NFL Week 17: Final Week Of NFL Regular Season PreviewPublished December 31, 2020 by Sol FH
The NFL is heading into the playoffs but not before a final weekend of action. Kick-off on Sunday at 18:00 GMT.
It was a wild year for the NFL, on, and off the field, but we have finally made it to the last week of the regular season, by hook or by crook. The playoff picture is still far from set and there are five games with serious playoff implications that we are going to look at today.
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
If the Washington football team loses to the Eagles on Sunday, the winner of the Cowboys vs. Giants will be crowned the champion of the NFC East. Both the Giants and the Cowboys have a great shot at winning tonight, but there are a few key roles that will most likely be the deciding factor.
The biggest impact tonight will be from the Giants' offensive line and the protection they can give to their QB Daniel Jones. He has been pressured on 41.4 percent of all dropbacks, which is the highest rate in the league. When pressured, Jones has only been able to throw 3 TDs all year, and, five interceptions, the fourth-most in the NFL. His offensive line has not been very much help. Jones is ranked 33rd in sacks, blitz rate, sack rate, and overall QB pressure, out of the 36 QBs in the league.
The Cowboys' defense has come back to life and has turned up the heat on the opposing QBs they have faced in weeks 15 and 16. They have increased their pressure rate to 33.3 percent while their blitz percentage is 17.2.
It's a tough one to pick but the Giants are home which could be enough of an advantage to hold on. bet365 Sports likes the Cowboys for the win at 1.76, which could be great for punters betting on the Giants at 2.10.
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
The Bills already clinched the AFC East a couple of weeks ago but solidified their spot after crushing the New England Patriots 38-9 on Monday Night Football. This division has undergone more drastic changes than any other in the league, and the Bills are enjoying those changes more than any other team. While the Chiefs clinched the AFC Conference, the Bills are still in need of a win for the No. 2 spot, and the Dolphins need a win or losses by other teams in order to make the playoffs.
The Bills' offense has clicked over the last four weeks, as they are averaging 6.5 yards per play. They are averaging 36.5 points per game over the same period too (second-best in the league). The Dolphins' rookie QB will need to be at the top of his game if Miami wants to have a chance at winning this game.
The Bills are obvious favorites at bet365 Sports with the advantage at 1.76, while the Dolphins are at 2.10.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams
The winner of this battle will earn a playoff berth, plain and simple. Even with a loss, the Rams will still make the postseason if the Bears lose to the Packers, which should happen. For the Rams, Jared Goff is out of the lineup after thumb surgery, giving Joh Wolford the keys to the castle for the very first time in his career. Wolford's last real game was in the AAF as the QB for the Arizona Hotshots. He led the AAF in TDs and he is a long, accurate passer, but, he also throws quite a few interceptions when under pressure so it will be up to the Rams' offensive line to give him the protection he needs.
For the Cardinals, receiver DeAndre Hopkins will likely be seeing quite a bit of Jalen Ramsey. The Rams beat the Cardinals back in Week 13 - 38-28, Hopkins got the better of Ramsey in that game and the Cardinals will be trying to get revenge for that loss.
At 10bet Sports, the Cardinals are favored to win this game, albeit due to the fact that Goff is out. They've given Arizona odds of 1.64, while the Rams come in at 2.40 for the outright win.
Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
If the Packers win this game (or if the Seahawks lose to the 49ers), they will get the No. 1 seed in the NFC. For the Bears, a win (or a loss by the Cardinals) will give them a playoff berth.
One of the deciding factors of this game will be the battle between the Packers' CB Jaire Alexander and the Bears' receivers. Alexander lines up at the left corner more times than not. His on-and-off-ball impact is the third-highest in the league. The Bears' answer is their star Allen Robinson, who will be across from Alexander for most plays.
Aaron Rodgers will be keen to get that No. 1 seed and the Bears will need to play exceptionally well to stop him. bet365 Sports has the Packers at 1.42 for the outright win, while the Bears roll in at 2.95.
Washington vs. Philadelphia Eagles
For the Eagles it is back to the drawing board as they cannot make the playoffs, but, it is win-and-in for the Washington football team. If Washington wins they will have clinched the NFC East.
Washington's RB Antonio Gibson was back last week after a toe injury kept him off the field for two weeks. He had 69 yards on 13 touches. When these teams met in Week 1, Washington won the game - 27-17. There should be a similar result in this game, but, expect to see a lot more of Gibson.
At 10bet Sports, Washington is in the driver's seat at 1.80, while the Eagles are back at 2.15 for the outright win.
There will be live in-play odds for all punters that want a more interactive experience.
The odds in this article at the bookmakers mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of writing, December 31 at 8:15 GMT.