Breaking Down the 5 Biggest Week 17 NFL Games
Although many fantasy football seasons have ended the NFL plays through Week 17 of the regular season. Each one of the games in Week 17 has huge implications in one-way or another.
Those teams that have clinched a playoff spot are playing to carry momentum into the playoffs. Who wants to go into the playoffs with a loss? Many of those teams can earn a better seed, and possibly home-field advantage with a win.
Week 17 will make the difference between division champion and wild card for some teams, which dramatically affects the playoff matchups.
For those teams who have no chance to make the playoffs, some may play the role of spoiler. If they can pull an upset, they could knock another team out of the playoffs.
Some would argue these teams might as well lose to give them a better draft pick come April, but as Herm Edwards said best, “You play to win the game!”
And for those teams fighting for their playoff lives Week 17 feels like, and basically is a playoff game. Everything is on the line for these teams, and they feel it.
No matter what the case, every NFL team is playing for something. Here are the five biggest NFL games of the Week 17 slate.
5. New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
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Plus, the Jets have reached the AFC Championship game each of the past two seasons as the Wild Card. So, if the Jets somehow do make it in they’re dangerous. There is no question the rest of the playoff teams would rather face Cincinnati or Oakland as opposed to the Jets.
Miami will look to build on some late-season success and carry momentum into next season. Reggie Bush has run with a vengeance recently. Brandon Marshall is back to his old-self making big plays downfield. This will be no cakewalk for the Jets.
This should be a close game in Miami, but I see the Jets escaping with a win. Brandon Marshall should be lost on Revis Island, and the Jets run defense should hold Reggie Bush in check.
However, I do not see the Jets making the playoffs. All Rex Ryan’s empty promises will come crashing down on the Jets once again.
4. San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
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The Oakland Raiders play host to the San Diego Chargers in a must-win game. The Raiders need a win and a Broncos loss to win the AFC West, and earn the fourth seed in the playoffs.
The Chargers will be looking to end their dreadful season at .500 with a win Sunday. Although the Chargers had been playing better of late, it’s just too little too late for the Bolts.
The Raiders should have no lack of motivation going into this contest. Oakland will need to get their ground game going. A possible return of Darren McFadden would help that cause.
I see the Chargers falling short in the Black Hole. The Chargers have packed it in at this point, while the Raiders will be playing for their playoff lives.
The Raiders will take care of business at home and than pray that Tebow’s magic runs out in Denver.
3. Kansas City at Denver Broncos
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Who would have thought the Denver Broncos would be in this position when Tebow became the starting quarterback? Tebow has led the Broncos to a 7-3 record as the starter. One more win at home and the Broncos win the AFC West and make the playoffs.
The Chiefs are here to play spoiler just as they did to the Packers perfect season a couple weeks ago. One can imagine nothing would please Kyle Orton more than to lead the Chiefs to a victory in Denver that knocks the Broncos out of the playoffs.
Of course, even if Denver loses, an Oakland loss also gets Denver in the playoffs.
The Tebow bandwagon will keep on rolling all the way to the playoffs. This should be a fairly close game. The only games Denver has lost with Tebow as the starter has been blowouts.
Kansas City is not explosive enough to make the lead insurmountable. Tebow will once again come through in the clutch, and take the Broncos to the playoffs.
2. Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
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The Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in a similar position to the Denver Broncos. A team left for dead prior to the season now finds themselves a win away from the playoffs.
When the Bengals host the Ravens, Paul Brown Stadium will be sold out for only the second time this season. If the Bengals lose to the Ravens they can still make it in with a Jets loss, and a loss by either the Broncos or Raiders.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Baltimore is not going to take this game lightly as they have much to play for as well. With a win the Ravens would take the AFC North crown and get a No.2 seed, possibly a No.1 seed if the Patriots fall to the Bills.
Both teams see this as a playoff game. This should be a pretty low scoring affair. Whichever team makes more costly mistakes will lose this one. The Bengals need to establish the run game to keep the Ravens defense guessing.
With the Bengals stadium rocking, I see Andy Dalton coming through once again and taking the Bengals to the playoffs in his rookie season.
1. Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
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This, for all intensive purposes, is a playoff game. When the Dallas Cowboys travel to New York to take on the Giants Sunday night, the NFC East will be on the line. The winner is in the playoffs, and loser goes home.
The Giants appear to be the favorites coming off a big win against the Jets. It was only a few weeks ago that the Giants came back from a deficit and beat the Cowboys on the road.
The Cowboys appear to have caught the injury bug at the wrong time. Having already lost stud running back DeMarco Murray for the season, Tony Romo suffered a bruised throwing hand, and Felix Jones had been dealing with a sore hamstring.
Romo and Jones will give it a go Sunday night, but we will see how the injuries affect them. With all the criticisms Romo has dealt with, this game is a perfect opportunity for him to show he can play big in big games.
I like the Giants' ability to rush the passer, and run the football. These two things will make the difference.
I see Eli Manning and the Giants handing Jerry Jones’ Cowboys another heartbreaking loss.