The NFL season has flown by, and the playoffs are in full swing. With a thrilling finish to game 17 of the week, many playoff matchups were decided. Here is a rundown of everything you need for your last-minute study guide before kickoff on Sunday.
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The NFL’s Week 18 schedule for the 2021 season is chock-full of intriguing games, and we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know going into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters provide us with the most important aspects of each game, as well as a bold prediction for each matchup and, of course, final score predictions.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a big stat to know, playoff picture and/or draft position implications and a betting nugget for each contest, and our Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. Everything you want to know is here in one spot to help you get ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Let’s take a look at the entire Week 18 schedule, which includes two Saturday games on ESPN/ABC, an AFC North showdown between two teams vying for a playoff berth, a matchup between the playoff-chasing 49ers and the division-chasing Rams, and a win-or-go-home AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Raiders on Sunday night. (Unless otherwise stated, all games are on Sunday.)
KC-DEN | DAL-PHI | CIN-CLE | PIT-BAL | CHI-MIN IND-JAX | TEN-HOU | WSH-NYG SEA-ARI | NE-MIA CAR-TB | NYJ-BUF | NO-ATL LAC-LV
KC -11.5 | ESPN/ABC Matchup rating: 72.1 | Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (45)
What to look out for: How much more can the Broncos give? The Chiefs have a 12-game winning run over the Broncos, the Broncos have been eliminated from the playoffs for the sixth straight year, the Chiefs need a victory to keep their playoff bye chances alive, and the Broncos’ roster will undergo considerable upheaval in the coming weeks. The character of Denver will be put to the test, and the Broncos could need a great offensive day. Legwold, Jeff
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock will not reach his lifetime QBR of 24.7 against the Chiefs, according to a bold prediction. With two touchdowns, five interceptions, and a completion rate of 52.8 percent in three career games versus Kansas City, he has struggled. That won’t change much against a Chiefs pass defense eager to improve on its performance against Joe Burrow and the Bengals last week. Adam Teicher’s remark
Tyreek Hill has 59 aggregate receiving yards in his last two games, which is his second-lowest total in a two-game stretch in the last five seasons. During that time, though, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce has three touchdown receptions. Four goals in a three-game period is a career best for him.
Impact on the playoffs and the draft: The Chiefs have already won the AFC West, while the Broncos have already been eliminated from the playoffs. With a victory on Saturday and a Titans defeat on Sunday, Kansas City can clinch the AFC’s top spot. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Chiefs | Broncos Injuries
Kansas City has covered six of its last seven games and is 9-2 against the spread (ATS) versus Denver dating back to 2016. Continue reading to learn more.
Chiefs 27, Broncos 13 is Teicher’s prediction. Chiefs 28, Broncos 16 is Legwold’s prediction. KC is predicted to win 64.8 percent of the vote by the FPI (by an average of 5.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: The Chiefs are hungry to avenge their defeat, and a No. 1 seed is still a possibility… What are the QB possibilities for the Broncos this offseason? … What percentage of the Broncos’ top-10 defense will GM Paton keep?
ESPN/ABC Matchup rating: 75.3 | Spread: DAL -4.5 | Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (43.5)
What to look for: Both clubs have already qualified for the playoffs, and a victory will not give them a higher seeding. So, how are they going to approach this matchup? Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said that he intends to play his starters, despite the fact that many crucial players, notably linebacker Micah Parsons and left tackle Tyrone Smith, are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni has been coy about his strategy, but with a slew of starters on the reserve/COVID-19 list, quarterback Jalen Hurts still nursing a high ankle sprain, and numerous veterans in need of rest, the team may choose for caution. Tim McManus, Ph.D.
Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys will dash for 1,000 yards this season, according to a bold prediction. He needs 85 yards to get there, but he hasn’t rushed for at least 69 yards in 11 games. Smith will not be blocking for Zeke at tackle, but it’s worth noting that he ran for 95 yards against the Eagles in the first meeting of the season. Elliott has 884 running yards versus Philadelphia in his career. Todd Archer is a writer.
Dallas had 33 takeaways this season, tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the most in the NFL, but hasn’t had more than 33 since 1987. (43).
1 p.m. ET | 40.2 Fox Matchup rating | CLE -6 spread (38)
What to look out for: How invested will either side be in this game? The Bengals have already secured the AFC North and may rest important players for the playoffs, while the Browns seem to be overdue for the season to end. Neither Joe Burrow of Cincinnati nor Baker Mayfield of Cleveland will be the starting quarterback. Jake Trotter’s remark
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Bengals running back Samaje Perine will carry for 100 yards, according to my bold prediction. In the absence of Joe Mixon, the Bengals backup should have plenty of carries, and Perine has been efficient in extended stretches throughout his stint in Cincinnati. – Ben Little
Ja’Marr Chase has 1,429 receiving yards this season for the Bengals, and he needs 12 more yards to break the single-season record and 44 more yards to surpass the all-time rookie record.
The Browns have been eliminated from the playoffs, while the Bengals have already clinched the AFC North, their first division championship since 2015. With a victory and either (A) defeats by Tennessee, New England, and Kansas City, or (B) losses by Tennessee and Kansas City plus a Buffalo win, Cincinnati can claim the AFC’s top seed. The Bengals have a 4% chance, according to ESPN’s FPI. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Bengals | Browns Injuries
Cleveland has gone under the total in five of their last six games. Continue reading to learn more.
Bengals 20, Browns 13 is Baby’s choice. Bengals 27, Browns 10 is Trotter’s prediction. CLE has a 54.3 percent chance of winning, according to the FPI (by an average of 1.5 points)
Bengals’ Mixon tests positive for COVID-19 and will not participate in the NFL regular-season finale, according to sources… Mayfield is set to have shoulder surgery. Sunday, Jan. 19, is a no-show… As the Bengals win the AFC North, Burrow lives up to his ‘winning’ reputation.
1 p.m. ET | 48.0 Fox Matchup rating | GB -3.5 spread (44.5)
What to look out for: The Motor City has had a difficult season, but receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a bright light. He just needs 15 more receiving yards to overtake Roy Williams (817) for the most by a Lions rookie. Although it’s unknown if Jared Goff or Tim Boyle will start for the Lions, they’ll both be looking for him early and frequently. St. Brown has at least eight catches in five consecutive games, the greatest stretch by a rookie receiver in the Super Bowl history. He’s also one of four rookies with at least 70 catches this season, joining Miami’s Jaylen Waddle, Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase, and Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris, for the first time. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Packer backup quarterback Jordan Love would eventually replace Aaron Rodgers and lead numerous touchdown drives, giving the Packers more optimism for his future than they had following his first start (earlier this season against Kansas City). The Packers have won five straight games against the Lions, but non-Aaron Rodgers quarterbacks have gone 1-3 versus them since 2008. Demovsky, Rob
Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers had eight games with 100 receiving yards or more this season, the most by a Packer since Robert Brooks in 1995. (nine). He’s also 22 yards short of matching Jordy Nelson’s team record for receiving yards in a single season, with 1,498. (1,519 in 2014).
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 44.5 | BAL -6 on the spread (41.5)
What to look out for: Will T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers establish a new NFL sack record? Watt has 21.5 sacks this season, only 1.5 shy of Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record. Right tackle Patrick Mekari of the Ravens has allowed 11 sacks this season, which is tied for sixth in the NFL. Watt had a great game against the Ravens five weeks ago, earning 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and interfering with Baltimore’s possible game-winning 2-point try. Jamison Hensley (Jamison Hensley)
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For the fourth time this season, Steelers running back Najee Harris will have at least 100 rushing yards. The Ravens have the greatest run defense in the NFL, but Harris is just getting better as the season progresses. He rushed for 71 yards against the Ravens three weeks ago, and he had 188 yards against the Browns the week before. With J.C. Hassenauer at center and Chris Morgan in charge of the locker room, the offensive line looked stronger, and the Steelers will build on last week’s performance with another strong showing to send quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out on a high note. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
This is John Harbaugh’s 31st career meeting with Mike Tomlin (including playoffs), which is the second most in NFL history between head coaches (George Halas and Curly Lambeau had 49).
With a victory, neither club assures a postseason spot, but both teams need one to have a chance of making the playoffs. The Ravens will also require defeats from the Colts, Chargers, and Dolphins, while the Steelers will need a Colts loss and a draw in the Chargers-Raiders game. According to ESPN’s FPI, Pittsburgh has an 8% probability of making the playoffs, while Baltimore has a 3% chance after starting the season with a 95 percent chance. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Steelers against. Ravens: Injuries
Roethlisberger’s 29th career start (30th career game) versus the Ravens, including the playoffs, would come in Week 18. Despite Roethlisberger’s 18-10 record versus the Steelers, the Ravens have only outscored them by 3 points in his starts. In the Super Bowl era, no quarterback has ever won more games against an opponent with such a low point difference. Continue reading to learn more.
Steelers 21, Ravens 14 is Pryor’s prediction. Steelers 24, Ravens 16 is Hensley’s prediction. BAL, 58.5 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 2.9 points)
Roethlisberger prepares for Baltimore after the’surreal’ Heinz Field finale… Jackson will miss his third game in a row due to an ankle ailment… WR Johnson and C Green have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Steelers.
| Fox | 1 p.m. ET MIN -5.5 spread | Matchup rating: 39.3 (44.5)
What to look out for: Will Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and Bears coach Matt Nagy, as well as their respective staffs, be hired on Monday? Both head coaches are on the hot seat and will almost certainly lose this game. Zimmer, on the other hand, is one victory away from being able to say that in his eight years as a head coach, he has averaged 9.1 victories a season and can use it as a selling point with prospective future jobs. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins is anticipated to return from COVID-19, while Chicago quarterback Justin Fields is slated to miss the game after being put on the COVID-19/reserve list. Courtney Cronin (Courtney Cronin)
Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn will have at least one sack and become the first player in league history to have 19 or more sacks with two different clubs in the same season. Quinn had 19 sacks with the Rams last season, and although Minnesota doesn’t allow many, the 31-year-old can concentrate only on pressuring the quarterback in a meaningless game. And if he gets a sack on Sunday, it would be his ninth game in a row with at least one, tying him for the fourth-longest run of any player since 1982. Rogers, Jesse
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Justin Jefferson of the Vikings is five catches short of matching Michael Thomas for most by a player in his first two seasons. In his first two years, he already eclipsed Odell Beckham Jr. for the most yards by a player.
Both clubs have been eliminated from the playoffs, and the Bears do not have a first-round draft choice. Minnesota is now expected to choose 12th, with a 21 percent chance of moving into the top 10, according to ESPN’s FPI. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Bears | Vikings Injuries
Chicago has a 3-9 ATS record as an underdog this season. Continue reading to learn more.
Vikings 20, Bears 17 is Rogers’ prediction. Vikings 24, Bears 20 is Cronin’s prediction. MIN, 67.5 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 6.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: QB Fields has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Bears… Cousins, the Vikings’ quarterback, will start the game after being activated off the COVID-19 list.
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 32.7 | IND -15.5 spread (44)
What to look for: The Jaguars have won six straight at home against the visiting Colts (including a game in London) and came close to beating them earlier this season in Indianapolis. In that game, Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 116 yards and a score, and the Jaguars are allowing 127.1 yards per game on the ground this season, including 454 yards in the last two games. Expect a lot more Taylor in the second half, particularly if the Colts have a 10-point lead. — Mike DiRocco is an actor who has been in many films.
Taylor will carry for at least 266 yards to become the ninth running back in NFL history to dash for more than 2,000 yards in a single season. Yes, 266 yards in a single game is a lot, but keep in mind that we’re talking about the Jaguars, who have allowed the ninth-most yards per game on the ground this season. In the season finale of 2020, Taylor carried for 253 yards against them as well. So what’s another 13 yards for Taylor on Sunday if he can enter the 2,000-yard club with Derrick Henry and Adrian Peterson? Mike Wells’ remark
In any game this season, Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence has not recorded more throwing touchdowns than turnovers. Since at least 1978, no quarterback has started every game in a season and had zero games with more throwing touchdowns than turnovers. Lawrence’s 15 straight starts with one or less throwing touchdowns are tied for the most in a season with Trent Dilfer (1995), Rick Mirer (1993), and Ken O’Brien (1991).
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 27.1 | TEN -10.5 point spread (43)
What to look out for: Even though Tennessee’s running back Derrick Henry isn’t expected to return until the playoffs, the Titans may still run all over the Texans. Houston is bottom in the NFL in running yards allowed per game (143.3) and has given up 150 yards or more nine times this season, three more than any other team and tied for the most by any club in the previous ten seasons. Despite playing in just eight games this season, Henry is the Titans’ top rusher with 440 yards. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
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Titans running back D’Onta Foreman will have his fourth 100-yard rushing effort in the last six games, this time against his previous club, according to a bold prediction. The last time these two teams met, he only had 25 running yards, but the Texans have the league’s worst run defense, and Foreman just had a career-high 132 yards rushing last week. In the season finale, he’ll surpass that total, helping the Titans capture the AFC’s top seed. Turron Davenport (Turron Davenport)
To surpass 3,500 passing yards for the second straight season, Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs 53 passing yards. Warren Moon is the first player in Titans/Oilers history to have at least that many in consecutive seasons (three straight from 1989 to 1991).
Playoff and draft implications: The Titans won the AFC South, but they have yet to secure the conference’s top seed and a bye in the playoffs. They can achieve it with (A) a victory, (B) Chiefs, Bengals, and Patriots losses, or (C) Chiefs and Bengals losses with a Bills win. It has a 79 percent probability, according to ESPN’s FPI. The Texans are presently predicted to take third overall in the draft, although they have been removed from contention for the first overall choice. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Titans | Texans Injuries
Tennessee games have gone under the total in four of their last five games. Continue reading to learn more.
Titans 28, Texans 7 is Davenport’s prediction. Titans 35, Texans 10 is Barshop’s prediction. TEN, 74.3 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 8.6 points)
Must-reads in this matchup: Titans RB The Titans are on the verge of securing the AFC’s top seed, and RB Foreman is doing his part.
1 p.m. ET | 12.5 Fox Matchup rating | WSH -7 spread (37.5)
What to look out for: Will the Giants be able to produce any offense and make this a competitive game in order to preserve coach Joe Judge’s job? It’s been that bad. Jake Fromm, the starting quarterback for the second time in his career, had 25 yards before being removed two weeks ago. And the Giants, who started Mike Glennon, were even worse last week in Chicago, throwing for minus-10 yards. They’ll have to come up with something against a Washington defense that allows 265.6 yards a game through the air, which is the third worst in the NFL. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
Speculative prediction: Terry McLaurin, a Washington receiver, will break 100 yards and grab a touchdown pass. New York has done a nice job versus opposing wideouts, and McLaurin hasn’t been ripping it up, owing to the quarterback’s performance and the inconsistency of his weapons. In actuality, he was only targeted 54 times and caught 33 passes from Weeks 8 to 17. During that time, he went over 61 yards once. But he grabbed 11 catches for 107 yards against the Giants in Week 2, and he’s caught 32 passes for 382 yards in four games against them, including two 100-yard performances. He’ll come in strong towards the end. ‘John Keim’
The Giants’ minus-10 passing yards against the Bears last week were the lowest by a club since the 1998 Chargers. They’ve also gone eight games in a row with less than 200 passing yards, the longest such stretch since 2004-05. (12 straight).
p.m., 4:25 p.m., 4:25 p.m. ET | 76.9% Fox Matchup Rating | LAR -4.5 Spread (44.5)
What to look out for: In a regular-season finale, the stakes don’t get much greater than what the Rams and 49ers are facing on Sunday. The Rams would win their third division championship in five seasons under coach Sean McVay, as well as the No. 2 seed in the NFC, with a win. The 49ers, on the other hand, can secure a postseason place with a victory, giving them even more motivation to defeat their division opponent for the sixth game in a row. Keep an eye on Rams receiver Cooper Kupp, who is on pace to win the Triple Crown by leading the NFL in catches, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions. Lindsey Thiry (Lindsey Thiry)
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With his wounded thumb and everything, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo not only starts, but also performs well enough to lead the Niners back to the playoffs with a victory. He’s 5-0 versus the Rams in his career, and in their first encounter, he produced his best Total QBR of the season. This season, Garoppolo and the Niners have performed better when facing adversity, and no game is more crucial than one in which your season is on the line. Nick Wagoner is a writer.
Rams defensive end Aaron Donald has 98 career sacks and is attempting to become the sixth-youngest player in NFL history to reach 100. Only Jared Allen, Reggie White, DeMarcus Ware, Bruce Smith, and Von Miller were younger when they accomplished this feat.
Postseason implications and draft implications: The Rams have already secured a playoff place, but they must win or have the Cardinals lose in order to win the NFC West. According to ESPN’s FPI, they have a 77 percent probability of winning. To qualify for the playoffs, the 49ers must either win or have the Saints lose (60 percent chance). Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Rams | 49ers | Injuries
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is 24-17 ATS as an underdog in his career, including 11-4 ATS since 2019. Continue reading to learn more.
49ers 24, Rams 20 is Wagoner’s prediction. Rams 28, 49ers 21 is Thirty’s choice. LAR, 64.4 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 4.9 points)
Must-reads for matchups: How Lance has refined his game behind the scenes… Akers has been cleared to play against the 49ers for the Rams… Garoppolo (thumb) is back in the lineup… Stafford and the Rams have survived errors and mistakes, but they must play more consistently.
p.m., 4:25 p.m., 4:25 p.m. ET | Fox Matchup rating: 71.7 | ARI -6.5 spread (48)
What to look for: After losing their previous four games at home, the Cardinals must prove that they can win at home. Despite their poor season, the Seahawks will not be a pushover, and this game will set the tone for the Cardinals moving into the playoffs. For Arizona, there’s more at stake than a possible NFC West title. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
Russell Wilson will throw three touchdown passes with no interceptions in what may be his last game as a Seahawk — and his last opportunity to demonstrate potential suitors that he’s recovered from the accuracy concerns that plagued his midseason comeback from finger surgery. He was in his second game back when he had a poor effort in the Seahawks’ Week 11 defeat to Arizona. He also didn’t have the benefit of Seattle’s improved running game, which is attributable to Rashaad Penny’s recent surge. Brady Henderson’s quote
Kyler Murray of Arizona is one of just five quarterbacks in NFL history to have thrown for 3,500 yards in each of his first three seasons (Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston, Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning). He could also become the sixth quarterback in NFL history to have 400 running yards in each of his first three seasons with 12 rushing yards (Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton).
| CBS Matchup rating: 68.5 | Spread: NE -6.5 | 4:25 p.m. ET (40)
What to look out for: Over the last two months, Miami and New England have been the top two defenses in the NFL in terms of projected points added, yards allowed per game, points allowed per game, and third-down %. However, sacks per dropback is one area where Miami has a significant advantage over its opponent this week. The Dolphins are leading with 11.2 percent, while the Patriots are 13th with 6.4 percent. — Louis-Jacques Marcel
Who is No. 1 in the latest NFL Football Power Index? Go to Ratings
Rookie defensive lineman with the Patriots is a bold forecast. Christian Barmore will finally accomplish something he never had the chance to do in college at Alabama: sack former teammate Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots’ second-round selection has been causing havoc as an interior pass rusher, and he’s come a long way from his season-opening performance against Miami, when he played 26 plays and had just one assisted stop. Barmore’s inside pressure will be crucial if the Patriots make a postseason run. — Reiss, Mike
Mac Jones of New England has completed 67.6% of his throws this season, which is the second-highest percentage in Patriots history (minimum 200 attempts), following only Tom Brady of 2007. (68.9 percent ). He also has a chance to overtake Dak Prescott for the greatest completion percentage by a rookie in NFL history (67.8% in 2016).
Impact on the playoffs and the draft: The Dolphins were eliminated from the playoffs last week, and their sole first-round pick is the Niners’, which is expected to be in the second part of Round 1. Even though the Patriots are in the playoffs, they still have a chance to win the AFC East. They’ll need a victory and a Bills defeat, both of which have a 5% probability according to ESPN’s FPI. And, despite being the fifth seed in the AFC, they have a chance to go up to No. 1. They must first win the division with a victory and a Bills defeat, and then they must lose to the Titans and Chiefs, which ESPN’s FPI gives them a 1% probability of doing. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Patriots | Dolphins Injuries
Miami has won five consecutive home games and is 4-1 against the spread. Continue reading to learn more.
Patriots 23, Dolphins 16 is Reiss’ prediction. Patriots 24, Dolphins 13 is Louis-Jacques’ prediction. NE, 66.5 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 5.7 points)
Must-reads in this matchup: Patriots rookie running back Stevenson gets stride just in time… The deflating defeat brings attention to Tagovailoa and the status of the Dolphins’ offense.
TB -8.5 | 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 55.2 (41.5)
What to look for: After a disappointing performance last week, the Buccaneers must improve their run defense and block out the hoopla surrounding the Antonio Brown situation, which now has attorneys engaged and charges of maltreatment. Coach Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remarked on Thursday, “Our group is fantastic. Our crew is aware of the fact. They are aware of what occurred. Our men are in good shape. They’re all set to take on Carolina.” Jenna Laine is a writer who lives in New York City.
The Panthers, who didn’t sack Bucs quarterback Tom Brady at all in a 32-6 defeat two weeks ago, will sack him five times this time. And three of those will come from edge rusher Brian Burns, who will overtake Haason Reddick for the team lead and take home the fully loaded golf cart that the two bet on for the most sacks this season. David Newton is an author.
Brady needs 120 passing yards to beat Jameis Winston’s Buccaneers record (5,109 yards in 2019) and 246 passing yards to reach a new career best (5,235 in 2011). He also needs one more throwing touchdown to beat the Buccaneers’ single-season passing touchdown record (40, set by Brady last season).
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 49.9 | BUF -16 | Spread: (41)
What to look out for: How will Jets quarterback Zach Wilson fare in his first meeting with the Bills defense? The rookie was hurt earlier this season when these two teams faced, and he’ll have a stiff test against the league’s best overall and pass defenses. Only 11 passing touchdowns have been allowed by the Bills, who have forced 19 interceptions. In more than half of his starts this season, Wilson hasn’t thrown a throwing touchdown. The Jets’ offense is in for a long day, particularly with the AFC East on the line for Buffalo. Alaina Getzenberg is a writer who lives in New York City.
Everything you need this week: • Full schedule » | Standings » • Depth charts for every team » • Transactions » | Injuries » • Football Power Index rankings » More NFL coverage »
The Jets will run for at least 150 yards, according to my bold prediction. Their ground game has improved (423 yards in the last two games), and the Bills are struggling in this department. Buffalo is ranked 30th in run defense since Week 11, allowing 152 yards per game. It’s something that might come back to haunt the Bills in the playoffs. Cimini, Rich
To equal Cam Newton for the most running touchdowns by a quarterback in his first four seasons, Bills quarterback Josh Allen needs two more. He’s scored multiple running touchdowns five times in his career, including last week against the Falcons.
The Bills are in the playoffs, but they need a victory or the Patriots to lose to clinch the AFC East. ESPN’s FPI believes it’s likely (95 percent ). Buffalo, on the other hand, will not be able to reach the AFC’s top spot. The Jets are expected to choose at Nos. 4 and 7 in the draft, respectively. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Jets against. Bills: Injuries
New York has gone 3-8 ATS in division games over the last two seasons, finishing 0-11 outright. Continue reading to learn more.
Bills 31, Jets 20 is Cimini’s prediction. Bills 34, Jets 13 is Getzenberg’s prediction. BUF, 92.3 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 18.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: Jets’ Saleh accepts responsibility for a 4th-down call blunder… How the Bills plan to make the playoffs and compete for AFC supremacy for years to come… Wilson needs additional weaponry, since Mims’ future is uncertain… The Bills show that they don’t always have to depend on Allen’s arm to win.
4:25 p.m. ET | 33.1 Fox Matchup rating | NO -4.5 spread (39.5)
What to look for: In coach Arthur Smith’s first year, Atlanta has a chance to sweep its fiercest foe and enter the summer with momentum. New Orleans, on the other hand, has to win to have a shot to make the playoffs. The Falcons’ tight end Kyle Pitts (hamstring), who is 58 yards short of breaking Mike Ditka’s 60-year-old rookie tight end receiving yardage record, might make the difference. Michael Rothstein is a writer and producer.
• Will Rhule be able to turn things around in Week 18? • Chase established and exceeded lofty ambitions • Herbert is poised for a pivotal moment • Steelers move from Ben to Najee after Saquon reminds them of their immense potential
Saints defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport will each sack Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan twice, according to my bold prediction. Jordan has 7.5 sacks in the last three games and has 22 sacks on Ryan’s career (the most of any one player against any one QB in NFL history). The defense in New Orleans will continue to set the tone, as it has for the most of the season. Triplett, Mike
Despite missing four games, Saints running back Alvin Kamara has 255 touches this season, 20 short of tying his career best. However, he needs 156 scrimmage yards to avoid a career low in that category.
Playoff and draft implications: To make the playoffs, New Orleans needs a victory and a 49ers defeat, which ESPN’s FPI predicts will happen 40% of the time. Atlanta has been eliminated from the playoffs, and the No. 9 selection in the draft is expected to go to them. It has a 67 percent probability of remaining in the top ten. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Saints | Falcons Injuries
In his eight games as a starter, Saints quarterback Taysom Hill is 6-2 ATS, with the under going 7-1 in those eight starts. Continue reading to learn more.
Saints 22, Falcons 16 is Triplett’s prediction. Falcons 20, Saints 17 is Rothstein’s prediction. NO, 62.2 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 4.1 points)
‘Pissed off’ is a must-read for the matchup. The Saints’ defense gives them another chance to make the playoffs… The Falcons and Coach Smith have something to build on despite missing the playoffs… Why is it that Payton and the Saints’ coaches consider 8-8 to be one of their best achievements?
NBC Matchup rating: 48.6 | Spread: LAC -3 | 8:20 p.m. ET (49.5)
What to look out for: Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa versus. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Bosa made some sharp remarks about Carr the previous time the Raiders and Chargers met, back in Week 4, effectively testing the quarterback’s bravery. Carr was “shook” in the pocket, according to him. Carr chose the high road this week, facing the most important game of his eight-year career. “I believe the part we missed was when he said I was a terrific player and a wonderful man,” Carr joked. “I think we should speak about that instead of the bad things because I love the world of him.” “I usually wish him the best — until this week, for sure.” Gutierrez, Paul
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler will score at least two touchdowns to help the team advance to the playoffs. He’ll join LaDainian Tomlinson (2005 and 2006) as the only Chargers with 1,500 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns in a season if he adds 41 scrimmage yards. Los Angeles has returned all of its starters on both sides of the ball and is eager to return to the postseason for the first time since 2018. Shelley Smith says:
Hunter Renfrow’s output is discussed by the Fantasy Focus team, as well as what fantasy managers should anticipate in the coming seasons.
Carr needs 72 passing yards to surpass Rich Gannon’s Raiders single-season club record (4,689 yards in 2002), while Justin Herbert needs 172 passing yards to beat Dan Fouts’ Chargers single-season franchise record (4,802 yards in 1981).
The Raiders can clinch with (A) a victory, (B) a tie and a Colts loss, or (C) both the Colts and Steelers losing. With a victory or a draw, the Chargers can clinch the division. The Chargers have a 59 percent probability of making the playoffs, while the Raiders have a 49 percent chance. Take a look at the current playoff picture.
Chargers | Raiders Injuries
The host team in the last prime-time game of the season has gone 0-5 outright and 1-4 ATS since 2015. Continue reading to learn more.
Chargers 34, Raiders 21 is Smith’s prediction. Raiders 23, Chargers 21 is Gutierrez’s prediction. LAC, 58.2 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 2.8 points)
Chargers’ Herbert is ready for his first playoff-type occasion in his short career… Despite his incarceration, the Raiders anticipate Hobbs to play on Sunday… The Raiders are in the postseason race thanks to an unprecedented run of last-second victories.
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