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What to watch for: Viewing tips for Week 17 games

  • By Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler
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New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

This could be it for Rex Ryan in New York after three straight seasons without a winning record. We argued on the podcast that he shouldn't take all the blame for an offense that's scored 20 or fewer points in four of its last six games while committing a whopping 29 turnovers this season.

Further reading:
Cromartie wants to stay with Jets
ATL writers make their Week 17 picks
Further viewing:
Dolphins bring holiday cheer to teenagers
NFL Films previews Jets-Dolphins

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

These two teams will meet in Week 17 for the fourth straight season. The Ravens -- fighting for their playoff lives -- have won the last two, but the Bengals are undefeated at home this season, where they have more than doubled their opponents' points.

Further reading:
Playoff Picture: Plenty at stake for Ravens, Bengals
Bengals won't rest starters in Week 17
Further viewing:
Marvin Jones accepts fantasy Spot Start award
Canty: Ravens 'energized' by showdown vs. Bengals

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger is 16-1 against the Browns, tied with Roger Staubach (vs. the Giants) and Tom Brady (vs. the Bills) for the highest winning percentage by a starting quarterback against a single opponent through their first 17 starts.

Further reading:
AFC playoff picture: Steelers have hope
Draft needs for all 32 teams
Further viewing:
Who'll get final AFC wild-card spot?
NFL Films previews Browns-Steelers

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

The Patriots have won 19 of their last 20 games against the Bills. With a victory, the Patriots can tie the all-time record for most consecutive seasons with a bye in the playoffs. It would be their fourth straight year as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

Further reading:
Patriots revert to a familiar strategy
ATL crew picks winners for Week 17 games
Further viewing:
Best of Tom Brady in 2013
Top 10 plays from 'Thursday Night Football'

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Will Trent Richardson finish his shaky season with a bang? Before these two played in Week 4, Jaguars players admitted they were more impressed with Donald Brown's speed than anything T-Rich had put on film.

Further reading:
How are Colts doing in latest Power Rankings?
Check out Luck's standing in year-end QB Index
Further viewing:
Are Colts' big wins a big deal?
NFL Films previews Jaguars-Colts

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

Washington's seven-game losing streak is the team's longest since dropping that many to start the 1998 campaign. One reason? An awful special teams unit that's allowed five touchdowns this season. Since 1990, only the 2008 Vikings have given up more.

Further reading:
Billick makes case for keeping Mike Shanahan
Elliot Harrison's Week 17 picks
Further reading:
Santa's gifts for needy NFC East players
NFL Films previews NFC East rivalry

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

The Packers had 312 yards of offense against Chicago the first time these teams played despite Seneca Wallace playing most of the game. Using our Seneca Wallace-to-Aaron Rodgers statistical translator, that means Green Bay will have 811 yards Sunday.

Further reading:
Rodgers back in for Packers
Battista on tricky nature of NFL injuries
Further viewing:
Mind-blowing stats for Bears-Packers
'Sound FX': Best of Week 16

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

Alex Smith does not go deep down the field much -- 75.8 percent of his passes have been thrown less than 10 yards downfield, the highest percentage of any QB this season who has thrown at least 300 passes. We doubt Smith will get a chance to change those numbers Sunday; Chiefs coach Andy Reid will probably rest his starters.

Further reading:
Chiefs will 'mix and match' starters, backups
Comeback season places Rivers high in QB Index
Further viewing:
Best of Kansas City Chiefs defense 2013
NFL Films previews AFC West tilt

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Denver only needs 18 points to set the all-time record for most points in a season with 590. They have scored at least 20 points in each game in 2013, and will be playing to win Sunday because they need a victory to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Further reading:
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks for Week 17
Dennis Allen among coaches on hot seat
Further viewing:
Watch Manning break TD record on 'Sound FX'
NFL Films previews Broncos-Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

The Bucs' chance for an upset is diminished because rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is struggling. He's completed 53.8 percent of his passes over the last four weeks, averaging 151.8 yards per game, with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Further reading:
Playoff Picture: Saints could still miss out
Elliot Harrison's Week 17 picks
Further viewing:
Best of Drew Brees in 2013
NFL Films previews Bucs-Saints

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

The high-flying Panthers can clinch the NFC South with a win. The Falcons have been a tough out in recent weeks, but we expect Carolina's pass rush to hold down the fort against Atlanta's leaky offensive line.

Further reading:
Playoff Picture: Division, seeding on line for Panthers
Position Rankings: Panthers boast one of NFL's best defenses
Further viewing:
Should top six conference teams make playoffs?
NFL Films previews Panthers-Falcons

Billick: Cases for coaches under fire
With Black Monday nearing, Brian Billick lays out the reasons that several coaches on the hot seat should keep their jobs. READ

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

After opening the season 6-3, Detroit has lost five of its last six games with a turnover differential of -12 during that ugly stretch. The Lions also lead the league with an outrageous 44 dropped passes.

Further reading:
ATL writers make their Week 17 picks
Billick makes case for Schwartz, Frazier to stay
Further viewing:
Metrodome Memories: A.P. sets single-game rushing record
NFL Films previews Lions-Vikings

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

A franchise-worst 14-straight losses for Houston on Sunday would lock up the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Texans haven't had any luck since starting 2-0, but that second victory came against Tennessee, a team that many believe will part ways with Mike Munchak after Sunday.

Further reading:
Billick: Case for keeping Munchak, other coaches on hot seat
J.J. Watt considering plastic surgery for his nose
Further viewing:
Texans interested in Penn State's Bill O'Brien
NFL Films previews Texans vs. Titans

Harrison: Week 17 Game Picks
It all comes down to a final week packed with now-or-never matchups. Elliot Harrison makes his Week 17 picks. READ

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks' offense is not closing the season strong. Seattle has averaged only 16.4 points over the last three weeks, with their average yards-per-game going down 100 yards. The Rams' defense dominated Seattle the first time these two teams played in St. Louis.

Further reading:
Seahawks tumble from top of Power Rankings
Elliot Harrison's Week 17 picks
Further viewing:
Best Single-Game Fantasy Performance
NFL Films previews Rams-Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

The 49ers can be anywhere from the No. 1 seed to the No. 6 seed in the NFC depending on this weekend's results. This could be an NFC championship preview -- if the Cardinals won this game, the New Orleans Saints lost Sunday and both the 49ers and Cardinals won two straight games on the road.

Further reading:
Kaepernick, Bowman altered play calls in 49ers' win
Where do 49ers, Cardinals stand in Power Rankings?
Further viewing:
Breakout defensive players in the postseason
Calais Campbell on the Cards' momentum

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Nick Foles has averaged 9.03 yards per attempt passing this year. That's the fifth-highest number in a season since 1990. Two of the folks above Foles on the list (Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers) won MVPs that year. The other two names above him: Kurt Warner (2000) and Chris Chandler (1998).

Further reading:
Inside the Xs and Os with All-22 Coaches Film
Elliot Harrison's Week 17 picks
Further viewing:
Trent Cole mic'd up on 'Sound FX'
Brandon Carr on Romo: 'I haven't seen him around'

The latest "Around The League Podcast" delivered a Christmas gift, analyzing the chaotic playoff picture in both conferences.


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