NFL Week 17 Preview: A Game Of Clinches7 min read
So this is it, the final week of the regular season. Normally pretty much everything is decided and teams know roughly who they will face and can think about the playoffs and rest a few of their stars.
Not this season. Few things have been decided, we know most of the playoff teams but not all of their seedings yet. This could be crucial for every teams Superbowl hopes.
The New Orleans Saints have secured home advantage through the playoffs, this was key for them as they have not lost a home playoff game under Sean Payton. They will feel confident of making the Superbowl as they have had an incredible season and will rely on the atmosphere in the dome to spur them towards glory.
So lets have a look at the most crucial games in the last week of the regular season.
Bears @ Vikings
A game that will probably rely on results elsewhere. The Bears still have a chance to be the number two seed and earn a first week bye in the playoffs. For that to happen they will need the Rams to lose. I don’t see that happening. They are facing the 49ers who have the second worst record in the NFL. So if the Rams run away into an early lead I can see the Bears accepting defeat in their pursuit of that number two seeding.
So will the Bears look to rest some of their stars as they look at the playoffs and what could be a realistic run at the big one in February. But I also like the notion that they could eliminate a divisional rival from the playoffs so this will make for a intriguing game.
The Vikings were one game away from the Superbowl last year and the addition of Kirk Cousins was meant to take them that step further. It has not quite been as easy as they hoped. But if he can get his connection with Adam Thielen, which saw Thielen break the consecutive games with 100 yards record, back up and running they will have a chance.
Vikings to win by 1-6 points
Adam Thielen to score a touchdown
Eagles @ Redskins
This should be a straight forward win for the Superbowl champs but even then it may not be enough to make another run into the playoffs. They need a favour from Chicago against Minnesota. As mentioned that game could depend on results elsewhere.
However after a difficult season the Eagles should ignore everything and just look to end the season on a high with a win.
This is why I won’t dwell on this too much as this is a game which has repercussions but is pretty much already known what the result will be. Its the end of the season. This is Nick Foles time. Again.
Zach Ertz to score a touchdown
Nick Foles to score a touchdown
Browns @ Ravens
A simple equation for the Ravens. Win and you’re in. But it isn’t that simple as the Browns are a much different team than last year. I have high hopes for them next season and their positive attitude in free agency and trade window this year will help them bed in their explosive and effective draft picks.
Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield will face off in this one. The first and last pick of the first round of the draft. The last two Heisman Trophy winners. This may be a personal battle in a much bigger war. I don’t see this being an easy game by any means but I do see Baltimore getting the job done. In doing so this would eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers from the playoffs.
For me this will be the game to watch as this is a snapshot of the future of the NFL with two of the most dynamic rookie quarterbacks facing off with the future of their franchises now squarely on their shoulders.
Lamar Jackson to score a touchdown
Ravens to score every quarter
Colts @ Titans
Andrew Luck is some player. After almost two years out of the game with injury he has once again lead his team to the brink of the playoffs, again a win and in situation. He has a bonus of winning every game he has ever played against the titans too.
He is a viable candidate for the MVP given what he has done with nowhere near as talented a squad as his rivals for the crown. With this in mind he will want to secure a return to the playoffs and against a Titans team who you are never quite sure which version will turn up. The ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team in the NFL this year.
TY Hilton to score a touchdown
Colts to score every quarter