We made it. After a VERY rough first couple months of the NFL season we have finally made it to the final week of the regular season. Unfortunately for the NFL, a lot of the playoff picture (especially in the AFC), was sewn up last week. I mean there will always be important games in the final week of the season. There can’t not be. However, I believe the NFL would have loved to have had at least three or four really important games on the slate as it would drive a lot more eyeballs to them rather than, say, the Sunday Afternoon movie or whatever else they show on TV on Sundays.
Alright, a little different format this time around. I am going to use my college football American Thanksgiving format to go through the games one-by-one since some need more than just a blurb telling you if you will be getting that game in your area or not. Here goes! Oh, and remember, all the games this week are on Sunday. No stupid Thursday Night Football. No Monday Night Football. Just games where the games are meant to be (kind of).
New England at Miami (CBS Spokane/Seattle/Minneapolis/Detroit/Burlington/Boston, CTV Winnipeg/Northern Ontario/Kitchener/Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal/Atlantic, CKPR, CHEX, CKWS) – A long list of channels this will be on. I don’t really understand this since the game means almost nothing. Then you look at the other AFC games on early and you start to get why. There is absolutely nothing of note early on in the AFC (for the most part). Kind of sad really and I know the NFL hates that this happened. Anyway, the biggest thing of note here is that New England can clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win or an Oakland loss. Miami does have a shot at moving up into the #5 seed if they can beat the Pats and the Chiefs lose to the Chargers. Unlikely but you never know.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh (CBS Cleveland) – The Steelers are locked into the #3 seed in the AFC and will probably host Miami next week. The bigger issue here is the Browns (I can’t believe I just said that). If the Browns win, and the Niners lose, then the Niners would pick first in the 2017 NFL Draft. Any other scenario will have the Browns picking first. If I were Hue Jackson I would put out all my backups for this one.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – This game means absolutely nothing. I hope the Jags, for their sake, have realized that Blake Bortles is probably not the guy no matter how much they want him to be. Also, there is a possibility Tom Coughlin could be coming back to coach them. That would be very interesting to say the least.
Buffalo at NY Jets (CBS Buffalo/Rochester, TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5) – The Flutie Curse continues! Super Ryan Bros. have now been shitcanned. Expected. What wasn’t expected was the brass making sure Tyrod Taylor sat out the final game of the season. It is to ensure that Taylor doesn’t get injured which would activate a $27.5 million clause in Tyrod’s contract. And they made poor Anthony Lynn do the press conference to tell the media this. What a joke. I hope Lynn gets a job elsewhere and leaves this organization which just simply doesn’t get it. Such a shitshow in Western New York.
Houston at Tennessee (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – I don’t know why you’d watch this game even if you had RedZone or Sunday Ticket. The Texans are locked into the #4 seed (And I hate the fact that a division winner with a not-so-good record automatically gets a home game. Such garbage.). And the Titans don’t have Marcus Mariota for this one since he fractured his fibula last week.
Baltimore at Cincinnati (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – The Bengals are such a disappointment. They should have, at least, been a Wild Card team. How Marvin Lewis is keeping his job is beyond me.
Dallas at Philadelphia (FOX all affiliates except Minneapolis, CTV BC/Alberta/Saskatchewan, CITL) – Another game that means nothing. Then again, Tony Romo is starting. Cue a few in the NFL media talking about a quarterback controversy by Sunday night if Romo plays well.
Carolina at Tampa Bay (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – This game screams hilarious to me. The scoreboard watching will be nuts. Here is what has to happen for the Tampa Bay Football Buccaneers to make the playoffs:
- The Bucs have to beat the Panthers.
- Indianapolis has to beat Jacksonville.
- Tennessee has to beat Houston.
- Dallas has to beat Philadelphia.
- San Francisco must defeat Seattle.
- Green Bay has to lose to Detroit. And finally…
- Washington and the Giants have to tie. TIE!
It will be glorious if after the early games, the top four things happen. This would mean the football talking heads would explode with glee with this distinct possibility. If all this happens and the Bucs somehow get into the playoffs, I will go out and buy a lottery ticket IMMEDIATELY after the final game because it would be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
Chicago at Minnesota (FOX Minneapolis) – People in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario that get FOX out of Minneapolis should be at least a bit upset. This game will not be fun to watch I am sure.
Oakland at Denver (all CBS affiliates, CTV Winnipeg/Northern Ontario/Kitchener/Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal, CTV Two Atlantic, CHEX, CKPR, CKWS) – A big game here for the Raiders. A win and they clinch the AFC West and a first round bye. A KC loss also does the same thing. A win and a Patriots loss will also give Oakland home field advantage throughout the playoffs, something they may sorely need now that MVP candidate Derek Carr is out for the season. What a huge blow to a team going to the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.
Kansas City at San Diego (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – The Chiefs need a win and an Oakland loss to get the AFC West crown. Also, they have to avoid losing because if they do and somehow the Dolphins beat the Patriots, the Chiefs will drop to the #6 seed and have to go to Pittsburgh instead of Houston in the Wild Card round. Yeah I’d want to avoid that too. This also could be the last NFL game ever in San Diego. Where will the Chargers go? Probably Los Angeles but it feels like no one wants this team to be honest.
NY Giants at Washington (FOX Minneapolis/Detroit/Buffalo/Rochester/Burlington/Boston, TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5) – The Giants are locked into the #5 spot no matter what. The Redskins, on the other hand, are playing for their playoff lives. If the Skins win, they are in unless the Packers-Lions game ends in a tie. If, for some reason, this game ends in a tie, they would have to hope for losses by the Packers and Bucs. Either way, this game is very important for Washington.
New Orleans at Atlanta (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – The Falcons are in the driver’s seat for a first round bye. If they win, it’s academic. If they don’t, they can still get in in the following ways:
- A tie and a Seattle loss or tie
- A Seattle loss and a Detroit loss or tie
- A Seattle tie and a Detroit loss
This is what happens when we have ties earlier on in the season. Most of the playoff scenarios have to involve ties. Oh well, I would be shocked if the Falcons didn’t get the bye but stranger things have happened.
Arizona at Los Angeles (RedZone/Sunday Ticket only) – If you thought the Bengals were a disappointment, they were amazing compared to the Cardinals. This is a team that had Super Bowl contender written all over it. And they have looked awful this year. Don’t know where they go from here but it will be very interesting to see if they go with the same crew next year and try and make another run or make some significant changes. As for LA, the first season back in southern California was a joke. They have to get better or else that brand new stadium will be an albatross around the franchise’s neck.
Seattle at San Francisco (FOX Tacoma/Seattle/Spokane, CTV BC/Alberta/Saskatchewan, CITL) – Basically the Seahawks would need a win and an Atlanta loss to get that first round bye. As for the 49ers, if they lose and the Browns somehow win, they get the first overall pick in the draft. Otherwise, they are stuck at #2.
Green Bay at Detroit (NBC, TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5) – Easily the game of the week. This one decides the NFC North. I would feel bad for the Lions if they missed the playoffs after how they were doing at the three-quarter mark of the season. They looked like a lock. Since then it has been pretty painful to watch. Detroit would have no one to blame but themselves if they missed the playoffs.
So there you go. All games on Sunday. Should be interesting for sure. More bowl games today. Five of them to be exact including the Orange Bowl on in primetime. Then tomorrow is the College Football Playoff semi-finals. Enjoy the games everyone!