NFL Week 17 – What to Watch

NFL Week 17

It’s going to be a weird week.  Only three games feature two teams with winning records.  Four games have both teams under .500. Only two playoff spots are up for grabs.  One wildcard in the AFC, where 7-8 Oakland can leap-frog not one, not two but three 8-7 teams if the chips fall in the right places…and the NFC East title, where the 7-8 Cowboys will play 3-12 Washington to see if they can sneak in.  Weird. Happy Holidays everyone.

Cardinals at Rams: Sunday, 12.29 4:25 pm ET.

Like I said, there are only three games that feature two winning teams this week, so here’s the best of the rest.

What to watch for:  Potential. These two NFC West foes won’t make the playoffs this season, but Kyler Murray is proving to be every bit as exciting as advertised, and the Rams have shown glimpses of the team they were last season en route to the Super Bowl.  They can get back. Arizona can improve around Murray. Seattle isn’t going anywhere…ever, and San Francisco has a solid foundation for years to come. Point is… the NFC West could be crazy, crazy competitive next season.  

Titans at Texans: Sunday, 12.29 4:25 pm ET. 

An early playoff game.  It’s win and you’re in for Tennessee, who controls their fate in the final AFC Wild Card slot. 

What to watch for:  Tennessee might have the lead, but Pittsburgh, and Oakland are on their heels if the slip up in the tough road test.  So, it’s gut check time for a team that’s been just north of mediocrity (9-7) for three years running. Ryan Tannehill has given the team some new fire, but is it meaningful if he can’t get them into the playoffs?

Steelers at Ravens: Sunday 12.29 4:25 pm ET. 

Yes.  I realize that all these games are on at the same time.  I don’t make the schedule.  

What to watch for: A weirdly competitive game.  With the personnel losses piling up in Pittsburgh, it’s hard to imagine that they can still play in the postseason, but they can.  They just need to beat the best team in the NFL to do it. But here’s the rub. Baltimore will be resting starters. A lot of them, in hopes of getting healthy and fresh before the divisional round.  Pittsburgh can take advantage…or can they?

49ers at Seahawks, Sunday 12.29 8:20 pm ET. 

This one is the big prize. Both teams are in, but they can both get the number one seed and homefield throughout… oh…and then there’s #beastmode.

What to watch for:  The return of the Skittle monster.  Marshawn Lynch will be there, returning to the team that he elevated in their hour of need, following a slew of injuries to the team’s first, second and third string running backs.  High stakes game to make your return after two years away from the game but do your thing Marshawn. The fact that both of these teams are headed to the playoffs anyway won’t make a bit of difference.  It’s go-time for these rivals who don’t exactly like each other. It’s going to be a doozy.  

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Image Source: USA Today

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