Many NFL teams still have playoff aspirations heading into Week 17 of the season. In the AFC, just three teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. In the NFC, two playoff positions are left to be filled.
League Still Dealing With Coronavirus Issues
This past Monday, 106 players were added to the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, a new record. In addition, 96 players tested positive this week, and a total of 521 players have tested positive this season. Only 428 players tested positive for the virus during all of last season. The league is currently looking at all its available options to ensure all teams will be on the field this week.
The NFL and NFLPA recently agreed to lower players’ quarantine time down to five days instead of the previous ten-day quarantine period as long as the player is asymptomatic. This means that even players who tested positive this week will be eligible for this weekend’s games as long as they don’t show any symptoms. Unfortunately, several big-name players have tested positive this week and could miss games. Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, the Chargers’ Joey Bosa, RB Dalvin Cook of Minnesota, and LB Darius Leonard of the Colts will all be sidelined for this week’s action.
Key Games Set For This Week
Week 17 kicks off with many playoff positions still undecided, especially in the AFC standings. The Cincinnati Bengals look to all but wrap up the AFC North with a win over the Chiefs at home this Sunday. The Chiefs are slight favorites in this game and could use a win to help them gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Buffalo looks for its third straight win against the visiting Atlanta Falcons after beating the New England Patriots last week to move into a tie for the division lead with a 9-6 record. New England has lost two straight games but could get some relief this week when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. However, they need a win to keep pace with Buffalo as they will have to travel to Miami in Week-18 to face the Dolphins, who are winners of their last seven games.
The two teams are now tied for the division lead at 9-6, with neither clinching a playoff position up to now. However, the Dolphins are red-hot at the moment and are looking to overtake both teams in the division standings, where they are only one game behind the leaders. If they keep playing as well as they have recently, they could very well steal the division title from the two favorites.
Rams Look To Clinch Division With A Win
In the NFC playoff race, the Cowboys, Packers and Buccaneers have all clinched their respective division titles. Only the Rams remain as the lone first-place team to win their division. They travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens this Sunday and could wrap up the NFC West with a win against Baltimore, who have lost four straight games. The Rams have a one-game lead in the division over the Arizona Cardinals, who have lost three in a row and have to travel to Dallas this week to face the NFC East Champions, who are on a four-game winning streak coming into this game.
The other big NFC news is in Philadelphia. The Eagles have won their last three games and moved into the conference’s final playoff position. They now sit at 8-7 on the season and will face the Washington Football Team on Sunday. A win in this game would keep them in the playoff picture. They will close out the season at home against the Dallas Cowboys.