Will AP’s Redskins be able to help out Vikings?
Adrian Peterson topped 1,000 yards rushing last week, but the Redskins face Philly’s seventh-ranked run defense in a game the visiting Eagles must win. A win coupled with a Vikings’ loss to the Bears puts the Eagles in the playoffs. The Redskins are 3-4 at home and will give journeyman Josh Johnson his third start while the Eagles’ Nick Foles is coming off a franchise-record 471 yards passing in a win over the Texans.
arizona probably not helping Vikings
The only way the Vikings can rise to the fifth seed is to win and have the Cardinals beat the Seahawks in Seattle. The same Cardinals team that’s 3-12 and can lock up the No. 1 overall draft pick with a loss. The Cardinals rank last in rushing, passing and total offense. Defensively, they rank last against the run, giving up 153.1 yards per game. Seattle ranks first in rushing, averaging 158.5 yards per game.
Will 49ers lay down and help out Vikings?
There’s hope for Vikings fans wishing that Bears coach Matt Nagy will start pulling starters early Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Bears need the Rams to lose to move up to the second seed. The Rams play the 49ers at the same time as the Bears play the Vikings. But the last time the Rams played the 49ers, they led 22-0 with 2:30 left in the first half of a 39-10 win at San Francisco. The 49ers are 0-7 on the road.
Defense versus Mayfield Mojo in Baltimore
Baltimore heads into Week 17 with the No. 1 scoring defense (17.5). A No. 1 scoring defense hasn’t missed the playoffs since Atlanta in 1977. The Ravens haven’t clinched a playoff spot but can still clinch a bye. That’s how tight the AFC is. A win clinches the AFC North. Meanwhile, the Browns counter with rookie QB Baker Mayfield, who is 1-0 against the Ravens, 5-1 in in past six games and chock full of swagger.
First ‘playoff’ game is Sunday night in Nashville
Regardless of what happens earlier in the day, the first winner-take-all game comes Sunday night in Nashville when AFC South foes Indianapolis and Tennessee match 9-6 records. Neither team has clinched a playoff spot. But heading into Sunday’s action, the Titans are still in the running for the second, third, fourth and sixth seeds. The Colts are still in the running for the third, fourth and sixth seeds.
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK
With hope still alive for home-field advantage in the AFC, the Los Angeles Chargers will lose at Denver to a team they lost to 23-22 earlier this season. That will keep the Chargers in the fifth seed, sending them on the road in the wild-card round as an 11-win team. But a loss to Denver won’t sting too badly. If the Chiefs beat the visiting Raiders, the Chargers would be the fifth seed win or lose. Yes, it is possible that the Chargers will win 12 games and be a fifth seed.