Every year, NBC chooses their game of the week before the schedule is released, much like ESPN and Monday Night Football. But NBC chooses their Week 17 game a week before the season ends. ESPN doesn't have a MNF game in Week 17. So NBC needs to get this right.
Last year they chose the Bengals at the Jets. The Jets needed to win that game to make the playoffs while the Bengals were already in. New York won 37-0.
This year, I am taking the Week 17 schedule and trying to make the decision for NBC and where to send Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
THIS IS IN NO SPECIFIC ORDER.
Bills @ Jets - Bills have no chance of making the playoffs.
Vikings @ Lions - Vikings have fallen apart all year.
Dolphins @ Patriots - Dolphins will most likely not make the playoffs.
Panthers @ Falcons - Carolina is the worst team in football, and might still have only one win by the time this game comes.
Cardinals @ 49ers - I would have put this higher up, but the Cardinals have no chance of making it without good players.
Bengals @ Ravens - The Bengals have struggled all year, but if the Ravens need to clinch on this day, the Bengals will give them their best effort.
Steelers @ Browns - The Browns are playing spoiler right now, but the Steelers will have likely clinched a playoff spot already.
Jaguars @ Texans - The Jaguars are one of the surprise teams this year, but Houston has a problem.
Cowboys @ Eagles - A rivalry renewed in the last week once again. Dallas has no realistic chance of making the playoffs.
Giants @ Redskins - The Giants could be fighting for the division this week, but the Redskins have no chance of making it.
Chargers @ Broncos - Chargers could make the playoffs by winning this game, but Denver has fallen apart this year.
Rams @ Seahawks - This game should be higher, but it's not because the Rams probably will clinch the division the week before.
Titans @ Colts - A possible division winner showdown here. It would get good rating for TV.
Raiders @ Chiefs - Could we have imagined before the year started that the Raiders and Chiefs could be playing on Sunday Night Football at the same time?
Buccaneers @ Saints - The Buccaneers have been the most surprising team this year in the NFL. Going up against the Super Bowl champion Saints quite possibly for a wild card birth, this game could be interesting.
This rivalry finally has some hope again. The Bears have shocked everyone this year so far and are tied with the Packers for the division lead. It could be a battle for who gets the Wild Card Round bye week in the playoffs.
But whoever NBC chooses to be their two gladiators of the night, I'll be watching, and I'm sure you will be also.