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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

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Eyes On NFL: Week 17 Games To Watch

By @TrueGodImmortal

This is it. After everything that's transpired in the NFL season so far, from the kneeling controversy  (funny how that went away quickly) to the numerous injuries, it all comes to an end for a majority of teams. With the playoffs lurking and so close, I wanted to take a look at the games that matter this week. Most of the playoff spots have been solidified and the divisions have been decided, except one. The AFC West, South, East, and North have all been won. The NFC West, East, and North have all been won. The only division that hasn't been decided? The NFC South, the most competitive division this year. This week will decide that division, as well as a few of the final playoff spots. So, what games should you be tuned into? Let's take a look.

*Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans 

-This game is important for one reason: if the Jaguars win, the Titans don't make the playoffs. The Jaguars want to keep their momentum up for the playoffs, so they likely want to play their starters to make sure they are a bit rusty for the Wild Card, but the facts are, the Jaguars are having a bigger year than any of us expected. The Jaguars want to bounce back due to that 49ers loss, and they definitely seem like they have a focus heading into this week. Their defense will be interesting to watch against Marcus Mariota, who has an opportunity to make the playoffs after coming so close last year. Who wins? My money is on the Jaguars here.

*Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins 

-The Bills are in the playoff picture and could end up in their with a win over the Dolphins, a Chargers' loss, and a loss by the Titans. As crazy as that sounds, I actually expect them to get the win here and possibly make the playoffs. However, if karma is dictating the fate of this team, they will NOT walk away with any victory due to the one game where they benched Tyrod Taylor for no reason essentially. Still, in this game? I predict the Bills pull it off. Whether or not they make the playoffs is another story.

*Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks 

-The final NFC playoff spot is up for grabs and it is literally two teams vying for it. The Seahawks should have an advantage going into this one, as the Cardinals haven't looked great all season, and with their playoff hopes on the line, it seems as if the Seahawks have continued to rise to the occasion. While it is strange not seeing them already clinched for a playoff berth, I will say that the Seahawks are still in a good position, and if Russell Wilson has anything to say about it, the Seahawks will win this game and move on to what's next, which is hopefully a playoff berth for them.

*Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons 

-The most important game of the week. For the Panthers, a win could mean they take their division. For the Falcons, a win could mean they are in the playoffs. For both teams, a lot is at stake. The Panthers, who have struggled at times with the Falcons, might want to take this game even more seriously than before, as a possible Falcons playoff berth could signal an issue for the Panthers in the postseason. Still, I feel like the Falcons will pull this off, as they seem hungry, but the biggest question mark will be whether or not the Falcons will have Julio Jones at full strength as he missed practice once. If Julio is healthy, the Falcons should see a victory. If the Panthers have any luck, Julio won't be effective and they can coast to a win. My money however is on the Falcons.

*New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

-This game only matters because it will likely decide the fate of the NFC South. Will the Saints get it together and make something happen? Will they be able to hold off the disgruntled Bucs who have to be disappointed in their season? I think they might. However, with the Saints comfortably in a playoff spot, they might not play as tough, while the Bucs want to leave their lasting impression for the season with a statement win, so it is entirely possible we see the Bucs sneak away with a victory in this game. For me, I think the Saints pull it off, but I'm not 100% sold on that. Still, this last week should be fun for football. I'll be tuned in, as should you.



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