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For inter-conference matchups within the penultimate week of the season, the NFL couldn’t have achieved a lot better. Pittsburgh at New Orleans, Houston at Philadelphia, Kansas Metropolis at Seattle, and Washington at Tennessee all have vital playoff implications.
Not a nasty approach to head into the ultimate two weekends.
“I think the message for the whole team is we’re not satisfied with where we’re at,” says Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Kansas Metropolis can clinch the highest seed within the AFC and win the AFC West beneath sure circumstances.
“We wanted to put ourselves in this position, but at the same time, we know we still have a long way to go. We’re going to keep in that mentality the rest of this season and into the playoffs (of) not being satisfied with just being here. We want to make sure we can go and win the big games whenever we need to.”
Nicely, there are rather a lot of massive video games on Saturday and Sunday.
Pittsburgh (Eight-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2)
NFC South champion New Orleans will get home-field edge for the convention playoffs by profitable right here, although it may well occur in different methods, too. Pittsburgh’s state of affairs is precarious: The Steelers snapped a three-game slide by beating New England, however has no postseason assure but. There are situations for them to safe the division, and others, with two losses, that hold them from making the postseason.
Pittsburgh’s earlier victory in New Orleans got here in 1990. The Saints are 5-1 within the Superdome, averaging 38 factors. Drew Brees’ 74.9 % completion fee leads the NFL. He holds the single-season report at 72 %. Throughout their six house video games, Brees has accomplished 77.7 % (153 of 197) for 1,925 yards (320.Eight per recreation) with 20 TDs and one interception.
Kansas Metropolis (11-Three) at Seattle (Eight-6)
Though the Chiefs are safely into the postseason and in robust place, one loss might sink them to a wild card. Their prolific offense leads the league in factors per recreation (35.6), yards per play (6.78) and yards per recreation (427.Three). However it is going to be examined in Seattle, which had fairly a misstep in a loss at lowly San Francisco final Sunday, however has a bodily, aggressive protection and top-ranked operating recreation.
But it’s KC defensive deal with Chris Jones who has the gaudiest numbers. He had 2½ sacks final week and has at the least one sack in 10 straight video games, an NFL document. Jones has 14 for the season.
The Seahawks should win and have another issues happen to safe an NFC wild-card spot.
Houston (10-Four) at Philadelphia (7-7)
The defending Tremendous Bowl champ Eagles should win out and it nonetheless won’t be sufficient to get to January. Then once more, 9-7 additionally might win the NFC East. That’s how jumbled issues are.
“We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a little different for us, different feel,” says coach Doug Pederson, whose workforce had the NFC’s greatest document in 2017.
Houston has the AFC’s second seed behind Kansas Metropolis and could have a wild-card bye if it wins out. However the Texans don’t personal the AFC South title but, although it comes by beating Philly. Making the playoffs could be very probably after a Zero-Three begin.
“It really doesn’t matter how you win, you just have to win,” says star DE J.J. Watt, within the midst of a sensational comeback season. “We’ve kind of heard it all year: ‘This. That. They didn’t.’ We won. I don’t care how we win, I just want to win. I don’t care if people think it’s pretty, I don’t care if they like it, if they don’t like it, I just want to win.”
Washington (7-7) at Tennessee (Eight-6), Saturday
After profitable seven of eight, the Titans have gone from forgotten — just like Houston — to a participant. They virtually definitely are aiming for a wild card and doubtless have to win out to get it.
The Redskins appeared carried out till they beat Jacksonville final week. They really might win the NFC East by profitable out and getting assist, however additionally they are ravaged by accidents, together with at quarterback, the place journeyman Josh Johnson now has the job.
Tennessee is 5-1 at residence and has swept three video games with the NFC East.
Baltimore (Eight-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (11-Three), Saturday
The Ravens personal the second AFC wild card, however are tied with the Titans and Colts. Their eyes are on one thing greater contemplating how shut they’re to the Steelers within the AFC North. The Ravens are Four-1 beneath rookie QB Lamar Jackson, and lead the NFL in complete protection (290.2 yards per recreation) and fewest factors allowed (18.1).
However beating the Chargers is a tall order. No workforce is enjoying extra maturely or doing higher in clutch conditions. Los Angeles is 20-6 since beginning final season Zero-Four and hopes to get again featured RB Melvin Gordon (knee).
New York Giants (5-9) at Indianapolis (Eight-6)
Indy is one other AFC wild-card contender that in all probability wants two victories, which would come with the finale at Tennessee. Andrew Luck, like Watt, is having a monster return season from damage, and wishes 49 yards passing for a fourth Four,000-yard season.
“I’ve been a part of teams where you sit and say, ‘We need this to happen with this.’ It doesn’t work like that,” Luck says. “You’ve got to handle your own business.”
Meaning making an attempt to close down RB Saquon Barkley, who wants seven catches to interrupt Reggie Bush’s document for receptions (88) by a rookie. Barkley is tied with former Colts star Edgerrin James for second-most video games with 100 yards from scrimmage by an NFL rookie (12). He additionally wants 191 scrimmage yards to hitch James and Eric Dickerson as the one rookies with 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
Buffalo (5-9) at New England (9-5)
For the third straight week, the Patriots can safe their 10th straight AFC East crown. Contemplating their success towards Buffalo, nicely, listed here are the numbers:
—Patriots shall be in search of their 26th season sweep over the Payments and 14th collection sweep since 2000.
—Invoice Belichick has an 86-30 (.741) all-time regular-season report towards the AFC East as Patriots coach.
—Tom Brady owns a 29-Three document towards the Payments. Brady’s 29 wins towards Buffalo are probably the most by a quarterback towards any single opponent.
—New England is 6-Zero at residence.
Los Angeles Rams (11-Three) at Arizona (Three-11)
Issues have turned bitter for the Rams, who for the primary time beneath second-year coach Sean McVay have misplaced two in a row. In fact, their gaudy report already has earned them the NFC West championship they usually get a wild-card spherical bye with two victories.
In what seems a mismatch, the Rams have gone Three-Zero and outscored Arizona 99-16 underneath McVay. Nonetheless, prior to now three video games, Jared Goff has one TD move and 6 interceptions.
Los Angeles DT Aaron Donald leads the NFL with 16½ sacks.
The Cardinals have misplaced eight video games by 10 or extra factors and 4 by a minimum of 20.
Chicago (10-Four) at San Francisco (Four-10)
Chicago’s turnaround season has introduced its first playoff berth since 2010 as NFC North champs. With two victories, the Bears might discover themselves with a first-round bye, however extra probably will probably be seeded third.
Matt Nagy is Chicago’s first rookie coach with 10 wins since George Halas went 10-1-2 in 1920, the primary yr for the franchise then generally known as the Decatur Staleys. The Bears lead the NFL in takeaways (35), turnover margin (plus-13), interceptions (26) and factors off turnovers (107).
Niners TE George Kittle has 1,154 yards receiving and wishes 26 extra to submit probably the most for San Francisco since Terrell Owens had 1,300 in 2002.
Tampa Bay (5-9) at Dallas (Eight-6)
A win provides Dallas the NFC East. The Cowboys come off a shutout loss at Indy that ended a five-game profitable streak. They’re 9-1 at house within the common season towards Tampa.
Dallas has a 20-game streak of not permitting 30 or extra factors, its longest since a 26-game run in 1993-94. The important thing right here may be slowing WR Mike Evans, who was missed for the Professional Bowl regardless of being second within the NFL to Julio Jones with 1,328 yards receiving. Evans wants 95 yards to interrupt Mark Service’s membership report of 1,422 from 1989.
Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9)
The Vikings can clinch a wild card with a win and assist regardless of a stagnant offense. And Detroit’s offense is worse.
The Lions haven’t scored greater than 22 factors since Oct. 21, and Minnesota has an NFL-best 47 sacks. Minnesota sacked Matthew Stafford 10 occasions of their earlier assembly, and had 9 towards Miami final week.
Atlanta (5-9) at Carolina (6-Eight)
No Cam Newton right here because of a nasty shoulder that has hampered his throwing; Taylor Heinicke makes his first profession begin.
The Panthers have dropped six in a row, however Atlanta is 1-5 on the street despite the fact that Matt Ryan has 12 TD passes and three interceptions up to now 5 away video games.
Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey set the single-season franchise document final week for complete yards from scrimmage. McCaffrey wants 21 yards dashing and 132 yards receiving to turn out to be the third NFL operating again with 1,000 yards in each classes. McCaffrey wants six receptions for 100.
Cincinnati (6-Eight) at Cleveland (6-7-1)
Tons of pleasure in Cleveland, with hopes the Browns will go from Zero-16 to a profitable document. The tide alongside Lake Erie definitely appears to have turned.
The Browns haven’t swept the Ohio season collection since 2002. Former Browns coach Hue Jackson returns for the primary time since being fired on Oct. 29, and may anticipate something however open arms from Cleveland followers.
Operating again Joe Mixon wants 5 yards to develop into the primary Bengal to hurry for 1,000 in a season since Jeremy Hill in 2014. Mixon leads the AFC with 995 yards dashing and 207 carries.
Jacksonville (Four-10) at Miami (7-7)
Miami’s first recreation at house because the miracle play to beat New England . The inconsistent Dolphins in all probability want that sort of stuff to sneak into the postseason.
A yr in the past, the Jaguars have been a Tremendous Bowl contender. In 2018, they made the league’s largest collapse. Search for a brand new QB and attainable alternative for Doug Marrone as coach.
Denver (6-Eight) at Oakland (Three-11), Monday night time
Good strategy to finish Monday night time this season, eh? The Broncos gained 11 of the previous 14 on this collection. Oakland coach Jon Gruden is 1-10 in his profession vs. Denver.
This could possibly be the ultimate recreation at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders haven’t any lease for 2019 and will discover a short-term residence earlier than shifting to Las Vegas in 2020.
Inexperienced Bay (5-Eight-1) at New York Jets (Four-10)
Aaron Rodgers plans to play for the Packers, saying sitting out the ultimate two meaningless video games would undermine his management.
Jets kicker Jason Myers and kick returner Andre Roberts made the Professional Bowl. A minimum of they’ve that.
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