Plenty of teams are looking to solve the tough questions as we embark on the final week of the calendar year and NFL regular season. A good number of teams are still either playing to lock up a seed in the playoffs. In fact, ten of the 16 NFL matchups this week have some impact on playoff scenarios. From 10 to 1, here are the most important matchups of crazy slate of week 17 games.
10. Chiefs vs. Broncos: Although Kansas City has little to play for besides ending Denver’s 10 game win streak, this game is huge for Peyton Manning and crew. Denver could land anywhere from the one to three seed in the AFC playoffs. Simply put the Broncos march on to a bye week with a win over the lowly chiefs this Sunday.
9. Ravens vs. Bengals: Both teams are in the AFC playoffs. The Bengals would love to prevent the Ravens from the pivotal bye week, as the Ravens need a win, plus losses from New England and Houston to move into the second seed.
8. Dolphins vs. Patriots: The fish have officially been squished however this game in snowy Foxboro has big time playoff bearing for the Pats as Brady’s bunch could end up anywhere from 1-4 seeding wise in the AFC. The Pats would clinch a bye with a loss by the Texans and a win, and would clinch the top seed with a win and a loss by Houston and Denver.
7. Texans vs. Colts: The Colts are locked in as a wild card, but could cause a huge headache to the slumping Texans. Houston could be as high as the top seed in the AFC with a win over rookie sensation Andrew Luck and the Colts, but could drop as low as three with a loss and wins by the Pats and Broncos.
6. Eagles vs. Giants: Both teams have had sub-par seasons. The Eagles would love to play spoiler to the defending Champs and divisional foe New York. Even with a win, the G-men would need losses by a plethora of teams to have any playoff chance, most notably the Bears and the Vikings.
5. Bears vs. Lions: The monsters of the midway once seemed a lock for a spot in the dance, now play for the playoff lives this Sunday versus rival Detroit, led by NFL season receiving yards all-time leader Megatron Calvin Johnson. The Lions would pounce at the chance to eliminate Jay Cutler and the Bears. Chicago also needs a loss by the Vikings to make it to the playoffs.
4. Rams vs. Seahawks: With a win over division rival San Francisco last week. Seattle has already punched its playoff ticket. With a win and a 49ers loss, Seattle would move up into one of the top 4 seeds and host at least one playoff game with its loud "12 man" fan base behind them.
3. Cardinals vs. 49ers: The 49ers would win the competitive NFC west with a win over Arizona. They could still obtain a bye week with a win and a Packers loss. However, the 49ers could drop out of the top 4 and not even host a home playoff game with a loss and Seahawks win.
2. Packers vs. Vikings: The Vikings could board the playoff ship with simply a win over hated rival Green Bay. The Packers have clinched the NFC North and could clinch the number two seed with a win. Not to mention MVP and comeback player of the year candidate AD Adrian Peterson could break the all-time single season rushing mark with a 220 plus yard performance against Green Bay's inconsistent run defense.
1. Cowboys vs. Redskins: This primetime matchup is sure to deliver, as one of the NFL's all-time greatest rivalries will settle the NFC East Sunday Night. Rookie stud RG3 could finish off his Cinderella first season with a division clinching win against those Cowboys. Tony Romo may be playing as good as any NFL QB at the moment, however that will not matter in Big D if Tony and the boys find a way to fumble away this game and find themselves on the outside looking in yet again. This is a can't-miss conclusion to the NFL regular season and is certainly the biggest game in RG3's young career.
- Joe Passarelli
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