NFL Week 17 and the 2020 Playoff Picture is starting to take shape. In the AFC the Chiefs, Bills, and Steelers have all clinched and in the NFC we have the Packers, Saints, Seahawks, Buccaneers. So who is in the hunt and who is on the bubble? Which teams need to shoot their shot and what teams need to just reset for next year? What should NFL fans look forward to in Week 17? Week 16 sure did stir up the pot.
Stirring up the most drama were the New York Jets. They have figured out a way to make an impact on this season without winning the title of the Worst Team in NFL History. Everyone thought that it was a freak of nature when the Jets beat the Rams in Week 15 but then they managed to win last Sunday against the Browns 23-20 in OT. Between the Jets’ last two wins, COVID 19, and Ben Roethlisberger not starting, only the Kansas City Chiefs have clinched the top seed in the AFC.
In the Hunt for the AFC:
The Titans need to just beat the Texans Sunday to clinch the AFC South title. Even with a lose there is still multiple ways for them to earn a wild-card. Out side of Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt, Houston has been dreadful all season so expect the Titans to wrap up the AFC South title.
The Ravens and the Browns are on life support. The Ravens have won their last four straight games and SHOULD beat the Bengals on Sunday. The kicker here is that the Bengals have won 12 of their past 13 home finales.
The Browns are heading to Pittsburgh, bad news/good news? Good News, the Steelers may opt to rest their starting line-up including Roethlisberger. They have already clinched the AFC North championship and would only be looking to eliminate a division rival. The bad news, the Browns continue to add to the COVID-19 list and they are also 0-7 against the Steelers. The odds are just not in their favor on Sunday. Cleveland should take the opportunity to look at some fresh talent for next year and allow some of the rookies to get some time on the field. Knowing the Browns it will be a dog fight till the very end.
The Colts are playing the Jaguars, so it’s not a surprise that they will make a playoff spot. The surprise will be with the Miami Dolphins. This is going to be a game to watch for sure. Why? The Dolphins will upset the Bills and take a win back to Miami along with a wild card slot. This is the first time since 2016 the Dolphins have had the chance to reach the playoffs and they are on fire right now. I don’t see them letting this game slip away from them. Tua and Fitzpatrick have become the dynamic QB Duo. Where one is less confident the other is dominating.
The Hunt for the NFC:
No. 1, 2, and 3 Seeds are all up for grabs. There are 5-6 different scenarios on how this can all play out in Week 17.
The Packers need to beat the Bears to lock up the No. 1 seed but the Bears are playing for their postseason life. Green Bay has very little to play for but thanks to the 49ers the Bears have found their way into a wild card spot with a win on Sunday. This is the second time the Packers and Bears will match up this season and the Bears have found some momentum since Week 12. Mitchell Trubisky found something the second half of the first game against Green Bay and he has been hot ever since and their offense is clicking. Watch for the Bears to win this Sunday and stir up the playoff honey pot.
The Seahawks and Saints also have a chance for the No. 1 Seed if the Packers were to lose. For the Seahawks to gain the No. 1 Seed, the Saints would also have to lose to the Panthers and the ‘Hawks would have to take care of business in San Francisco. As much as a die-hard Seahawks fan I am, I just can’t see the Panthers winning Sunday against the Saints.
The LA Rams and Arizona Cardinals could make the biggest impact of the postseason in the NFC. The Cardinals are in a “win and in” situation. The Rams could still slip into a wild card slot if Arizona loses. The Bears would also have to lose to the Packers on Sunday. Jared Goff is out with an injury for the Rams and Kyler Murray is also banged up and there’s a chance he might not play. Regardless of who wins the game both teams are beat up and will more than likely be one-and-done in the postseason.
The Washington Football Team will beat the Eagles Sunday and hold on to clinch the NFC East. If not, the winner of the Cowboys-Giants game would claim the crown. This is pretty simple, Washington will win.
There is what I anticipate to happen Week 17 for the NFC. The Packers and Buccaneers lose, and the Seahawks, Saints, Washington, and Rams all win. In the world of the NFL playoffs you never really know what is going to take place on the field when everything is on the line.
We will all just have to wait to see how it all plays out Week 17.