NFL Week 17 Preview: Chris Johnson Is About To Make History

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IDecember 31, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 13: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans leaves the field following the game against the St. Louis Rams at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7 as Johnson scored three touchdowns. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We're in the final week of the 2009 NFL regular season, and before we turn the fortunes of the 2009 portion into the hands of 2010 and the next decade, we still have one last glance at some special moments in Week 17.

We've seen some interesting things, some scary things, and some shocking things through the previous 15 games, and we even had quite the wild ride over the course of the offseason.

Even when the 16th regular season game is over for all 32 teams, the story lines still won't be completely over. Even for the teams that won't make the dance, there will still be questions waiting to be answered, positions needing to be filled, and staff changes to be made.

In Week 17, let's take a look at the Five Things to Watch For:

5. Will Playoff Positioning Matter for the Cardinals and/or Packers?

Both teams can still change who their first round matchups will be against, and if Arizona wins and has some games go its way, it could actually be looking at an unlikely No. 2 seed, and a week away from the playoffs.

Neither team is expected to begin resting its starters before halftime, and early reports suggest that this game will be fought to be won. Both teams could stand to improve their seeds and could potentially be fighting for the chance to host a game in the first round.

Then again, who wins or loses this matchup could mean nothing if they still wind up playing each other next week. We'll take the home team. Besides, if the teams go to their backups, are you really going to go with Matt Flynn over Matt Leinart?

Cardinals 27, Packers 21

4. Will Rex Ryan's Tears be of Joy or Anguish?

The Bengals could play spoiler against an average Jets team that has a shot at the playoffs, but considering all New York needs to do is win to get in the playoffs, I somehow see Mark "Sanchize" working some magic and winning over his city (and state) yet again.

After starting the season 3-0, Sanchez and the Jets will once again be on top of the world after beating the Bengals, if only for one week.

Jets 26, Bengals 24

3. Can the Minnesota Vikings End the Regular Season on a High Note?

The Giants didn't show up last week at home with everything on the line, so why should we think anything different on the road against the Vikings? Minnesota can use a weak Giants defense as its playoff launch pad to correct any mistakes.

They still have a long way to go, but ending the season on a high note is probably a necessity to making a serious run in the playoffs.

Vikings 34, Giants 24

2. Will Chris Johnson Break Eric Dickerson's Rushing Record?

Eddie Griffin started the debate earlier in the year, and I seconded it by predicting the same after Week Eight, and after 15 games of torrid running, the possibility still remains.

Chris Johnson is just 128 yards away from breaking 2,000 rushing yards, and would need an extra 105 to tie Eric Dickerson's all-time single-season rushing yardage record.

With the backing of his team (Jeff Fisher wants him to get the record), there is little doubt Johnson will be fed the ball early and often, and with a soft matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, the second-year back truly has a shot at making history.

After 10 consecutive games of 100-plus rushing yards, CJ stands 234 yards away from owning the new record for rushing yards in one season.

Verdict: Against all odds, Johnson will break the record.

1. Who Wins the NFC East?

The Eagles have looked impressive lately and have several experts thinking "team to beat" in the NFC, but a trip to Dallas for the NFC East title and a shot at the No. 2 seed in the playoffs will be too much to swallow.

They're a good team, but so are the Cowboys. Dallas finally rids itself of its "December Curse" by sweeping Philly and stealing the NFC East.

Cowboys 36, Eagles 33

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