|Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports|
Before we get to the postseason, though, we still have the one day to go—and it has the potential to change a lot.
Sure, Week 17 won't mean much for teams like the Dallas Cowboys (locked into the No. 1 seed) or the Cleveland Browns (nearly locked into the No. 1 pick), but there are plenty of playoff implications on the immediate horizon. The Oakland Raiders, for example, can enter the postseason as the AFC's No. 1 seed or as its No. 5 seed depending on how Week 17 unfolds.
We're here to take a look at the entire slate, along with the latest odds, according to OddsShark. We'll be making our picks against the spreads and examining some of the more interesting matchups of sendoff Sunday.
|Dallas at Philadelphia||PHI -4.5||DAL|
|Cleveland at Pittsburgh||PIT -5.5||PIT|
|Buffalo at NY Jets||BUF -3.5||BUF|
|Jacksonville at Indianapolis||IND -4.5||IND|
|New England at Miami||NE -9.5||MIA|
|Chicago at Minnesota||MIN -6.5||CHI|
|Houston at Tennessee||TEN -4||TEN|
|Baltimore at Cincinnati||BAL -1.5||BAL|
|Carolina at Tampa Bay||TB -3.5||TB|
|NY Giants at Washington||WAS -7.5||NYG|
|New Orleans at Atlanta||ATL -7.5||ATL|
|Arizona at Los Angeles||ARI -6.5||ARI|
|Oakland at Denver||DEN -1.5||DEN|
|Seattle at San Francisco||SEA -9||SEA|
|Kansas City at San Diego||KC -4.5||KC|
|Green Bay at Detroit||GB -3.5||GB|
Normally, large spreads in divisional matchups can be a problem. Teams that play each other twice a year often have hotly contested games and experience close outcomes. When the New England Patriots are involved, however, this isn't always the case.
Yet it has been the case for New England when playing the Miami Dolphins in Florida. In fact, the Patriots have lost their last three road games against the Dolphins. This is part of the reason why, despite fully believing the Patriots will win, the Dolphins will cover such a large spread on Sunday.
Both teams have something to play for here, so it should be a competitive matchup. The Patriots can secure the AFC's No. 1 seed with a win, while the Dolphins would move into the No. 5 seed with a win and a Kansas City Chiefs loss.
Don't expect either team to sit healthy starters early in the contest. The Dolphins insist they're playing to win, not to limp into the postseason.
"We have an opportunity to play after Week 17, but our main focus is this week," Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said, per James Walker of ESPN.com. "We’re going to stick to our plan that we’ve had this entire season of not looking past the opponent that we’ve had ahead."
The last time these two teams played, the Patriots leaped out to a 24-3 first-half lead. Yet Miami was still able to pull to within a touchdown before the final whistle. Expect something similar on Sunday, with a late Miami score making the cover.
As we mentioned above, divisional matchups can often be physical, intense and close contests. This is the type of game we expect from the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, even though there is nothing but pride and respect on the line.
Both the Bengals and the Ravens have been eliminated from playoff contention, but Baltimore does have a little something extra to play for. There's a good chance this will be the final NFL game for wide receiver Steve Smith.
"Football is a conduit," Smith said, per NFL Media's Kevin Patra. "It's a platform, good and bad, but it gives you an opportunity. Football's given me probably more than I probably could give football back. For 2016-17 and beyond, it is probably my last game."
The Ravens would probably love nothing more than to send Smith out with a victory.
While the Bengals will still be playing for pride, they'll be playing shorthanded and against a team that may possess more motivation to win. We're going with the Ravens here.
Green Bay at Detroit
Perhaps the biggest game of the day will be the matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Unsurprisingly, the league decided to make it the final game of the day—and the regular season.
The winner will become the NFC North champion, while the loser could miss the playoffs entirely. If the Washington Redskins defeat the New York Giants earlier in the day, the only way both the Packers and Lions get into the playoffs is with a tie.
The spread in this game isn't huge, but a motivated Packers team will win by roughly a touchdown here. Green Bay has ripped off five straight victories. The Lions have lost two in a row. It might also be worth noting that the Lions have only beaten one team with a winning record this year.
While neither defense has been terrific this season, the Packers have at least shown improvement over the latter half of the campaign. Pro Football Focus rates Green Bay 15th in overall defense for the year, while Detroit is rated 29th.
This game could well come down to defense, as each team fields a quality quarterback capable of delivering in clutch situations. Matthew Stafford has led Detroit to eight fourth-quarter comebacks this season. Aaron Rodgers has led the Packers from the brink of a lost season to the doorstep of the playoffs.
Expect the Lions to make it interesting late but the Packers clamp down and prevent them from pulling to within a field goal.
NFL Fantasy Football Week 17 live blog: Rankings, inactives, expert picks, latest on Tony Romo
The final week of the NFL's regular season is upon us -- and there's still plenty to sort out before the postseason begins next week. While the AFC's playoff field is set, the order is not. And in the NFC, there are still a few teams still alive and hoping to make it in. We sort it all out right here.
Week 17 schedule*
- Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
- Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
- Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
- Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
- New England at Miami, 1 p.m.
- Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
- Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.
- Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
- Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
- New Orleans at Atlanta, 4:25 p.m.
- N.Y. Giants at Washington, 4:25 p.m.
- Arizona at L.A. Rams, 4:25 p.m.
- Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m.
- Kansas City at San Diego, 4:25 p.m.
- Seattle at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.
- Green Bay at Detroit, 8:30 p.m.
5 Bold Predictions For Washington Redskins vs. Giants NFL Week 17
The Washington Redskins are getting ready to play the biggest game of their season. Here are some bold predictions for the contest.
Game day is here. The most important contest of the 2016 season is about get underway. The Redskins playoff lives are on the line, and they need a win to get into the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Nothing is guaranteed, but a win would almost certainly get them in as the sixth seed.
To do this, they must go through the New York Giants. The Giants have put together a stellar season, and they have a 10-5 record coming into the game. They have already clinched the No. 5 seed in the NFC, and will finish second in the NFC East. The Giants are going to put their best foot forward and try to knock off the Redskins.
With all of that said, this is going to be a very exciting game for the Redskins. They will be motivated to win, but anything can happen. Here is a look at some bold predictions for the game.
5. Giants Pull Starters After 1 Quarter Of Play
All week, many have wondered about how much the Giants would actually play their starter. Frankly, they have little incentive to play them the whole game, as the team is locked into the No. 5 seed in the NFC. The only thing they could play for is to potentially knock the Redskins out of the playoffs, but in this circumstance, it may not be entirely worth it to risk the health of their best players to do so.
Head coach Ben McAdoo is going to have a choice to make. What matters more: knocking a rival out of the postseason race, or ensuring that his own team is ready for the postseason? He should choose the latter, as the Giants are going to have a chance to knock off whatever team ends up as the fourth seed in the playoffs.
Still, the Giants should give their starters some playing time. The last thing they want to do is have their team completely out of rhythm heading to the postseason. That said, it seems likely that they will take them out if the team can put together a couple of good drives.
For this reason, I think that the Giants starters will see the bench by the end of the first quarter. There is simply no incentive to play, and the risks to the health of the starters is too great. The Redskins are going to be playing an intense game, and the Giants do not want any of their key players to fall victim to their play.
4. Will Compton Leads Team In Tackles
When Will Comtpon missed the Redskins Week 15 game against the Panthers, his absence was felt. The team struggled to stop the run and they too often looked lost in coverage. The team needed their leader, and they got him back for a portion of last week’s contest.
With Compton back in the fold, the Redskins were much better last week. The defense looked far more comfortable figuring out the Bears offensive attack, and the sub packages were able to learn their plays in a more effective manner. In short, Compton’s presence is key to the Redskins, and he should show his value in Week 17.
If Compton can see the field long enough, he should be able to lead the Redskins in tackles. Compton will be able to slow the Giants’ rushing attack and should put great coverage on the team’s tight ends. At the end of the day, seeing him with 8-10 tackles should be expected, and that should be enough to lead the team in that category.
3. Deshazor Everett Records Another Interception
This week, Deshazor Everett is set to reprise his role from a couple of weeks ago as the third safety. He occupied that role in the team’s matchup against the Eagles, when Will Blackmon missed time with an injury. Now, Donte Whitner is out for the season, and Duke Ihenacho is set to step into the starting lineup. This will actually open up some more playing time for Everett on defense, and he could end up playing well.
Everett has some great coverage skills. He played the cornerback position in college, and he should be able to succeed on passing downs. In addition to that, Everett is a hard hitter and has proven that he can make tackles. Against the Giants, he should see a role in coverage situations, and could even operate as a combination type player, given the weaknesses in the Washington secondary.
Because of this, Everett should have a chance to make some plays. I would imagine that the Giants are planning on targeting the safety position, but they may be surprised if they try to bully Everett. He simply has a solid skill set, and is one of the more underappreciated players on the Redskins squad.
Perhaps Everett will get some more respect if he posts another interception in this game. The last time he was the No. 3 safety, he was able to get it. I see no reason why he could not repeat here in Week 17.
2. Pierre Garcon Records 100 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
The Giants have a really strong secondary, but the real question is, how long will their stars play? As I said earlier, I think that their top options will be out by the end of the first quarter. That said, the backups are still relatively strong, but they could have some serious issues with Pierre Garcon.
The veteran receiver has put together one of the most impressive seasons of his career. Operating a one of the top options for Kirk Cousins, Garcon has been extremely consistent all season. He is just 55 yards short of his second 1,000 yard season of his career and his first since 2013.
Garcon should be able to use his physicality to get an edge on some of the Giants defensive backs. Provided that he is not covered by Janoris Jenkins for long, he should be able to break away for some of the 10-15 yard receptions that we have been seeing from the veteran all season.
At the end of the day, do not be surprised to see Garcon record over 100 yards receiving. He has to be motivated to get over the 1,000 yard mark, and he could see some red zone targets as well. Two touchdowns seems to be the ceiling for him in this game, but he certainly could do it.
1. Kirk Cousins Throws For 300 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Kirk Cousins is about to play the biggest game of his career. He is once again in a contract year, and getting to the playoffs would give him some extra leverage in regards to a lucrative extension. For this reason, and the fact that he is a major competitor, I think that Cousins should put together a very strong game.
The Giants are going to try and get Cousins off of his game early, but he will be ready to play his game. If the Redskins can establish a run game, then that will open things up downfield for Cousins. They just need to keep the Giants honest, and they should be able to do that.
Once the game opens up, then Cousins will be able to pick and choose his matchups. Provided that he gets ample time in the pocket, he should be able to dissect the Giants defense and find the open man. The Redskins are going to have all of their receiving weapons available for the game, so that will make Cousins’ job a lot easier.
Cousins is going to have to lead the Redskins to victory. If he can do that, then the team will be happy. In order to do that, I think that he will post over 300 yards passing and will toss at least three touchdowns on the day. He should be ready for the limelight. If he is not, then the offseason should be interesting.