We’ve made it to the final week of the NFL season, and there are still some scores to be settled.
While the top of the playoff picture is all but settled in both conferences, the race for the wild card is still going strong.
Both the Cowboys and the Lions were eliminated from playoff contention with losses last week, but for teams like the Seahawks, the Chargers, the Bills, and the Titans, a run to the Super Bowl is still possible with a bit of luck in Week 17.
Check out where each team stands heading into Week 17 below:
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: Lost to the Bears, 20-3
This week: at Pittsburgh Steelers
One thing to know: The Browns secured the first overall draft pick for the second straight season with their loss on Sunday. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to get the player they want, as potential first pick Josh Rosen has expressed hesitance at the idea of joining the Browns. Thankfully, fellow prospect Sam Darnold doesn’t seem to mind the idea of suiting up for Cleveland.
31. New York Giants
Last week: Lost to the Cardinals, 23-0
This week: vs. Washington Redskins
One thing to know: We don’t know what next season will hold for Eli Manning and the Giants, but New York will be close to the top of the draft should they choose to pursue their next potential franchise quarterback this offseason.
30. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: Lost to the Ravens, 23-16
This week: vs. Houston Texans
One thing to know: Colts owner Jim Irsay asked on Twitter whether fans would prefer the stadium roof open or closed on Sunday when the temperatures are expected to be in the single-digits. He was promptly roasted for his attempt at humour. The whole ordeal serves as a microcosm of the Colts season. Hopefully Andrew Luck returns in good health next year. The franchise has not looked well without him.
29. Houston Texans
Last week: Lost to the Steelers, 34-6
This week: at Indianapolis Colts
One thing to know: Even though the Texans lost again on Sunday, Houston fans can at least know that their investment in DeAndre Hopkins was a good one – his circus catch in the end zone was something of a Christmas miracle.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: Lost to the Panthers, 22-19
This week: vs. New Orleans Saints
One thing to know: The Buccaneers’ season didn’t go the way many viewers of “Hard Knocks” expected this yea. But brighter days might be in the Buccos’ near future, as rumours of Jon Gruden’s return to coaching are growing louder than ever before.
27. Chicago Bears
Last week: Beat the Browns, 20-3
This week: at Minnesota Vikings
One thing to know: Many thought the Browns would be able to steal their first win of the season against the Bears last week, but Mitch Trubisky and company took care of business at home. If Chicago can get a few more weapons and Trubisky shows a similar improvement in his second year like we’ve seen out of Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, there’s a chance the Bears could be something special next year.
26. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: Beat the Lions, 26-17
This week: at Baltimore Ravens
One thing to know: With the departure of Marvin Lewis, the Bengals will be one of many teams looking for a new head coach this offseason to right the ship and hopefully finally get the Bengals a playoff win.
25. New York Jets
Last week: Lost to the Chargers, 14-7
This week: at New England Patriots
One thing to know: After a more entertaining than expected season, it’s still unclear what the Jets’ future holds. New pieces like Austin Seferian-Jenkins clearly have a spot with the team, but what New York will decide to do at quarterback is anybody’s guess.
24. Miami Dolphins
Last week: Lost to the Chiefs, 29-13
This week: vs. Buffalo Bills
One thing to know: Jay Cutler reportedly wants to come back and play NFL football for another year after taking $US10 million to join the Dolphins in August for five months worth of work. With so few capable starters currently in the league, it’s possible he could find another team willing to give him a shot.
23. Denver Broncos
Last week: Lost to the Redskins, 27-11
This week: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
One thing to know: The Broncos face an interesting offseason, having three quarterbacks on their roster with none of them having proven successful starters. Second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch looks set to start for Denver on Sunday, giving the Broncos one more opportunity to see what he has before the franchise begins to make some difficult roster decisions.
22. Washington Redskins
Last week: Beat the Broncos, 27-11
This week: at New York Giants
One thing to know: Kirk Cousins remains one of the most intriguing potential free agents for the coming year, and Washington has done themselves no favours in keeping their most marketable star. After another top-10 year in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and QB rating, if the Redskins aren’t willing to pay Cousins the salary he deserves, some team in the league will be waiting with their checkbook ready.
21. Green Bay Packers
Last week: Lost to the Vikings, 16-0
This week: at Detroit Lions
One thing to know: Teams across the league are reportedly angry with the Packers for skirting protocol regarding the injured reserve list and believe that the team should be forced to release star quarterback Aaron Rodgers because of the infraction. While it does look like their argument is sound if going by the letter of the law, it’s hard to imagine the NFL taking one of its most visible players away from the team he’s been with his entire career.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: Beat the Giants, 23-0
This week: at Seattle Seahawks
One thing to know: While the Cardinals came up a bit short this season, Larry Fitzgerald had himself yet another career year, including a 119 yard effort last week against the Giants, a game that also included Fitz’s first career completion. It’s clear that there’s still something in the tank should he choose to play another year and chase down Terrell Owens to become the second-leading receiver in NFL history.
19. Oakland Raiders
Last week: Lost to the Eagles, 19-10
This week: at Los Angeles Chargers
One thing to know: It’s been a disappointing year for the Raiders after the incredible run the team had in 2016. With a move to Las Vegas looming in the near future, the franchise will have to make some adjustments if their final seasons in Oakland are to be winning ones.
18. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: Lost to the Seahawks, 21-12
This week: at Philadelphia Eagles
One thing to know: The Cowboys had their path to the playoff crushed on Sunday after falling apart at home against a Seahawks team that’s been riddled with injury – even the return of Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t enough to spark the Dallas offence.
17. Detroit Lions
Last week: Lost to the Bengals, 26-17
This week: vs. Green Bay Packers
One thing to know: The Lions had a chance to make the playoffs only to fall to the dismal Bengals last weekend, and now head coach Jim Caldwell is on the hot seat.
16. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: Beat the Jaguars, 44-33
This week: at Los Angeles Rams
One thing to know: Despite what their record shows, anyone who has been watching football the past four weeks knows the 49ers are the most intriguing team that unfortunately won’t be making the playoffs. Jimmy Garoppolo extended his undefeated streak with the Niners, torching the Jaguars for a season-high 44 points in the process. One can’t help but wonder what the Niners’ record might’ve been if Jimmy G had been with them all year.
15. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: Beat the Jets, 14-7
This week: vs. Oakland Raiders
One thing to know: Even after a brutal 0-4 start, the Chargers somehow enter the final week of the regular season with a shot at making the playoffs. They will need to beat the Raiders and get some luck across other AFC games throughout the day to make it to Wild Card weekend.
14. Tennessee Titans
Last week: Lost to the Rams, 27-23
This week: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
One thing to know: A Titans win over the Jaguars on Sunday will get them to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They can also still qualify should they lose to Jacksonville, but they’d need losses from the Bills and Chargers as well in order to steal the Wild Card.
13. Buffalo Bills
Last week: Lost to the Patriots, 37-16
This week: at Miami Dolphins
One thing to know: As it stands, it looks like the Bills are going to miss the postseason by one game, and there’s a chance that the spot that would have been theirs will go to the Chargers, making head coach Sean McDermott’s decision to sit Tyrod Taylor for Nathan Peterman when the teams met midseason all the more painful for the snake-bitten franchise.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: Beat the Cowboys, 21-12
This week: vs. Arizona Cardinals
One thing to know: The Seahawks need a win and a Falcons loss to make the postseason this year. FiveThirtyEight gives them a 30% chance of extending their season heading into Sunday.
11. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: Beat the Colts, 23-16
This week: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
One thing to know: The Ravens have almost secured a spot in the playoffs, but just in case, it’s probably best for the team to take care of business at home rather than risk the Chargers or Bills pulling an inside to jump above them and steal their spot.
10. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: Lost to the Saints, 23-13
This week: vs. Carolina Panthers
One thing to know: The reigning NFC Champions are still in control of their own destiny – if they win on Sunday, they will be into the Wild Card round and have a chance to defend their NFC title. Should they lose, they will need the Seahawks to fall as well in order to make the postseason.
9. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: Beat the Raiders, 19-10
This week: vs. Dallas Cowboys
One thing to know: After an impressive debut in New York in Week 15, Nick Foles fell back to Earth on Monday against the Raiders, throwing for just 140 yards on 15-29 passing with just one touchdown and two interceptions. Still, the Eagles’ defence played solid enough to help Philadelphia earn a thrilling late-game victory.
8. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: Beat the Dolphins, 29-13
This week: at Denver Broncos
One thing to know: The Chiefs are looking more like their old selves by the week, but it’s still hard to trust the team after their midseason collapse. Even so, with Kareem Hunt and Tyreke Hill, the Chiefs offence can hang with any team in the league on their best day.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: Lost to the 49ers, 44-33
This week: at Tennessee Titans
One thing to know: The Jaguars had already clinched their division before their loss to the 49ers last Sunday. Their usually steadfast defence is going to have to get their feet back under if they’re going to have a chance at making a run to the Super Bowl.
6. New Orleans Saints
Last week: Beat the Falcons, 23-13
This week: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One thing to know: The Saints clinched a playoff berth with their win over the Falcons last week. A win over the Buccaneers in Week 17 would secure them the NFC South division title and with it a home game in the Wild Card round.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: Beat the Texans, 34-6
This week: vs. Cleveland Browns
One thing to know: With the Jaguars’ loss to the Niners last week, Pittsburgh secured their first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. That was crucial as it is still unclear how long it will be until star receiver Antonio Brown is ready to go.
4. Carolina Panthers
Last week: Beat the Buccaneers, 22-19
This week: at Atlanta Falcons
One thing to know: Despite the controversy currently surrounding owner Jerry Richardson and his upcoming sale of the team, the Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won seven of their last eight games.
3. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: Beat the Titans, 27-23
This week: vs. San Francisco 49ers
One thing to know: Todd Gurley has surged the past few weeks to emerge as a late MVP-candidate to challenge Tom Brady for the award. Last week, Gurley had an impressive 118 yards rushing and an additional 158 yards receiving, with two touchdowns to boot.
2. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: Beat the Packers, 16-0
This week: vs. Chicago Bears
One thing to know: The Super Bowl is being held in U.S. Bank Stadium this season, meaning it’s possible that the Vikings could play all the way through the title game without leaving Minneapolis.
1. New England Patriots’
Last week: Beat the Bills, 37-16
This week: vs. New York Jets
One thing to know: With a first-round bye already secured, the Patriots have spent recent days bolstering their depth, most notably adding Pro Bowl linebacker and former Steeler James Harrison. Harrison could help the Patriots in a number of ways, especially if they end up facing Pittsburgh again in an AFC Championship rematch.
Now look back on the year that was with the best sports photos of 2017
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