Seahawks vs Cardinals

Seahawks vs Cardinals ; The Seahawks are going to the playoffs. To be honest, week 17 is basically meaningless for Seattle except for deciding who they will play in the first round of the postseason. Will Seattle rest some of their starters against the Cardinals? And who wins when Seattle plays Arizona at CenturyLink?

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Impressive game this past Sunday for the Seahawks. They got back on track and looked solid. Let’s hope Arizona is looking to lose and be in contention for the number one pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Although we should rest some injured guys for the playoffs, it would be nice to finish the regular season with a win. I think Seattle wins.

After a huge win against a top-tier team, the Seahawks may be facing a trap game in the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The Seahawks tend to play to the level of their opponents. With Josh Rosen‘s status in the air after an apparent arm injury, we don’t know if the Seattle defense will be playing Rosen or Mike Glennon – although I hope it’s the latter. The Seahawks hardly snuck away with a win in Arizona earlier in the season, and I think it will be more of the same. The defense should have a nice day, but the Seattle offense always struggles against the Arizona defense. Seattle will finish with 10 wins and will secure the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs in an ugly win.

Arizona always gives the ‘Hawks fits. Seattle doesn’t absolutely need the win, but they do need to continue to send the message they’re back, and lock up the fifth seed. Chris Carson continues to brutalize would-be tacklers, Russell Wilson keeps his December magic going and Bobby Wagner keeps being the Defensive Player of the Year. Seattle rolls in this one.

My prediction is in no way meant for anyone to think that I think Arizona is better than Seattle. The Seahawks are the better team. I just don’t think Seattle really has a lot to play for in this game and I also believe that Seattle would be better off with some rested players. Why play Carson much when Seattle knows they need him at full strength in the playoffs? And there are a bunch of other players that need rest too. I want to see more of Brett Hundley than Wilson. Arizona wins because it’s a meaningless game for Seattle.

Broncos vs Chargers

To find out how to watch a live stream of Sunday’s NFL 2018 regular season finale matchup between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, see the streaming information at the bottom of this article. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, December 30. Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the game online starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, while NFL fans in Australia can log in to the live stream at 5 a.m. on Monday, December 31, Australian Eastern Daylight Time, 2 a.m. Western Time.

To determine which markets will receive the live stream of the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots game on Sunday, see the map provided by 506 Sports. The areas shaded in pink will be able to access the Jets-Pats live stream.

A win also completes an undefeated season at home for New England, according to Pro Football Reference, in a season that saw them lose five of eight road games — making home field advantage in the postseason all-important for the five-time Super Bowl champions, who will be looking for their third straight Super Bowl berth and fourth in five years.

But there is a long-shot scenario in which the Patriots can nail down not only a bye and home field in the divisional round, but the top seed and home field throughout, according to the Patriots site. If New England wins while both the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers suffer upsets to the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos respectively, the Patriots earn the AFC’s top seed.

With the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots NFL Week 17 game offered as the CBS national “early” broadcast, a live stream will be available through the network’s CBS All Access subscription plan. But the service features a one-week free trial, and if the trial is canceled before the expiration of the seven-day period, fans can watch the Jets-Pats clash at no charge.

But there is another way to live stream the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots NFL Week 17 game for free without a cable subscription. Fans can sign up for a free trial of one of the live internet TV streaming packages, which carry local CBS channels, including Sling TV, Fubo TV, or DirecTV Now. All three of those “over the top” internet streaming services require credit card information and subscription fees, but they all offer seven-day free trial periods. If the subscription is canceled prior to the expiration of that free week, fans can watch the Jets-Patriots game streamed live at no charge.

To view the live stream outside of the areas shown on the 506 Sports CBS Early map referenced above —except in the teams’ home markets — fans will need to pay the subscription fee for NFL Sunday Ticket, a service which also comes with a one-week free trial period.

Fans outside of the United States can watch the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots game live stream with NFL Game Pass, a service which requires an annual subscription fee, but also comes with a first-week free trial offer.

Eagles vs Redskins

Eagles vs Redskins : The season is on the line for the Philadelphia Eagles, who visit the division-rival Washington Redskins in the regular-season finale at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. The defending Super Bowl champions are 8-7 and must beat the Redskins and get a Vikings loss against the Bears to secure the final wild-card spot in the NFC playoff picture.

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Washington (7-8) would love nothing more than to play spoiler. Philadelphia is a 6.5-point road favorite in the latest Eagles vs. Redskins odds, with the over-under at 42. Before making any Eagles vs. Redskins picks and NFL predictions, you’ll need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

SportsLine’s proprietary computer model went 176-80 straight-up last season and beat over 95 percent of CBS Sports Office Pool players in 2016 and ’17. It also performed better than 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com during that span. Additionally, it went 48-34 on A-rated picks against the spread last season and $100 bettors who have followed it the past two seasons are up nearly $4,000.

The model has continued to nail its top-rated picks in 2018, entering Week 17 on a blistering 16-6 run. For the season, it is now 30-15 on all top-rated picks, extending its two-year run to a strong 78-49. And when it comes to all straight-up picks, the model is 159-78 on the season, ranking in the top five on NFLPickWatch.com. Anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now, it has simulated Eagles vs. Redskins 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning toward the over, and it has also generated a point-spread pick that hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

The model knows the Eagles have turned it around to keep their playoff hopes alive, winning four of five. That includes victories over the playoff-bound Rams and Texans, with the lone loss an overtime heart-breaker at Dallas.

Backup QB Nick Foles, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, has been impressive in relief of the injured Carson Wentz once again. He went off for 471 yards, four touchdowns and one pick in a 32-30 win over Houston en route to NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He’ll start again against Washington.

Philly’s defense ranks seventh against the run, with Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett combining for 15.5 sacks.

But just because the Eagles are highly motivated doesn’t mean they’ll cover the Redskins vs. Eagles spread.

Josh Johnson gets the start at quarterback for Washington. He led the team to a 16-13 win at Jacksonville two weeks ago, but tossed two interceptions in a 25-16 loss at Tennessee last Sunday. Fortunately, he faces an Eagles defense that has just nine picks and ranks 31st against the pass at 301 yards per game.

Meanwhile, 33-year-old running back Adrian Peterson is having a Comeback Player of the Year-worthy season. Peterson gained 119 yards last week to eclipse 1,000 on the season and had a 90-yard touchdown run against the Eagles on Dec. 3.

Who wins Eagles vs. Redskins? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Redskins vs. Eagles spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the computer model that has returned nearly $4,000 to $100 bettors over the past two seasons.

Steelers vs Bengals

Steelers vs Bengals ; The Pittsburgh Steelers own a seven-game winning streak in the rivalry with the Cincinnati Bengals, going 5-1-1 against the spread along the way.

Pittsburgh is a big favorite to run that streak to eight straight on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

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Cincinnati is struggling through another lost season, but it’s also 3-0 ATS its last three times out after picking up a back-door cover at Cleveland last week.

The Bengals trailed 23-0 into the fourth quarter but pulled to within one score with a touchdown, a blocked punt, another touchdown and a two-point conversion with three minutes left. They couldn’t get the ball back but covered as 10-point dogs at sports betting sites.

Two weeks ago, Cincinnati beat the Oakland Raiders 30-16, covering as a three-point favorite. And three weeks ago, the Bengals gave the Chargers a good game out in Los Angeles; they lost 26-21 but covered easily as 17-point dogs.

In fact, while Cincinnati is only 2-5 SU on the road this season it’s 5-2 ATS, covering in places such as Indianapolis, Baltimore and now Cleveland. At 6-9 overall, the Bengals will play Sunday’s game for pride and possibly jobs.

The Steelers are shooting to rebound this week after taking a tough 31-28 loss against the best team in the league at the moment, the Saints, in New Orleans last week.

Pittsburgh trailed 24-14 in the third quarter but rallied with consecutive scoring drives to lead 28-24. The Steelers then gave up a New Orleans touchdown with just over a minute to go, drove last-gasp into Saints territory but fumbled the ball away.

They did, however, cover as six-point underdogs on the NFL odds.

On the day Pittsburgh outgained the Saints 429-370, held a 26-24 edge in first downs and a 31-29 edge in time of possession. But the Steelers also fell victim to a pass-interference call that led to a New Orleans touchdown, turned the ball over twice in Saints territory and came up a yard short on a fake punt, handing the Saints a short field for the game-winning drive.

Pittsburgh has now outgained nine of its last 11 opponents, going 7-3-1 ATS in the process. At 8-6-1 overall, the Steelers need a victory Sunday and either a Baltimore loss to Cleveland or Colts-Titans tie to make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh won the first meeting between these teams this season in October 28-21 on a touchdown in the last half-minute, and barring a minor miracle will win this game as well. However, double-digit favorites, while 23-6 SU this season, are only 12-16-1 ATS.

The total has gone over in four of the Steelers’ last five games at home.

The Steelers are 13-1-1 SU in their last 15 games vs divisional opponents.

The Bengals are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in the late afternoon.

All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagramor head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.

Bears vs Vikings

Bears vs Vikings : The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings will close out the regular season against each other in Week 17. The contest will feature a Bears team still in the running for a first-round bye and a Vikings team fighting to get into the playoffs. This game was originally scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. CT start before it was flexed into the 3:25 p.m. CT slot for Sunday.

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The NFL also flexed the Cleveland Browns vs. the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers into 3:25 p.m. CT starts. The Indianapolis Colts against the Tennessee Titans got flexed into the Sunday Night Football spot. All four of the games that were flexed have playoff implications.

How to Watch

Where: U.S. Bank Stadium

When: 3:25 p.m. CT on December 30

TV: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color analyst) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter)

Local Radio: WBBM-780AM – Jeff Joniak (play-by-play), Tom Thayer (color analyst) and Mark Grote (sideline reporter)

Chicago enters the game averaging 26.5 points per game on offense and is giving up just 18.2 points per game on defense. The Vikings are averaging 23.3 points per game on offense and the defense is giving up 21.1 points per game. The Bears hold a major advantage in turnover differential. Chicago enters the game at plus-12 while the Vikings sit at zero. The Bears have taken the ball away 36 times and have given it away 24 times. The Vikings have taken the ball away 20 times and have given it up 20 times.

The rivalry between the Bears and the Vikings dates back to 1961 when Minnesota was an expansion team. Minnesota won the first meeting between the two squads and holds a 60-53-2 all-time record in 115 meetings. The Bears had a solid run against Minnesota in the early 2010s before the Vikings rattled off six victories in seven meetings between December 2014 and the end of the 2017 season.

The Bears and Vikings last met on November 18 on Sunday Night Football. Chicago walked away with a 25-20 victory that night and had the win sealed with an interception returned for a touchdown by Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 20 of his 31 passing attempts for 165 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins finished the evening with 262 passing yards on 30 completions with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy noted earlier this year that Chicago’s win over the Vikings in November was the turning point for the organization this year.

“I think [the win over the Vikings] kind of just really embedded into our players the true belief of how they felt where we could go,” Nagy said, via Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com. “You talk about it, but when do you really start believing it? That was probably a time that I’ll look back and think that’s when we turned the corner.”

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If Chicago falls to the Vikings on Sunday it is possible the two teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs the following week.

Browns vs Ravens

Browns vs Ravens : If you want to glimpse the future, and increasingly the present, of the Ravens, look to the back wall of the team’s refurbished locker room — the land of rookies.

The story begins, but hardly ends, with quarterback Lamar Jackson, the universally liked face of the Ravens’ 5-1 resurgence over the past six weeks.

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To his right looms the mammoth, bespectacled Orlando Brown Jr., who quietly took over as starting right tackle in Week 7. Next comes Brown’s former Oklahoma teammate, Mark Andrews, who turned the tide of the team’s last game with a 68-yard touchdown gallop, set up by a nasty stiff arm. To his right are intense, thoughtful Kenny Young, who has contributed steadily at weak-side linebacker, and outgoing Bradley Bozeman, who loves to talk grilling and has played his way into significant time at left guard. On the corner sits taciturn running back Gus Edwards, the ideal battering-ram complement to Jackson’s warp-speed grace.

Seven different rookies played at least a dozen offensive or defensive snaps in the Ravens’ season-defining 22-10 win last weekend at the Los Angeles Chargers. And if the team is to claim the AFC North by beating the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, these no-longer-fresh faces will again play vital roles.

“I think right away, the older guys, and even us, we saw that we can make an impact on this team, and that’s what they brought us in to do,” Andrews said. “They were close last year; they were one game away [from a playoff berth]. So, they brought us in here to win this last game. That’s what it’s all about: contributing.”

The same will hold true on the other side of the field, where the Browns will try to spoil a festive day at M&T Bank Stadium behind Baker Mayfield, the brash rookie quarterback who bested Jackson for the Heisman Trophy last year and has remained a step ahead of him this season. Mayfield headlines one of the most promising young rosters in the league, featuring agile, powerful rookie running back Nick Chubb and second-year pass-rush monster Myles Garrett. Cornerback Denzel Ward won’t play because of a concussion, but he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

“This is the first playoff atmosphere that our guys will see,” Mayfield told Cleveland reporters during the week. “We’re playing to prove who we are.”

It’s natural, given this high-stakes finale to an eventful Ravens season, to look backward.

Perhaps your mind drifts to New Year’s Eve 2017, when the Ravens came within 44 seconds of a playoff trip only to watch their hopes erased by Tyler Boyd’s 49-yard touchdown on fourth-and-long.

Or perhaps you think of 2012, when the Ravens last won the AFC North and went on the kind of playoff tear some national analysts are predicting for this year’s team.

Or maybe you’re focused on the individual players, many of whom might never don a Ravens uniform again if they fall to the Browns on Sunday. Could this be the end for Terrell Suggs and Joe Flacco, two of the five greatest players in the history of the franchise?

Yet it’s just as valid to view this game as a peek around the corner at the future of the AFC North. With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to the last years of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame career and the Cincinnati Bengals stumbling toward a possible rebuild, the Jackson-Mayfield matchup could represent the first chapter of a new world order.

The two quarterbacks have already been friendly rivals for several years after they competed for the Heisman in 2016 and 2017.

“We pretty much had a bond from there,” Jackson said. Mayfield reciprocated, calling the Ravens quarterback a “game-changer.”

They don’t handle their business the same way. Mayfield is the more polished passer, Jackson the more thrilling runner. Mayfield makes headlines off the field with his peppery comments. Jackson keeps his words short and upbeat. But those who know both men see an underlying similarity.

“There’s something about them that makes people gravitate toward them,” said Andrews, who played with Mayfield in college and has become Jackson’s favorite downfield target this season.

This will be the Browns’ first look at Jackson as a starter. The Ravens already faced Mayfield in Week 5, when he led Cleveland to an overtime victory. He’s only improved since then; the Browns have won five of their past six games, and in those victories, the rookie has thrown 13 touchdown passes with just one interception.

“I think he’s a good, young quarterback, and I think you’ll continue to see him grow from year to year to year,” Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams said. “But the biggest thing is that he’s shown everybody he belongs now, and I think the facets of his game, all areas of his game, have been very good.”

With Mayfield living up to his status as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft and Garrett establishing himself as the best young defender in the division — Ravens coach John Harbaugh described him as a “potential game-wrecker” that “you have to account for on every play” — Cleveland fans have genuine cause to be excited about the Browns for the first time in decades.

A victory in Baltimore would give them a winning season for the first time since 2007. The Browns are all the more frightening because with Mayfield on his rookie contract for the next four years, they’ll have ample money to fill out their roster.

Despite Jackson’s emergence, the picture is more complicated for the Ravens. Of the rookies who’ve contributed heavily this season, all but Young are offensive players. The team’s newly minted MVP, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, is in his second season. Linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive tackle Michael Pierce are in their third. But many of the key players on their league-leading defense, which carried the Ravens against the Chargers, are veterans who might not be around in 2019.

The list includes impending free-agent linebackers Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and C.J. Mosley, cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, and safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson. Even if the Ravens make a playoff run this season, it’s possible their defense, such a large part of their identity, could look very different in a few months.

Regardless, the 2018 rookie class has delivered a fitting tribute to Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who will step aside after the season. Newsome traded back into the first round to pick Jackson and subsequently found immediate contributors on days two and three of the draft.

“They’ve done a great job,” Harbaugh said. “We ask a lot of our rookies, because that’s part of … that’s our program; that’s our plan. If you’re going to get ready to play winning football in this league, you have to make a transition. It’s a tough transition from college football to pro football. It’s a lot of hard work, and we want these guys playing as rookies, and this class has done a great job of responding. … They’re a huge part of where we’re at and where we’re going.”

That’s all in spite of a disappointing season from the team’s first pick, tight end Hayden Hurst, who began the year with a fractured foot and has caught just 11 passes.

The rookie class came in understanding the Ravens’ frustrating recent past — three straight seasons without a postseason appearance for a franchise that used to tick off playoff wins routinely. But they don’t feel beholden to it.

“It’s been talked about this whole time, from players to coaches,” Andrews said. “It’s something that’s on everyone’s mind. We’re well aware of what happened last year. There are a lot of hungry guys in this locker room.”

Ravens veterans cleared out quickly after practice Friday, leaving the space largely to the youth corps. Brown wiggled his hips to Kool & The Gang’s “Get Down on It” as Jackson grinned approvingly.

Jackson was asked if the rookies have given their row of lockers a name.

“We don’t have one,” he said. “But maybe we need to make one. The rookies have been making plays.”

Cowboys vs Giants

Cowboys vs Giants ; The Dallas Cowboys are already guaranteed to finish fourth in the NFC, but they won’t use that to effectively kick back and relax in the final week of the 2018 NFL regular season.

“Absolutely. We’re all-out,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said when asked whether Dallas will play its starters in the team’s Week 17 matchup with the New York Giants, per Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “We’ve got work to do. We’ve got some work to do out here, I think we’ll all agree. We don’t want to, if we can, go into the playoffs with dangling participles—loose ends.”

The Cowboys clinched the NFC East division title following Sunday’s 27-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Because it trails the third-seeded Chicago Bears by two games, Dallas can’t move up or down in the NFC standings based on Week 17’s results.

Jones’ desire to treat next week as business as usual is understandable.

The Cowboys offense has struggled of late. Dallas gained just 232 yards against a Buccaneers defense that has consistently been among the NFL’s worst this year. It was the second straight game in which the team had fewer than 300 yards of total offense.

Using Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and Cole Beasley for a full game allows the coaching staff to have one more opportunity to get things on track ahead of the postseason.

Having said that, playing all of your starters carries risk as well.

There’s the obvious danger of losing a key player in what is effectively a meaningless contest. Elliott in particular might at the very least benefit from a week off since he has registered a league-high 304 carries.

From a less quantifiable perspective, a disappointing performance against the Giants could exacerbate the general concern around the Cowboys offense. Dallas would have the opposite of momentum if the team is going into the playoffs on the back of three straight underwhelming showings.

Ultimately, whatever Jones and head coach Jason Garrett decide in Week 17 is unlikely to alter the Cowboys’ postseason trajectory. Cooper’s arrival provided a nice boost, but this is still a very flawed team. There’s only so much Garrett can do to change that with one week left in the regular season.

Panthers vs Saints

Panthers vs Saints ; Officials will be uniformed and authorized to penalize, fans will be present and boisterous, the scoreboard fully will be operational, vendors will be working and providing food and drink. An NFL regular-season game is scheduled to be played Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Panthers vs Saints Live Stream

The New Orleans Saints might as well do their best to win it.

They’ve done so 13 times in the first 15 games, often enough to lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the playoffs. So, what remains is to add a 14th victory – which would be a franchise regular-season record – before enjoying a bye week and preparing for their divisional playoff opponent.

Here are a few items to keep an eye on during the regular-season finale.Fans have been aching to see backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s skills on display. Sunday, Bridgewater finally will do more than throw one pass or kneel in victory formation (actually, the kneeling in victory will be something fans still will want to see). Coach Sean Payton has lauded Bridgewater’s intelligence and remarked on how he can make all the throws. The good thing is, he’ll be throwing to receivers with whom he already has a rapport, because they’ve been his main targets in practice.

Same goes for the center exchange – if he’s taking his snaps from Cameron Tom, all the better because Tom likely carries out those duties in practice. Bridgewater last played significant snaps Jan. 10, 2016, in a playoff loss for Minnesota. He suffered a major knee injury in training camp that year, missed the 2016 season, played in a game for Minnesota in ’17 (two pass attempts), made a stop with the Jets, and was traded to the Saints this preseason. He has taken snaps in four games for the Saints. This is the next step, and his teammates will be amped to watch him play and to play with him.

Stay healthy. There’s no way to guarantee health, of course, and players can’t tiptoe around the field, hoping to avoid contact. They’ll go all out for however long they’re on the field, because that’s the only way to play the game. But proper precaution will be taken within context – limited exposure (i.e., low snap counts) will be good for several players, no snaps will be better for others.

Don’t worry – the Saints have been in this position; they rested players then, and it all worked out fine. Granted, this nearly is a totally different roster from 2009; only quarterback Drew Brees, offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod and punter Thomas Morstead are with New Orleans now and were with New Orleans then. Still, the method proved to be wise and there seems to be no reason to tinker with that aspect of the process.

The Saints have a hungry, young group of defensive linemen behind the names you know. Defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth and defensive end Trey Hendrickson should get some extensive reps in this game (Hendrickson has been inactive for much of the season, but he’s talented and driven as a pass rusher). And rookie first-round pick Marcus Davenport might break a nice sweat, too, since defensive ends Cam Jordan and Alex Okafor could be on the “rest” list. With the Panthers starting undrafted rookie Kyle Allen at quarterback, there may be a chance for them to make some plays

Patriots vs Jets

Patriots vs Jets : The season hasn’t gone quite as expected, but the Patriots yet again find themselves in a favorable spot entering the finale. They’re in decent health. They’ve suffered few impactful season-ending injuries. Despite their radical home-road splits, they’re currently occupying the No. 2 seed in the AFC, one win away from a ninth consecutive first-round bye.

Patriots vs Jets Live NFL Week 17

All they need to do is beat the 4-11 Jets, who haven’t won at Gillette Stadium since the 2010 playoffs.

Here are five things to watch in the Week 17 matchup…

There was plenty to like from the Pats’ Week 16 win over the Bills. The running game will need to be the foundation of the offense going forward, and it looked phenomenal against Buffalo.

An underrated offensive line and the combination of Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen and James Develin opened massive holes for Sony Michel and Co.

The passing attack was a different story.

This has been a difficult year for Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels. There’s been a whole bunch of re-tooling on the fly. That’s still the case with the playoffs right around the corner.

In their first game without suspended receiver Josh Gordon, the Patriots didn’t throw effectively. All but two of Brady’s 13 completions were caught within five yards of the line of scrimmage. This was partially by design; the Bills couldn’t come close to slowing the New England rushing attack, and the game was well in hand, so why put Brady in a difficult spot?

But when the Pats did choose to pass, there were myriad issues. Brady was inaccurate and jumpy in the pocket. Gronkowski let a ball slip through his hands for an interception. Chris Hogan wasn’t targeted on 63 snaps.

A solid outing from all three players against the Jets would go a long way in boosting the collective confidence of the Patriots’ passing attack.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think New York Jets?

Probably not a high-flying passing attack.

The Jets rank 21st in scoring offense, but they’re far from incompetent. They’ve exploded for games of 48, 34, 42, and 38 points, all with Sam Darnold at quarterback.

In Darnold’s starts, the Jets are averaging 23.8 points per game, which would rank in the top half of the league.

His top targets are big-play receiver Robby Anderson and tight end Chris Herndon.

Anderson has scored in three consecutive games and averaged 104 yards per game in that span. The Pats will likely use Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore to take away Anderson.

Herndon, though, could be an issue.

The rookie tight end has come on strong, catching nine passes for 135 yards in the past two weeks. He recorded seven receptions for 57 yards in the first meeting with the Patriots.

“He’s moving about the same speed as the receivers are, so just on tape, he plays fast, (he’s a) good vertical player and gets across the field quickly on the over routes,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “It seems like there’s certainly chemistry developing between Darnold and Herndon.”

In Week 12, the Patriots used several different defenders to cover Herndon, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung.

Much has been made of the Patriots’ road struggles. It’s certainly out of character.

The glass-half-full view: The Pats are 7-0 at home and they’re in position to host a divisional round playoff game. That bodes well for their chances of making an eighth straight AFC Championship game.

The last time the Patriots went undefeated at home was in 2013, when all five of their losses (including one in the playoffs) came in road games. That year, the Patriots found a way to win some tight games at Gillette, beating the Jets, Saints, Broncos, and Browns by three points or fewer.

This season, they’ve dominated at home, winning by an average score of 32-19. Minus the Chiefs game — a 43-40 shootout — they’ve held six other opponents to 14.5 points per contest at Gillette.

They’ll look to keep it going against the Jets.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a coach emptying the playbook in his final game.

Rumors have been swirling that Todd Bowles will be out as Jets head coach at the end of the season (Bowles declined to comment on his future this week).

“I do not talk about my job,” Bowles told New York reporters earlier this week.

If Bowles is indeed coaching his last game, he might as well go out with a bang.

That could mean trick plays and an ultra-aggressive approach from the 4-11 Jets.

The Patriots won’t be scoreboard-watching nearly as intently as they were a week ago, when the Eagles knocked off the Texans and subsequently launched the Pats into the coveted No. 2 seed.

Thanks to the assist from Nick Foles, the Patriots simply need to take care of business themselves in Week 17 to earn a first-round bye.

But the rest of the AFC Playoff Picture remains unsettled.

The Chiefs and Chargers are the front-runners for the No.1 seed (the Patriots could still claim the top spot with a Week 17 win and losses by Kansas City and Los Angeles, an unlikely scenario). They’ll be interested in the outcome in the AFC West regardless. The team that does not win the division will be the top Wild Card and the No. 5 seed. That means a visit to Gillette Stadium for the divisional round could be in play.

Entering this weekend, four teams have locked up playoff spots: The Patriots, Chiefs, Chargers, and Texans. Four others — the Colts, Titans, Ravens, and Steelers — are fighting for two spots.

Packers vs Lions

Packers vs Lions ; This Sunday, the 6-8-1 Green Bay Packers will close out the 100th season in the history of the franchise at Lambeau Field against their NFC North rival, the 5-10 Detroit Lions.

This will mark the 179th occasion of the two teams meeting, a streak spanning back to 1930, when the Lions were called the Portsmouth Titans.

The Packers lead the overall series 100-71-7, but have lost each of the last three contests. A win this Sunday will match Green Bay’s win total from the 2017 season.

Green Bay traveled to Detroit in October for a Week 5 matchup with the Lions earlier this season, which saw the Packers scoreless through two quarters. They mounted an impressive comeback in the second half, tallying 23 points, but falling short in a 23-31 defeat.

It was also a week that saw a long list of what has defined the Packers’ woes all season – special teams debacles. Mason Crosby, who had entered the game 10/11 on field goals, was put in the hot seat for weeks after he went 1/5 on field goal attempts, and 0/1 on extra point attempts.

On Detroit’s first possession, the offense stalled at midfield and was forced to punt to Tramon Williams, whom waved for the fair catch.

As the ball came down, Kevin King lost track of it while being blocked by Lions player Charles Washington, and as the ball bounced, officials ruled the ball had hit King on the rebound, and recovered by the Lions on Green Bay’s one-yard line.

In an interview after the game, King denied that the ball had touched him at all, saying: “I’d seen it actually hit him (Washington).” The officials reviewed it on a Mike McCarthy challenge, and the call on the field stood.

King’s day went from bad to worse, as former Lions, now Eagles WR Golden Tate’s cleat stomped on his face in the middle of the fourth quarter. His lip had to be stitched up, and King would not return to the game, further expanding the list of injuries on his young and snakebitten career.

After the spot at the one-yard line, the Lions scored on a LeGarrette Blount run on their first play. From there, the Packers were unable to finish on offense until the second half, getting as close as four yards away from the end zone without scoring.

Aaron Rodgers put on a quarterback clinic that day, but it wasn’t without its blemishes. Rodgers completed 32 of his 52 attempts for 442 yards and three TDs, but was sacked four times, fumbling twice, both lost to the Lions.

The yardage total was good for second best in Rodgers’ career, and was matched again in Week 16 at the Jets. His best game is a Green Bay franchise record 480 yards, which Rodgers shares with Matt Flynn.

Davante Adams also had a brilliant game, amassing nine receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. This game also saw the quiet emergence of Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The pair of rookie WRs saw a healthy amount of snaps for the first time all season, and it paid dividends towards the second half comeback attempt. “MVS” caught seven passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, and “EQ” got in the mix later on with three catches for 89 yards, including a 54-yard catch-and-run with time running out in the fourth.

Blake Martinez continued to prove he is going to be one of the next great MLBs in the NFL with a five-tackle game that included two sacks. The defense overall was not put into good positions, constantly having to work with a short field to defend in the first half, with three Lions drives that started at Green Bay’s 1, 22, and 29-yard lines.

Overall, this was a game the Packers should have won for multiple reasons. A total of 13 attainable points were left off the board by Crosby, and the Packers outgained the Lions, 514 yards to 264.

“Close, but no cigar” might as well have been tattooed on the Packers’ helmets this season.

First-year head coach Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions squad enters this week with the bottom spot in the NFC North, due in part to their 24th-ranked offense in yards per game. The Lions defense has been solid, though, giving up an average of 345.7 yards per game, good for 12th-best in the league.

Jamaal Williams appears to be the Packers hot hand after last week’s impressive showing, in which he tallied 146 yards on 21 total touches. The Packers will look to continue to use Williams in the backfield and as a receiving target as he remains the fill-in for the injured Aaron Jones.

The injury report is extensive again this week. Kentrell Brice, David Bakhtiari, Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander, and Lucas Patrick are all listed as questionable.

Equanimeous St. Brown is still listed as doubtful after suffering a concussion against the Jets in Week 16. His absence could create more opportunities for fan favorite Jake Kumerow, who caught his first career touchdown last week.

The defense will still depend on scheme and the on-and-off pass rush, given that the secondary is still patched together with the loss of Kevin King, and possibly being without Jaire Alexander.

Offensively, Aaron Rodgers played lights-out against the New York Jets last week, and had shredded the Lions in Week 5 when he was given adequate time to throw.

If the offensive line can keep Rodgers on his feet and special teams problems can be removed from the equation, the Packers will have a great game this Sunday. The only question is if the defense can stand tall against Matt Stafford’s cannon arm.

While every Packers-oriented media outlet continues to buzz about Davante Adams’ potentially owning franchise single-season records after Week 17, there’s a possibility he may not play at all.

Adams is currently listed as questionable on the injury report with a knee injury, but has expressed his desire to play.

If Adams were to play, he needs only two catches to break Sterling Sharpe’s single-season reception franchise record. Adams would also need 134 yards to break Jordy Nelson’s single-season receiving yards franchise record, set in 2014.

This is a high mark to achieve, but not unattainable. Adams has three games in his career above 134 yards, including two games this season, once against Detroit (140), as well as against Seattle (166, single-game high).

With the Packers eliminated from playoff contention for the second consecutive season, there’s no need to rest starters this week. Last week’s shootout against the Jets showed that Aaron Rodgers fears no team, and will look to start again against the 5-10 Lions.

While Aaron did say that the team needed a galvanizing moment, it’s possible that the moment has come, just far too late. Watching Rodgers explode and use his arm and mobility against New York was a great sign for the Packers this Sunday, and for the team of 2019.

This game will also be a final audition for a few names on the roster that will be fighting to earn a contract extension. Kentrell Brice, Clay Matthews, and Randall Cobb will be important to watch for this reason.

With Rodgers removed from the injury report for the first time this season, getting his swagger back, and at Lambeau, I can’t see the Packers not putting on a show to close out season number 100.

Crosby has only missed two kicks since his Week 5 implosion, and in Week 17, he will have a statistically perfect day.

Score pediction: 31-28 Packers

Check out Freddie Boston’s picks for the Packers and every other Week 17 game around the NFL!