their four-game successful streak, the Ravens have averaged 37 factors and 233.Three yards speeding per sport. QB Lamar Jackson has thrown eight TD passes and run for 4 scores throughout that stretch.
The Seahawks personal the division crown and will get the highest total seed. In LA, the winner of Cardinals-Rams advances.
Arizona (8-7) at Los Angeles Rams (9-6)
The Cardinals want a win to get a wild-card spot, whereas the Rams require a win or a loss by the Bears. Usually, with Rams coach Sean McVay 7-Zero in opposition to Arizona — six wins by double digits and a 233-84 combination rating — that may not appear too difficult. However quarterback Jared Goff, as inconsistent as he has been, could possibly be severely missed after thumb surgical procedure. His alternative, John Wolford, would make his first NFL begin.
Arizona’s protection has come round. Over the previous three video games, it has 17 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, eight pressured fumbles and 24 quarterback hits. LB Haason Reddick has 7½ sacks and 6 pressured fumbles over the previous three video games, and a career-high 12½ sacks this season.
Seattle (11-4) at San Francisco (6-9)
The high-scoring Seahawks have received 12 of the previous 14 within the sequence. They are going to be no worse than the No. Three seed within the NFC playoffs, can transfer as much as No. 2 with a win and loss by Inexperienced Bay, and could possibly be the No. 1 seed with a win and losses by each the Packers and Saints. With 20 factors on Sunday, the Seahawks would set a franchise file for a season with 453.
The Niners are enjoying their third “house” sport in Arizona after being relocated due to coronavirus protocols. They misplaced the primary two, however received at this stadium because the street group final week vs. the Cardinals.
No, not the Patriots on high. For the primary time since 1995, Buffalo received this division, snapping New England’s 11-year run. After all, the Patriots had Tom Brady for these seasons.
Miami (10-5) at Buffalo (12-3)
The Payments have received the previous 4 conferences to match their longest win streak over the Dolphins since a team-best six-game run spanning the 1987-89 seasons. However with a victory, Miami would clinch solely its third postseason berth since 2001. It could possibly even get in with a loss and assist elsewhere.
Miami will play at Buffalo in January for the primary time since 1991. In December, it has misplaced three in a row there by a mixed rating of 85-33. However the Dolphins have allowed the NFL’s fewest factors at 18.Eight per sport, and may lead that class for a full season for the primary time since 1998.
New York Jets (2-13) at New England (6-9)
Can the Jets, already assured the No. 2 total choose within the draft, end by successful three straight video games in what probably is Adam Gase’s final outing as coach?
The Patriots have received the previous 9 conferences. The Jets haven’t received in Foxborough within the common season since 2008.
Ought to the Packers beat their greatest rivals, they safe the NFC’s solely bye, making certain the trail to the Tremendous Bowl goes by way of Lambeau Discipline. SHIVER!!!!
A Chicago win places the Bears into the postseason and eliminates the loser of Cardinals-Rams.
Inexperienced Bay (12-3) at Chicago (8-7)
Though the Packers clinched the division some time in the past, they should go full-out as a result of a loss might sink them to the third seed.
“We each have one thing to play for,” says Aaron Rodgers, who’s led Inexperienced Bay to 5 consecutive victories. “We’re enjoying for the (No.) 1 seed, they’re enjoying for his or her playoff lives, so there’s so much at stake for each squads. We obtained after them a couple of weeks in the past; they’ve been enjoying so much higher since then. We all know what sort of sport it’s going to be.”
Minnesota (6-9) at Detroit (5-10)
And we all know what sort of sport this will probably be: price ignoring.
The Saints clinched even when they end with the identical file because the Bucs as a result of they swept Tampa Bay.
New Orleans (11-4) at Carolina (5-10)
The Saints get the No. 1 seed with a win, a Packers loss and a Seahawks win. New Orleans is searching for to turn into the primary group to complete 6-Zero within the NFC South because the division was shaped in 2002. And Alvin Kamara comes off a sport for the ages: an NFL record-tying six TDs (all speeding) in opposition to the Vikings. He leads the NFL with a franchise-record 21 touchdowns,
Carolina has a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.
Atlanta (4-11) at Tampa Bay (10-5)
Brady helped the Bucs smash their playoff drought courting to the 2008 season, and has been in postseason kind the previous few weeks. The previous man (43) would possibly get a while off on this one earlier than a probable wild-card sport on the NFC East “winner.”
Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) at Kansas Metropolis (14-1)
The reigning Tremendous Bowl champio n Chiefs can match the 2011 Packers for the very best file by a Tremendous Bowl champion with a win. They have already got set a membership file for victories in a season and have received 10 straight video games. Yet another would break the franchise file, however coach Andy Reid will probably be resting a bunch of regulars.
LA has received three in a row and seemingly discovered a franchise quarterback in rookie Justin Herbert.
Las Vegas (7-8) at Denver (5-10)
If ending .500 of their first season in Sin Metropolis means something to the Raiders, then there’s some significance right here. In any other case, properly, there’s loads of different NFL motion to concentrate to.
AP Professional Soccer Author Teresa M. Walker and Sports activities Author Michael Marot contributed.