The Week 17 NFL slate is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score predictions.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Chalk‘s Mackenzie Kraemer hands out helpful nuggets, and national NFL writer Kevin Seifert sorts through potential playoff and draft-order scenarios. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded final regular-season weekend of NFL football.
Let’s get into the full Week 17 schedule, including a Sunday night battle for the NFC West title.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 63.8 | Spread: KC -9 (45.5)
What to watch for: The Chiefs have 20 interceptions against Philip Rivers in their past 11 matchups dating to 2014, including four in this year’s game in November. With the Chiefs playing well defensively, there’s no reason to believe Rivers can flourish against them this time. — Adam Teicher
Bold prediction: Melvin Gordon will rush for more than 100 yards. The Chiefs are giving up 130 rushing yards per game this season, and six different players have posted 100-yard games against K.C.’s defense. — Eric D. Williams
Stat to know: The Chiefs are giving up only 9.6 points per game over their current five-game win streak, which is the best mark in the league in that span (since Week 11). From Week 1 to Week 10, the Chiefs were giving up a 19th-ranked 23.9 points per game.
What’s at stake: Kansas City can clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and a Patriots loss. It’ll be the No. 3 seed with a win and a Patriots win, or a loss and a Texans loss. They’ll fall to the No. 4 spot with a loss and a Texans win. Meanwhile, FPI is projecting the Chargers to pick No. 7 overall in the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: In the past six seasons, Kansas City is 10-1 outright and 8-3 against the spread (ATS) against the Chargers. Kansas City is also 18-4 ATS in its past 22 division games. Read more.
Williams’ pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 20
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 13
FPI prediction: KC, 85.1% (by an average of 13.8 points)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 62.1 | Spread: MIN -1 (36.5)
What to watch for: This game is effectively meaningless for the Vikings given they’re locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs. Even if coach Mike Zimmer wants to trot out of his starters for the first quarter, it’s in the best interest of this team to play its backups for the majority of the game. — Courtney Cronin
Bold prediction: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will rush for two touchdowns. Coach Matt Nagy is at his wits’ end with the offense. Almost nothing works on a consistent basis, except when Trubisky uses his legs in the open field. Look for the QB to run early and often, and find the end zone twice in what is likely to be a losing effort. — Jeff Dickerson
Stat to know: The Vikings have yet to lose consecutive games this season. And Minnesota has lost consecutive home games only once while playing at U.S. Bank Stadium — in Weeks 13 and 15 in 2016.
What’s at stake: As mentioned, the Vikings are locked in to the No. 6 seed no matter the outcome of this game. The Bears have been eliminated and don’t have a first-round pick in the 2020 draft. FPI projects their spot, owned by the Raiders, to be No. 15 overall.
Betting nugget: Minnesota is 25-9-1 ATS after a loss under Zimmer, including 4-0 this season. Read more.
Dickerson’s pick: Vikings 21, Bears 17
Cronin’s pick: Vikings 19, Bears 17
FPI prediction: MIN, 77.4% (by an average of 10.0 points)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 62.0 | Spread: TB -1 (48)
What to watch for: Since their meeting in Week 12, the Falcons have won three straight and can now knock the Bucs out of second place in the NFC South. And the Bucs just had their four-game win streak snapped without Pro Bowlers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. — Jenna Laine
Bold prediction: The Falcons will intercept Jameis Winston three times, including one by safety Damontae Kazee. Winston would become the first quarterback in NFL history with 30 interceptions and 30 touchdown passes in a season. — Vaughn McClure
Stat to know: Atlanta receiver Julio Jones needs 84 receiving yards to reach 1,400 on the season. It would be his sixth season of 1,400-plus, equaling Jerry Rice for the most such campaigns in NFL history.
What’s at stake: Both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. The Falcons have a 10% chance of losing and moving up into the top 10 of the 2020 draft, per FPI. The Buccaneers are projected to pick No. 17 overall.
Betting nugget: Atlanta is 6-2 ATS in its past eight games after starting the season 1-6 ATS. Read more.
McClure’s pick: Falcons 34, Buccaneers 21
Laine’s pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 24
FPI prediction: TB, 59.8% (by an average of 3.3 points)
Victor Cruz explains why the Falcons’ recent momentum will be the key to victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday.
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 53.6 | Spread: NO -13 (46.5)
What to watch for: Can Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey get the 67 receiving yards and 39 rushing yards needed to become the first player in NFL history to have 1,400 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving in the same season? — David Newton
Bold prediction: Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan will get 2.5 sacks to reach 17 on the season — which would give him a $1 million contract escalator and one final push for some NFL Defensive Player of the Year votes. — Mike Triplett
Stat to know: New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas is 112 receiving yards shy of 1,800 for the season. He’d be only the fifth player in NFL history to reach the mark in a season (Jerry Rice in 1995, Calvin Johnson in 2012, Julio Jones in 2015 and Antonio Brown in 2015).
What’s at stake: The Saints can clinch a first-round bye with a win and a loss by either the 49ers or Packers, or by victories by the Packers and Seahawks. To get the No. 1 seed, the Saints need a win, along with losses by the 49ers and Packers. Otherwise, they will be the No. 3 seed. FPI projects the Panthers to lose and get the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: This is the third straight season New Orleans has clinched a playoff spot before Week 17. Each of the past two seasons, it lost outright in Week 17 as a division favorite of at least six points. Read more.
Triplett’s pick: Saints 26, Panthers 20
Newton’s pick: Saints 38, Panthers 9
FPI prediction: NO, 77.4% (by an average of 10.0 points)
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 50.0 | Spread: NE -16 (45)
What to watch for: With two of the team’s top four cornerbacks on the injury report — Jonathan Jones and Jason McCourty — depth will be tested, as the Patriots are likely to hold them out with the playoffs in mind. That means 2019 second-round pick Joejuan Williams could get an increase in playing time for the second consecutive week. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: Pats quarterback Tom Brady throws for 350-plus yards for the first time this season. The Dolphins’ young, constantly evolving secondary allowed Andy Dalton to throw for 396 yards last Sunday. During a “down year,” Brady will get back on track in the regular-season finale against the Dolphins. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: Brady is 15-1 all time at home against the Dolphins, and he is 15-0 when he plays the full game (he left a 2005 Week 17 loss early to rest for the playoffs).
What’s at stake: The Patriots can clinch the No. 2 seed with a win or a Chiefs loss. They won’t be seeded any lower than No. 3. The Dolphins are currently in the No. 5 spot for the 2020 draft, with only a 2.5% chance of falling lower than that, according to FPI.
Betting nugget: Miami is the first team since the 2016 Browns to be an underdog in every game, and it’s the first time in the Super Bowl era for Miami. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Patriots 34, Dolphins 17
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 30, Dolphins 13
FPI prediction: NE, 95.9% (by an average of 23.0 points)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 43.6 | Spread: GB -12.5 (43)
What to watch for: How many fans show up to this one? The Lions-Buccaneers game two weeks ago felt like a preseason atmosphere. Sunday, with Green Bay playing for one of the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs, Ford Field could turn into a haven of green and cheese. — Michael Rothstein
Bold prediction: Packers running back Aaron Jones will break Ahman Green’s single-season franchise record of 20 touchdowns with two scores against the Lions. — Rob Demovsky
Stat to know: During their four-game win streak, the Packers are giving up 11.8 points per game (second in the NFL) and 4.4 yards per play (third), and they have seven interceptions (first). But they have not held five consecutive opponents under 20 points since Weeks 8-14 of 2010 (six straight).
What’s at stake: The Packers can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win and a 49ers loss. They’ll be the No. 2 seed with a win and a 49ers win, or a loss and a Saints loss. But they’ll fall to the No. 3 seed with a loss and a Saints win. Meanwhile, FPI projects the Lions to lose and get the No. 3 overall pick of the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: Over the past three seasons, Detroit has covered in all five meetings against Green Bay (4-1 outright). Read more.
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 31, Lions 13
Rothstein’s pick: Packers 38, Lions 17
FPI prediction: GB, 69.7% (by an average of 6.9 points)
Victor Cruz and Rob Ninkovich think the Packers will be motivated to get the win against the Lions to put themselves in position for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 36.3 | Spread: BUF -1.5 (36.5)
What to watch for: He probably won’t play more than a handful of series Sunday, but Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley is 56 yards away from setting a career high in receiving yards and eight catches away from a career high in receptions. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: Jets running back Le’Veon Bell will get a season-high 30 carries, but he will be held under 100 rushing yards for the 15th consecutive game, possibly his last with the Jets. — Rich Cimini
Stat to know: Buffalo’s Josh Allen has nine rushing touchdowns this season. On Sunday, he’ll be seeking to become the third player since the 1970 merger with 20 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in a single season (Cam Newton in 2011 and 2015, and Kordell Stewart in 1997).
What’s at stake: The Bills already have clinched the No. 5 seed regardless of the outcome of this game. FPI projects the Jets to pick No. 10 overall in the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: The underdog has won eight of the past nine meetings outright. Read more.
Cimini’s pick: Bills 24, Jets 21
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 21, Jets 10
FPI prediction: BUF, 76.4% (by an average of 9.5 points)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 14.6 | Spread: CLE -2.5 (43.5)
What to watch for: Cincinnati outgained the Browns by 118 yards but still lost in Cleveland in Week 14. The Browns have lost three of their past four, and coach Freddie Kitchens is on the hot seat after an underwhelming season. — Ben Baby
Bold prediction: The Bengals close the season with a win with the No. 1 pick already locked up. Cincinnati has moved the ball in recent weeks and will do the same against the Browns, who might be mailing it in after a turbulent and disappointing season. — Jake Trotter
Stat to know: Cleveland running back Nick Chubb leads the NFL with 1,453 rushing yards this season. If he holds the spot, he’d be the first Browns player to lead league in rushing since Leroy Kelly in 1968. And with 47 more rushing yards, Chubb would reach 1,500 for the season, joining Jim Brown (three times) as the only players in franchise history to hit the number in a single season.
What’s at stake: The Bengals are already locked in to the No. 1 pick of the 2020 draft, so they have every reason to try to win this game. FPI is projecting the Browns to pick No. 13 in the 2020 draft, but they have a 14.7% chance to move up into the top 10.
Betting nugget: This is the fifth time this season Cleveland has been a road favorite, more than in its previous 10 seasons combined. However, Cleveland is 1-3 outright as a road favorite this season. Read more.
Trotter’s pick: Bengals 33, Browns 26
Baby’s pick: Bengals 17, Browns 14
FPI prediction: CLE, 62.8% (by an average of 4.4 points)
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 68.2 | Spread: TEN -3.5 (45.5)
What to watch for: Can Texans running back Carlos Hyde have a bounce-back game? Houston’s running game struggled in Week 16 against the Buccaneers, but when the Texans played the Titans in Week 15, Hyde rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. — Sarah Barshop
Bold prediction: Titans running back Derrick Henry will rush for more than 125 yards. Although Houston is giving up 116 rushing yards per game, it has given up only nine touchdowns on the ground. Henry will also add two of those to his big performance Sunday. — Turron Davenport
Stat to know: The Titans are 5-0 this season when Henry has 100-plus rushing yards, and 3-6 when he doesn’t.
What’s at stake: The Titans can clinch the AFC’s No. 6 seed with a win or losses by the Steelers and Colts. The Texans will be the No. 3 seed if they win and the Chiefs lose. Otherwise, they will be the No. 4 seed.
Betting nugget: Houston is 13-4 ATS and 12-5 outright in the past 17 meetings (since 2011). Read more.
Davenport’s pick: Titans 27, Texans 14
Barshop’s pick: Titans 24, Texans 20
FPI prediction: HOU, 63.8% (by an average of 4.7 points)
Victor Cruz believes Ryan Tannehill’s ability to use his arm to stretch the field will be enough to edge a win over the Texans.
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 54.4 | Spread: PIT -2 (37)
What to watch for: The Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives and are the only undefeated team in Week 17 since 2008. The Ravens have already clinched the top seed in the AFC and could make as many as six Pro Bowl players inactive, including NFL MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson. — Jamison Hensley
Bold prediction: The Steelers will score two defensive touchdowns. A week ago, outside linebacker Bud Dupree said the defense has to score for the Steelers to win. They’ll do so in the finale against the Ravens, but the offense won’t be able to come up with a game-winning drive. — Brooke Pryor
Stat to know: The Steelers haven’t scored 30 points in a game this season. The last time they went a full season without scoring 30 points in a game was 1971.
What’s at stake: Pittsburgh can clinch the AFC’s No. 6 seed via three different scenarios: (1) a win and a Titans loss, (2) losses by the Titans and Raiders with a Colts win, or (3) wins by the Colts and Raiders along with losses by the Bears, Lions, Chargers and Patriots. The Ravens already have clinched home-field advantage and plan to hold out most of their key players for this game.
Betting nugget: Pittsburgh has won 11 straight Week 17 games, the longest active streak in the NFL (7-4 ATS). It’s 11-1 overall in Week 17 under Mike Tomlin. Read more.
Pryor’s pick: Ravens 17, Steelers 14
Hensley’s pick: Steelers 23, Ravens 20
FPI prediction: BAL, 85.1% (by an average of 13.8 points)
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 50.6 | Spread: LAR -7 (49)
What to watch for: The Cardinals are coming off a division win over the Seahawks and want to continue their upward trend to close the season. But look for the Rams, especially on offense, to assert themselves in an effort to finish the season with a winning record. — Lindsey Thiry
Bold prediction: Arizona running back Kenyan Drake will finish off the season with 250 all-purpose yards Sunday, showing out one last time before he hits free agency. — Josh Weinfuss
Stat to know: Rams quarterback Jared Goff is on pace for his worst Total QBR in a season as a full-time starter, sitting at 47.6 prior to this game. His previous low is 55.7 in 2017.
What’s at stake: Both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. FPI projects a Cardinals loss boosting them into No. 9 pick in the 2020 draft. The Rams traded their pick to the Jaguars (projected to be No. 20 overall).
Betting nugget: Arizona is 5-1-1 ATS on the road this season, including 4-0 ATS as a single-digit road underdog with three outright wins. Read more.
Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 34, Rams 27
Thiry’s pick: Rams 28, Cardinals 21
FPI prediction: LAR, 76.6% (by an average of 9.6 points)
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 49.2 | Spread: DAL -11 (45.5)
What to watch for: The Cowboys have only six interceptions, tied with Detroit for the fewest in the league. They actually need two interceptions Sunday to avoid a tie for the worst mark in team history. In 1989, 1997 and 2012, they had only seven interceptions. In his Week 2 start against the Cowboys, Case Keenum had two touchdown passes and was not intercepted. — Todd Archer
Bold prediction: This season, Dallas receiver Amari Cooper has averaged 6.8 catches for 111 yards at home. On Sunday, he will catch seven passes for 120 and two scores against the Redskins’ three backup corners. — John Keim
Stat to know: The Cowboys are 1-6 (.143) in one-possession games this season, the second-worst record in the NFL (Bengals, 0-8). Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, only five teams have made them with a winning percentage of .250 or worse in one-possession games (minimum five such games), and none with one lower than .200.
What’s at stake: The Cowboys need a victory and an Eagles loss to win the NFC East. Otherwise, they will be eliminated from the playoffs. FPI is projecting the Redskins to lose and wind up with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: Since 2010, teams who are still alive in the playoff race entering Week 17 are 22-31-1 ATS in those final-week games. Read more.
Keim’s pick: Cowboys 30, Redskins 23
Archer’s pick: Cowboys 27, Redskins 24
FPI prediction: DAL, 92.0% (by an average of 18.6 points)
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 28.5 | Spread: IND -3.5 (43)
What to watch for: The Colts ran for 264 yards in the last meeting (Marlon Mack had 109 and Jonathan Williams had 116) against the Jaguars, who have given up 176 yards per game rushing in their past seven games (including the Colts game). — Michael DiRocco
Bold prediction: Colts defensive end Justin Houston will get two sacks to give him his highest sack total (12) since he recorded 22 during the 2014 season with the Chiefs. — Mike Wells
Stat to know: Gardner Minshew II could become the first Jaguars quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in his rookie season (2,976 passing yards coming into the game).
What’s at stake: Both teams are eliminated, but the outcome could impact tiebreakers for the AFC’s No. 6 seed. FPI projects the Jaguars to pick No. 6 and the Colts to pick No. 16 in the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: Jacksonville is 7-1-1 ATS against Indianapolis in the past five seasons, including 4-0 outright and ATS at home. Read more.
Wells’ pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 17
DiRocco’s pick: Colts 21, Jaguars 13
FPI prediction: IND, 64.0% (by an average of 4.8 points)
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 27.6 | Spread: PHI -4.5 (45.5)
What to watch for: Keep an eye on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz against those Giants linebackers and safeties. Wentz has experienced more success on short passes over the middle than any other area of the field (624 yards, seven touchdown and no interceptions on 96 attempts). The Giants have given up 12 touchdowns passes this season in the middle of the field up to 20 yards downfield. — Jordan Raanan
Bold prediction: Golden Tate will go for 125 receiving yards against his old team. With cornerback Ronald Darby on injured reserve and counterpart Jalen Mills dealing with an ankle injury, the Giants’ receivers have a chance to make some big waves in the regular-season finale. — Tim McManus
Stat to know: During the Eagles’ three-game win streak, Wentz has been stellar in the second half (and overtime) of games, ranking in the top five in completion percentage (79%, first), passing yards (511, first), passing touchdowns (five, tied for third), first-down throws (31, first) and QBR (82, fifth).
What’s at stake: The Eagles will clinch the NFC East, and the No. 4 seed, with a win or a Cowboys loss. They’ll be eliminated if they lose and the Cowboys win. FPI projects the Giants to have the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: Over the past two seasons, New York is 1-9 ATS and outright as a home underdog. Read more.
McManus’ pick: Eagles 28, Giants 24
Raanan’s pick: Eagles 34, Giants 28
FPI prediction: PHI, 70.4% (by an average of 7.1 points)
Rob Ninkovich expects Carson Wentz and the Eagles to get by the Giants and secure the NFC East.
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 27.0 | Spread: DEN -3.5 (41)
What to watch for: Denver receiver Courtland Sutton‘s last 100-yard game was Week 11 at Minnesota, when he had 113 yards on five catches. But look for him to end the season with his third such game this season against the Raiders, who have surrendered seven 100-yard receiving games this season. — Jeff Legwold
Bold prediction: Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby will sack rookie Denver quarterback Drew Lock twice Sunday to tie Greg Townsend’s franchise rookie record of 10.5 sacks in a season (1983). With Clelin Ferrell and Dion Jordan starting to command more attention, that will free up Crosby. — Paul Gutierrez
Stat to know: Oakland quarterback Derek Carr has completed 83.3% (70-of-84) of his passes vs. the Broncos over the past two seasons, the best of any player vs. a single opponent over that span (minimum two games vs. that opponent). Since the start of 2018, Carr has a 82.3 Total QBR against the Broncos, and a combined 50.9 Total QBR vs. all other teams.
What’s at stake: The Raiders are still alive for the AFC’s No. 6 seed. They’ll need a win, combined with losses by the Titans and Steelers, as well as a Colts win and a win by at least one of the following teams: the Bears, Lions, Chargers or Patriots. And on the other side, FPI gives the Broncos a 20.6% chance moving into the top 10 of the 2020 draft.
Betting nugget: Each of the past six meetings went under the total, and Oakland has covered each of the past four. Read more.
Gutierrez’s pick: Broncos 21, Raiders 16
Legwold’s pick: Broncos 27, Raiders 23
FPI prediction: DEN, 61.7% (by an average of 4.0 points)
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 86.1 | Spread: SF -3.5 (47)
What to watch for: How much will Marshawn Lynch play? Pete Carroll said the Seahawks will “lean on” rookie sixth-round pick Travis Homer, who was their only healthy tailback before they re-signed former Seahawks Lynch and Robert Turbin this week. But even with a long layoff, Lynch might still be Seattle’s best option. — Brady Henderson
Bold prediction: Niners defensive end Nick Bosa will put the finishing touches on a splendid rookie season with at least two sacks on his way to Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The Seahawks will be missing standout left tackle Duane Brown, which means Bosa should have enough favorable matchups to dominate on a huge stage. — Nick Wagoner
Stat to know: Bosa has created 49 pressures this season, the most among 49ers players and NFL rookies, and the 10th most in the league. On the other side of the field, Jadeveon Clowney leads the Seahawks with 38 pressures.
What’s at stake: The 49ers would clinch the NFC West, and the NFC’s No. 1 seed, with a win. Otherwise, they will be the No. 5 seed. The Seahawks would win the NFC West with a victory but would need losses by the Packers and Saints to be the top seed. They’ll be No. 2 if they win and the Packers lose. Otherwise, a win will deliver them the No. 3 seed. A loss would put them at No. 5.
Betting nugget: Under Carroll, Seattle is 9-1 ATS and outright at home against San Francisco (including playoffs) with eight straight outright wins. Read more.
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 30, Seahawks 24
Henderson’s pick: 49ers 26, Seahawks 20
FPI prediction: SF, 56.3% (by an average of 2.2 points)
Published at Fri, 27 Dec 2019 12:38:34 +0000