NFL Game Previews: Week 17 Matchups

NFL Game Previews: Week 17 Matchups

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Atlanta (+6.5) at Tampa Bay, o/u 50.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Neither of these teams has a whole lot to play for — the Bucs are already locked into a wild-card spot, though a win (or a Rams loss) gives them the No. 5 seed and a date with the NFC East winner, while the Falcons would sneak into the No. 3 overall pick in next year's draft with a loss and a Texans win — but neither coach seems inclined to sit his veteran QB, which offers a nice ocean of stability in an otherwise tumultuous Week 17. Matt Ryan hasn't had Julio Jones to throw to in three weeks and Atlanta's lost all three games, but the team is 3-6 when Julio suits up this year so it's not like he's been the key to victory. Ito Smith also took over as the No. 1 RB the last month, but he's only managed 163 scrimmage yards and zero TDs during that four-game stretch and is now dealing with a rib injury. Whether Smith's absence would mean Raheem Morris turns back to Todd Gurley, or gives a different younger back like Qadree Ollison a long look, isn't clear. Whoever gets the totes probably won't have much luck against the Tampa Bay run defense anyway. The Bucs have won three straight since their late bye, including a 31-27 victory in Atlanta in Week 15, and they've been close to dominant in doing so, outscoring the opposition 104-48. Of

Atlanta (+6.5) at Tampa Bay, o/u 50.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Neither of these teams has a whole lot to play for — the Bucs are already locked into a wild-card spot, though a win (or a Rams loss) gives them the No. 5 seed and a date with the NFC East winner, while the Falcons would sneak into the No. 3 overall pick in next year's draft with a loss and a Texans win — but neither coach seems inclined to sit his veteran QB, which offers a nice ocean of stability in an otherwise tumultuous Week 17. Matt Ryan hasn't had Julio Jones to throw to in three weeks and Atlanta's lost all three games, but the team is 3-6 when Julio suits up this year so it's not like he's been the key to victory. Ito Smith also took over as the No. 1 RB the last month, but he's only managed 163 scrimmage yards and zero TDs during that four-game stretch and is now dealing with a rib injury. Whether Smith's absence would mean Raheem Morris turns back to Todd Gurley, or gives a different younger back like Qadree Ollison a long look, isn't clear. Whoever gets the totes probably won't have much luck against the Tampa Bay run defense anyway. The Bucs have won three straight since their late bye, including a 31-27 victory in Atlanta in Week 15, and they've been close to dominant in doing so, outscoring the opposition 104-48. Of course, last week's rout of a Lions team that didn't have a coaching staff maybe shouldn't count quite as much, but Tom Brady isn't going to turn his nose up at another entry in the record book at this stage of his career. Brady's been on fire for a while now, tossing multiple TDs in six consecutive games and posting a 66.8 percent completion rate, an 8.2 YPA and a 16:4 TD:INT over that stretch, and he might finally be meshing with Bruce Arians' scheme. Given the wealth of weapons around him, you can't rule out this team making a lot of noise in the postseason.

The Skinny

ATL injuries: WR Jones (out, hamstring), C Alex Mack (out, COVID), CB Darqueze Dennard (out, quad)

TB injuries: LB Devin White (out, COVID), OLB Shaquil Barrett (out, COVID), CB Carlton Davis (doubtful, groin)

ATL DFS targets: Hayden Hurst (TB 20th in DVOA vs. TE)

TB DFS targets: Tom Brady (ATL 31st in passing yards per game allowed, 26th in YPA allowed)

ATL DFS fades: Ito Smith (TB first in rushing DVOA, first in rushing yards per game allowed, first in YPC allowed, first in rushing TDs allowed), Laquon Treadwell (TB second in DVOA vs. WR3)

TB DFS fades: none

Key stat: TB is t-sixth in red-zone conversions at 71.4 percent; ATL is 28th in red-zone defense at 66.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 ATL, average score 28-27 ATL, average margin of victory seven points. Five of the last six meetings have been decided by a single score

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 60s, 10-11 mph wind, 0-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Smith picks up 70 scrimmage yards. Ryan throws for 300 yards and three TDs, hitting Calvin Ridley (who tops 100 yards) twice and Hurst once. RoJo runs for 100 combined yards and a score. Brady throws for 320 yards and three touchdowns, finding Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski. Buccaneers, 34-24

Dallas at New York Giants (+3), o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

The league kind of did these teams dirty when it moved the Washington-Philly game to the late slot. Had they played at the same time, the winner here would have known right away whether they won the NFC East and could have celebrated accordingly in the lock ... ah, well played, NFL. Well played. The Cowboys come in having won three consecutive games, and finally looking a little more like the team everyone expected them to be. The offense hit for at least 30 points in all three wins (in fact, they haven't won a game without scoring 30 all year) but the defense has also stepped up, generating 10 takeaways during that winning streak. They had 10 takeaways through their first 11 games, by comparison. The offensive line is still an injury-riddled mess, but Andy Dalton's getting rid of the ball quickly enough to avoid too much pressure, and his trio of elite WRs is doing the rest. The Giants have been headed in the opposite direction, losing three consecutive, and getting Daniel Jones back under center last week didn't seem to make much difference. You know offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be looking for a revenge game, but his coordinating has been mostly, well, offensive this season — the Giants haven't reached 20 points once in the five games since their bye, and they've only topped 30 once all year (against Dallas naturally, back in Week 5 in the game Dak Prescott got hurt, and they still lost). Blame the injury to Saquon Barkley if you want, but it's not like Wayne Gallman has been a complete stiff. Jones and/or Garrett simply haven't gotten the job done, and it threatens to waste a generally solid performance by the defense.

The Skinny

DAL injuries: LB Leighton Vander Esch (out, ankle)

NYG injuries: WR Golden Tate (doubtful, calf)

DAL DFS targets: CeeDee Lamb (NYG 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3)

NYG DFS targets: Wayne Gallman (DAL 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, 31st in YPC allowed), Darius Slayton (DAL 31st in DVOA vs. WR2, 30th in DVOA vs. deep throws)

DAL DFS fades: none

NYG DFS fades: none

Key stat: NYG are 31st in red-zone conversions at 45.0 percent; DAL is 15th in red-zone defense at 61.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 DAL, average score 26-19 DAL, average margin of victory nine points. DAL has won seven consecutive meetings, including a 37-34 victory in Week 5 — the game in which Dak Prescott got hurt

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-30s, less than 10 mph wind, 40-60 percent chance of rain/snow

The Scoop: Ezekiel Elliott gains 80 yards and a touchdown. Dalton throws for 260 yards and TDs to Lamb and Amari Cooper. Gallman bangs out 90 yards and a score. Jones throws for 240 yards and touchdowns to Slayton and Evan Engram but gets sacked five times, including one that results in a crucial safety for Randy Gregory. Cowboys, 26-24

N.Y. Jets (+3) at New England, o/u 39.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

I still can't believe the Jets somehow blew getting the top pick in next year's draft. Sure, it took one playoff team phoning it in and another one losing its entire wide receiver room to COVID protocols, but here they are, proud owners of a two-game winning streak. The fact that Sam Darnold has a 6.1 YPA and 60.3 percent completion rate in those wins speaks volumes, but at least he didn't commit a turnover. Ty Johnson will also get one more chance to prove he deserves a role in the backfield next season, regardless of what other moves the team makes between now and then. The weird thing is that, at least in terms of players on the field, the Jets might be better set up for 2021 than the Patriots. Cam Newton will get another start, and probably get replaced by Jarrett Stidham at some point in the second half, but neither guy is likely to be the team's Week 1 starter next year, nor would he have much of anyone to throw to if he was. The Pats have scored a total of 24 points during their current three-game losing streak, and it gets worse — the last time any team finished in single digits in passing TDs on a season was 2012, when a Kansas City offense "led" by Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn tossed eight en route to getting Romeo Crennel fired and replaced by Andy Reid. (Fun fact: Crennel's OC that year was Brian Daboll, who's now calling plays for the Bills). The Pats sit with eight passing TDs through 15 games, and even a date with the Jets' feeble secondary might not be enough to get them to 10. I'm not suggesting that would get Bill Belichick fired — he has a wee bit more job security than that — but I can't say the same for Josh McDaniels. This offense has been awful for a while now, and it's only become apparent in 2020 how much Tom Brady's presence was papering over its flaws. Wholesale changes in the offseason would not be a shocker.

The Skinny

NYJ injuries: RB Frank Gore (IR, chest), CB Bless Austin (questionable, illness)

NE injuries: RB Damien Harris (out, ankle), LT Jermaine Eluemunor (questionable, ankle), RG Shaq Mason (out, foot), K Nick Folk (questionable, back), LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (questionable, shoulder), CB J.C. Jackson (questionable, knee), S Devin McCourty (questionable, shoulder)

NYJ DFS targets: Ty Johnson (NE 32nd in rushing DVOA, 27th in rushing yards allowed per game)

NE DFS targets: Cam Newton (NYJ 29th in passing yards per game allowed, 25th in YPA allowed), Damiere Byrd (NYJ 29th in DVOA vs. WR2)

NYJ DFS fades: none

NE DFS fades: none

Key stat: NYJ are t-31st in third-down conversions at 34.2 percent; NE is t-18th in third-down defense at 41.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 10-1 NE, average score 29-14 NE, average margin of victory 17 points. NE has won nine straight meetings, and had won five straight by at least 14 points before a 30-27 victory in Week 9

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 30s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-20 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Johnson scampers for 90 combined yards and a score. Darnold throws for less than 200 yards and gets picked off twice. Sony Michel grinds out 60 yards and a TD. Newton throws for less than 200 yards but does hit Byrd for a touchdown while also running one in himself. Patriots, 24-13

Minnesota at Detroit (+7), o/u 54.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

While it wasn't a big surprise, the Vikings' injury-riddled defense is what eventually cost it any chance at a playoff spot. For all the credit Alvin Kamara deserves for his historic performance last week, don't overlook the contributions of the guys in purple who seemingly forgot not just how to tackle, but what the concept of a tackle even was. They surrendered (yes, that's the word for it) 111 points in losing their last three games, but it was a unit missing Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce and first-round pick Mike Hughes. When you're making your "which 2020 also-rans will make the playoffs in 2021?" list, these guys should be at the top of it. Dalvin Cook, who seemed nearly a lock to record 2,000 scrimmage yards on the season, will also be away from the team this week to be with his family after the loss of his father. With Alexander Mattison also dealing with a concussion, the stage could be set for an (double-checks notes) Ameer Abdullah revenge game??!?? That would definitely be the most Week 17 of 2020 thing possible. The Lions have also dropped their last three, and also had their defense embarrassed last week, but you have to give them a mulligan considering they were playing without a coaching staff or their starting QB for most of the game. It seems inconceivable that Matthew Stafford would suit up for this one given the injuries he's been accumulating in the second half this season, but despite a banged-up thumb, sore ribs and now a sprained ankle, he was still able to drag himself through a partial practice Thursday. He only needs 209 passing yards for his eighth career 4,000-yard campaign, which could be motivating factor enough, but really, Stafford's just a beast.

The Skinny

MIN injuries: RB Cook (out, personal), LT Riley Reiff (questionable, COVID), K Dan Bailey (questionable, back), LB Kendricks (out, calf), CB Cameron Dantzler (out, hamstring) 

DET injuries: QB Stafford (questionable, all the things), WR Kenny Golladay (out, hip), C Frank Ragnow (questionable, neck), LB Jamie Collins (questionable, neck)

MIN DFS targets: Kirk Cousins (DET 32nd in passing DVOA, 30th in passing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPA allowed, 32nd in TD% allowed), Alexander Mattison (DET 29th in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed, 32nd in passing DVOA vs. RB), Justin Jefferson (DET 31st in DVOA vs. WR1)

DET DFS targets: D'Andre Swift (MIN 27th in rushing DVOA, 28th in rushing yards per game allowed), Marvin Jones (MIN 28th in DVOA vs. WR1)

MIN DFS fades: none

DET DFS fades: none

Key stat: MIN is fifth in red-zone conversions at 73.6 percent; DET is 31st in red-zone defense at 74.6 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 MIN. average score 24-17 MIN, average margin of victory 10 points. MIN has won six consecutive meetings by an average score of 30-16

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop: Swift gains 80 combined yards and a score. Stafford starts and tosses a TD pass to Marvin Jones before being knocked out of the game yet again, while Chase Daniel does little. Abdullah leads the MIN backfield with 100 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. Cousins throws for 310 yards and two more scores, finding Jefferson (who tops 100 yards) and Adam Thielen. Vikings, 34-20

Pittsburgh (+10) at Cleveland, o/u 42.0 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

In theory, the Steelers have some incentive to try here, as a win gives them a shot at the No. 2 seed in the AFC instead of No. 3. That doesn't earn them a bye, but it does (again, in theory) earn them an easier first-round opponent. In reality? The potential first-round opponents in a 2/6 matchup are all dangerous. The Dolphins wouldn't be easy outs, the Steelers just played the Colts and barely got past them, and the other two possibilities would be another NFC North war with the Ravens or going back-to-back against the Browns. Resting up Ben Roethlisberger and every other key player Mike Tomlin thinks could use a break simply makes more sense, and they can worry about having to travel to Buffalo in the second round if both teams get there. That works out just fine for Cleveland, who need a win to punch their postseason tickets. Baker Mayfield did what he could without a receiving corps last week — in fact, he probably tried a little too hard — but Jarvis Landry and company will be back off the COVID-19 list for this one. In theory, Pittsburgh's defense is its strength, but if guys like T.J. Watt and Joe Haden end up watching from the sidelines, you might as well toss the season stats out the window. Which is why this spread is so big, and why this game is such a pain to predict.

The Skinny

PIT injuries: QB Roethlisberger (out, rest), K Chris Boswell (out, groin), S Terrell Edmunds (out, shoulder)

CLE injuries: RG Wyatt Teller (questionable, ankle), LB B.J. Goodson (questionable, COVID), CB Denzel Ward (out, COVID), S Karl Joseph (questionable, COVID)

PIT DFS targets: Steelers DST (first in sack rate, first in INT%, t-first in takeaways)

CLE DFS targets: Jarvis Landry (PIT 23rd in DVOA vs. WR1)

PIT DFS fades: Diontae Johnson (CLE second in DVOA vs. WR1)

CLE DFS fades: Baker Mayfield (PIT first in passing DVOA, second in passing yards per game allowed), KhaDarel Hodge (PIT first in DVOA vs. WR3), Austin Hooper (PIT first in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: CLE is fourth in red-zone conversions at 74.0 percent; PIT is sixth in red-zone defense at 54.8 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 9-1-1 PIT, average score 25-16 PIT, average margin of victory 12 points. PIT has won three of the last four meetings, with all three victories coming by at least 14 points

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-30s, less than 10 mph wind, 15-25 percent chance of rain/snow

The Scoop: Antony McFarland leads the PIT backfield with 60 yards, while Benny Snell scores a short TD. Mason Rudolph throws for 230 yards and a touchdown to Ray-Ray McCloud. Nick Chubb puts together 70 yards and a score, while Kareem Hunt also finds the end zone. Mayfield throws for 250 yards and a TD to Landry. Browns, 21-20

Baltimore at Cincinnati (+13), o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

The Ravens currently hold the No. 6 seed, but they could move up to No. 5 if everything goes right or even slip out the playoffs entirely if everything goes wrong, so there should be no let-up. Lamar Jackson has been back in something like his MVP form, and the offense has averaged an awesome 37 points a game while reeling off four consecutive wins. The emotional spark has been provided by Dez Bryant — his last NFL game prior to his comeback came in 2017, but the 32-year-old has re-emerged as a red-zone specialist and turned his only two catches in the last two games into two TDs. The Bengals are another team whose late surge hasn't done their draft position any favors, as with consecutive wins, they now sit with the No. 5 pick instead of No. 3 and may have cost themselves Penei Sewell. The fact that they've secured those victories without Joe Burrow or Joe Mixon is doubly impressive (and baffling), but Giovani Bernard piled up 228 scrimmage yards and two TDs and Brandon Allen threw for a highly improbable 371 yards last week against the Texans. That probably isn't going to happen against the Ravens, and I'm not even sure Allen getting half that total is a safe bet (he'd averaged 168.7 yards in his prior three starts this season), even facing a banged-up Baltimore secondary.

The Skinny

BAL injuries: RB Gus Edwards (questionable, back), RB Mark Ingram (questionable, illness), WR Willie Snead (questionable, ankle), RT D.J. Fluker (questionable, knee), DE Calais Campbell (questionable, calf), OLB Yannick Ngakoue (questionable, knee), CB Marlon Humphrey (questionable, shoulder), CB Marcus Peters (questionable, calf), CB Jimmy Smith (questionable, shoulder)

CIN injuries: CB William Jackson (out, concussion)

BAL DFS targets: Dez Bryant (CIN 30th in DVOA vs. WR3)

CIN DFS targets: none

BAL DFS fades: none

CIN DFS fades: Brandon Allen (BAL second in YPA allowed, fifth in TD% allowed)

Key stat: CIN is 30th in third-down conversions at 37.3 percent; BAL is second in third-down defense at 35.2 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 BAL, average score 24-19 BAL, average margin of victory 13 points. BAL has won four straight meetings, the last two by an average score of 38-8

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 40s, less than 10 mph wind, 10-20 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: J.K. Dobbins leads the BAL backfield with 80 yards. Jackson throws for 220 yards and a TD to Bryant while running in a score of his own. Bernard manages 60 yards and a TD. Allen throws for less than 200 yards and gets picked off twice, but does hit Tee Higgins for a touchdown to keep things close. Ravens, 23-20

Miami (+2) at Buffalo, o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Of the four teams fighting for wild-card spots in the AFC, the Dolphins are in arguably the worst spot. They hold the No. 5 seed now, but they have a real opponent in Week 17 and one who might not go easy on them. Meanwhile, the Browns get to face a short-handed Steelers crew, and the Ravens and Colts are taking on teams with a combined five wins. That could actually be the biggest motivating factor for the Bills  — a win might knock a division rival out of the playoffs and ensure they won't have to see them again this season. Miami isn't going to go quietly into that good night, though. Tua Tagovailoa's had his growing pains, but the training wheels will have to come off this week with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the COVID-19 list and unavailable to bail Tua out, as he did against the Raiders. So long as the defense does its part and doesn't put the rookie in a position where he has to carry the team, he should be OK. For what it's worth, Josh Allen seems to think it's full steam ahead for this week for a Bills team that's undefeated since its Week 11 bye and is carrying a ton of momentum (average score during that stretch: 35-17) , but if Pittsburgh is getting trounced, it wouldn't be that big a surprise if he and Buffalo's other key personnel found themselves on the sidelines in the second half, especially if the field gets snowy and messy. At least they don't have too many players nursing injuries that they need to worry about, though Stefon Diggs is trying to win the league's receiving yards title.

The Skinny

MIA injuries: QB Fitzpatrick (out, COVID), WR DeVante Parker (questionable, hamstring), WR Jakeem Grant (questionable, ankle)

BUF injuries: WR Cole Beasley (out, knee)

MIA DFS targets: DeVante Parker (BUF 29th in DVOA vs. WR1)

BUF DFS targets: Devin Singletary (MIA 23rd in YPC allowed, 26th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

MIA DFS fades: none

BUF DFS fades: Josh Allen (MIA sixth in passing DVOA, second in TD% allowed), John Brown (MIA third in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: BUF is first in third-down conversions at 50.3 percent; MIA is first in third-down defense at 53.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 BUF, average score 30-21 BUF, average margin of victory 11 points. BUF has won four straight meetings by an average score of 35-22

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 30s, less than 10 mph wind, 25-40 percent chance of snow

The Scoop: Myles Gaskin racks up 90 scrimmage yards and a TD. Tua throws for 250 yards and touchdown to Mike Gesicki. Zack Moss leads the BUF backfield with 70 yards and a score, while Devin Singletary adds 50 yards and a receiving TD. Allen throws for 270 yards and a second touchdown to Diggs while also running for 40 yards and a score. Bills, 31-23

Seattle vs. San Francisco at Arizona (+5.5), o/u 46.0
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Seahawks still have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but in all likelihood they'll have to settle for the NFC West title. Aside from a gimme against the Jets, Russell Wilson has been decidedly human in recent weeks, managing only one TD pass in four of the last five games, but he's 189 passing yards away from a career high and two touchdowns from his first 40-TD campaign. He might have to air it out regardless of any other incentives — Seattle's entire backfield is banged up, and while Chris Carson at least should play, Pete Carroll might be looking for an excuse to give his lead RB some rest before the playoffs. The Niners have their injury-induced Jekyll and Hyde act down pat at this point, so there's no telling which version will show up in a game that doesn't mean much to them. Case in point: they swept the Rams this season and beat the Cards last week in a game Arizona really wanted to win, but they also went 1-3 against the NFC East. C.J. Beathard will close out the season under center, but his options are fairly limited with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk both sidelined. George Kittle returned from IR in the nick of time for Beathard, but it's no coincidence fullback Kyle Juszczyk was on the other end of two TD passes from inside the 10 last week. Seattle's secondary has also turned a corner — after getting torched regularly earlier in the year, no QB has topped 300 yards against them since Jared Goff in Week 10. If Jeff Wilson doesn't do another Beast Mode impression, the Niners might not be able to keep up.

The Skinny

SEA injuries: RB Carlos Hyde (questionable, illness), RB Deejay Dallas (out, ankle), TE Greg Olsen (questionable, foot), LG Mike Iupati (questionable, neck), RT Brandon Shell (questionable, ankle)

SF injuries: QB Nick Mullens (IR, elbow), WR Samuel (out, hamstring), WR Aiyuk (out, ankle), LT Trent Williams (IR, elbow), C Hroniss Grasu (questionable, COVID), K Robbie Gould (questionable, COVID), LB Dre Greenlaw (out, calf), CB Richard Sherman (out, calf), CB K'Waun Williams (out, shin)

SEA DFS targets: David Moore (SF 23rd in DVOA vs. WR3)

SF DFS targets: River Cracraft (SEA 25th in DVOA vs. WR3)

SEA DFS fades: DK Metcalf (SF third in DVOA vs. WR1), Greg Olsen (SF third in DVOA vs. TE)

SF DFS fades: none

Key stat: SEA is third in red-zone conversions at 74.5 percent; SF is 10th in red-zone defense at 57.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 9-2 SEA, average score 27-18 SEA, average margin of victory 11 points. The last two season series have been split, and SEA won the first 2020 meeting 37-27 in Week 8

Weather forecast: indoor

The Scoop: Carson picks up 50 yards and a TD before giving way to Rashaad Penny, who also scores. Wilson throws for 270 yards and two touchdowns, finding Metcalf and Moore. Wilson is held to 60 yards. Beathard throws for 280 yards and two TDs, hitting Kittle and Richie James. Seahawks, 31-24

Arizona at L.A. Rams (+1.5), o/u 41.0 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

This is the kind of wacky hi-jinx I've come to expect from the NFC East, not the West. The winner of this game gets a wild card, while the loser is left rooting for the Packers. But! The Cardinals come into this one with both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins potentially at less than 100 percent healthy, and Murray in particular playing through a lower-leg injury that might cut into his running. We've already seen what the Arizona offense looks like without the additional threat of him scrambling, and it's not pretty. Kliff Kingsbury's attack is still in a lot better position than Sean McVay's, though. No Jared Goff, no Cooper Kupp, no Darrell Henderson and maybe no Cam Akers is going to put an awful lot of pressure on the defense to get them through to the postseason. The unit is certainly capable of doing it, but even against a limited Murray a few weeks ago the Cards still scored 28 points, and John Wolford leading the Rams to at least 29 seems fairly improbable.

The Skinny

ARI injuries: RB Chase Edmonds (questionable, hip), WR Larry Fitzgerald (questionable, groin), S Budda Baker (questionable, neck)

LAR injuries: QB Goff (out, thumb), RB Akers (questionable, ankle), RB Henderson (IR, ankle), WR Kupp (out, COVID), OLB Leonard Floyd (questionable, abdomen)

ARI DFS targets: none

LAR DFS targets: Josh Reynolds (ARI 28th in DVOA vs. WR2)

ARI DFS fades: Kyler Murray (LAR third in passing DVOA, first in passing yards per game allowed, first in YPA allowed, first in TD% allowed), Kenyan Drake (LAR third in rushing DVOA, third in rushing yards per game allowed), Christian Kirk (LAR second in DVOA vs. WR2, first in DVOA vs. deep throws)

LAR DFS fades: none

Key stat: ARI is 20th in third-down conversions at 40.4 percent; LAR are fourth in third-down defense at 36.0 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 9-2 LAR, average score 26-17 LAR, average margin of victory 20 points. LAR have won seven straight meetings by an average score of 33-12, and have not failed to score at least 31 points in any of those games

Weather forecast: indoor

The Scoop: Drake manages 60 scrimmage yards. Murray throws for 230 yards and runs for 40, tossing TDs to Hopkins and KeeSean Johnson. Malcolm Brown leads the LAR backfield with 70 yards and a touchdown. Wolford throws for less than 200 yards and a score to Van Jefferson, while Aaron Donald scoops up a Drake fumble and takes it to the house. Rams, 24-20

Jacksonville (+14) at Indianapolis, o/u 49.5
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Jags have locked up the top pick in next year's draft, which means in all likelihood Trevor Lawrence will be their Week 1 starting quarterback in 2021. (Cue Jets fans singing Ain't No Sunshine.) Nonetheless, Doug Marrone will put Mike Glennon under center one more time instead of Gardner Minshew. There's no earthly reason for this, as Glennon's a free agent in the offseason while Minshew will make a perfectly adequate backup for two more seasons while he's still on his rookie deal, so I can only assume Marrone thinks he needs to cover his butt against tanking accusations by riding it out with Glennon to the bitter end. (If you think you can make a logical argument in the comments than he's the better QB of the two, feel free to give it a shot.) Just to make things even easier on Indy this week, James Robinson is out, leaving the Jags with a D'Oh backfield of Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo, and DJ Chark and Collin Johnson are sidelined too. The Colts need some help, in addition to a win, to get into the playoffs either as a wild card or even as the AFC South champs, but any of four teams (the Titans, Dolphins, Ravens or Browns) can stumble to open up a spot for them, which actually makes their odds pretty decent. Philip Rivers will always be a tempting fade in January, but this offense has been increasingly carried by Jonathan Taylor. In the rookie's last five games, he's amassed 488 rushing yards and five TDs, adding 95 receiving yards and another score for good measure. He picked up 89 scrimmage yards against the Jags in his Week 1 debut — the only game Jacksonville has won this season, which is why Indy needs help this week — but Taylor might blow past that mark in the first half in this one.

The Skinny

JAC injuries: RB Robinson (out, ankle), WR Chark (out, shin), WR Johnson (out, hamstring), DE Josh Allen (IR, knee), CB Sidney Jones (IR, Achilles)

IND injuries: WR Michael Pittman (questionable, concussion), LT Anthony Castonzo (IR, ankle)

JAC DFS targets: none

IND DFS targets: Philip Rivers (JAC 31st in passing DVOA, 31st in YPA allowed, 30th in TD% allowed), Jonathan Taylor (JAC 30th in rushing yards per game allowed, 30th in rushing TDs allowed), Jack Doyle (JAC 30th in DVOA vs. TE)

JAC DFS fades: Dare Ogunbowale (IND second in rushing yards per game allowed, second in YPC allowed), Jaguars DST (29th in sack rate, IND third in giveaways)

IND DFS fades: none

Key stat: IND is t-17th in red-zone conversions at 58.9 percent; JAC is 25th in red-zone defense at 64.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 7-4 JAC, average score 26-18 JAC, average margin of victory 13 points. The home team has won six straight meetings

Weather forecast: indoor

The Scoop Ogunbowale leads the JAC backfield with 50 yards. Glennon throws for 210 yards and gets picked off twice. Taylor erupts for 120 combined yards and two TDs despite being rested for most of the second half. Rivers throws for 230 yards and two touchdowns, hitting T.Y. Hilton and Trey Burton, before giving way to Jacoby Brissett. Colts, 28-6

Tennessee at Houston (+7.5), o/u 56.0 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Titans claim the AFC South title with a win, but even if they come up short they could still back into a wild card with a Ravens or Dolphins loss. Last week's flop in the snow at Lambeau stings, but prior to that Tennessee had scored at least 30 points in five consecutive games, so chalk it up to inclement weather. Even so, it did make Derrick Henry that much less likely to reach 2,000 rushing yards. He's 223 yards short, and while the Texans' run defense is more than generous enough to help him reach it this week, it's a tough needle to thread — Henry would need a game script in which he's running wild, but the game is still close enough that he doesn't get rested in the second half once the win is in the bag. That's where Deshaun Watson comes in. Houston's had very little going for it in 2020, which has meant that Watson's MVP-caliber campaign has gone completely to waste. He's second in QB rating behind Aaron Rodgers, second in passing yards behind Patrick Mahomes, second in completion percentage behind Drew Brees, and first in YPA by a mile at 8.8 (Dak Prescott, who still barely qualifies, is the only other QB above 8.1). Watson dodged a serious injury last week when his hand got caught in the face mask of a defender and his arm got bent backward awkwardly, but interim coach Romeo Crennel has no intention of resting him in a meaningless game (well, not meaningless for Miami, who hold Houston's first rounder in 2021, which means right now the Dolphins are looking at picking third).

The Skinny

TEN injuries: K Stephen Gostkowski (questionable, COVID)

HOU injuries: RB Duke Johnson (questionable, neck), WR Will Fuller (out, suspension), LT Laremy Tunsil (doubtful, ankle), CB Bradley Roby (out, suspension), CB Phillip Gaines (questionable, knee)

TEN DFS targets: Ryan Tannehill (HOU 29th in passing DVOA, 29th in YPA allowed), Derrick Henry (HOU 30th in rushing DVOA, 31st in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPC allowed), A.J. Brown (HOU 30th in DVOA vs. WR1), Corey Davis (HOU 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2), Jonnu Smith (HOU 31st in DVOA vs. TE)

HOU DFS targets: Deshaun Watson (TEN 30th in passing DVOA, 28th in passing yards per game allowed, 28th in TD% allowed), Jordan Akins (TEN 32nd in DVOA vs. TE)

TEN DFS fades: none

HOU DFS fades: Texans DST (32nd in INT%, 32nd in takeaways, TEN second in giveaways)

Key stat: TEN is t-sixth in third-down conversions at 44.8 percent; HOU is 26th in third-down defense at 46.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 HOU, average score 27-21 HOU, average margin of victory 15 points. The last four season series have been split, and TEN won the first 2020 meeting 42-36 in Week 6

Weather forecast: retractable roof

The Scoop Henry gives it his best shot, thundering for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill throws for 280 yards and two TDs to A.J. Brown, while Corey Davis tops 100 yards. David Johnson puts together 100 combined yards and a score. Watson throws for 340 yards and two TDs, finding Akins and Brandin Cooks (who also tops 100 yards). Titans, 31-30

Las Vegas at Denver (+2.5), o/u 51.0 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

About the only thing the Raiders have left to play for is a .500 record, but Jon Gruden isn't the kind of coach who's going to reward his players with rest for losing. They've lost three consecutive games and five of their last six, and the one win was the Gregg Williams game against the Jets. This is now the second consecutive season the team has collapsed down the stretch, which you'd think would put Gruden on the hot seat, but Mark Davis appears to be from the Jerry Jones "keep the head coach if he tells you what you want to hear" school. The Broncos might fall out of the top 10 in next year's draft with a win, but they will likely have QB options on the board wherever they pick if John Elway decides it's time to move on from Drew Lock. It would be hard to blame him if he did. Lock's been provided with an above-average supporting cast in terns of talent but delivered below-average results this season, and bringing in a high-upside young QB now (Trey Lance? Jamie Newman?) to develop alongside Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, etc., could pay big dividends in a couple years.

The Skinny

LV injuries: LG Denzelle Good (questionable, ankle), RT Trent Brown (out, knee), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (questionable, COVID) 

DEN injuries: WR KJ Hamler (out. concussion), RG Graham Glasgow (questionable, shoulder), OLB Bradley Chubb (questionable, ankle), CB A.J. Bouye (out, suspension)

LV DFS targets: Josh Jacobs (DEN 25th in rushing DVOA, 26th in rushing yards per game allowed, 30th in YPC allowed, t-27th in rushing TDs allowed)

DEN DFS targets: Melvin Gordon (LV 31st in rushing DVOA, 31st in rushing TDs allowed)

LV DFS fades: none

DEN DFS fades: none

Key stat: LV is fifth in third-down conversions at 46.5 percent; DEN is 15th in third-down defense at 40.3 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 LV, average score 19-16 LV, average margin of victory nine points. The home team has won nine straight meetings

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-40s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Jacobs rumbles for 100 yards and a TD. Derek Carr throws for 240 yards and two touchdowns, finding Darren Waller and Henry Ruggs. Gordon answers with 90 yards and a score. Lock throws for 260 yards but gets picked off twice. Raiders, 27-16

L.A. Chargers at Kansas City (+3.5), o/u 44.0
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Chargers are the hottest team in the league that's already been eliminated from postseason contention, which is the most on-brand description of the Bolts possible. They've won three consecutive, albeit against sub-.500 opponents, and Justin Herbert has cruised to the finish line of what is, at least statistically, the greatest season ever by a rookie quarterback. He already holds the rookie TD record, and he'll almost certainly seize the rookie completions record. The tricky one will be catching Andrew Luck for the rookie passing yards mark — Herbert needs 341, and while he's already reached that figure twice this year, a Kansas City defense allowing only 233.2 passing yards a game won't make things easy on the kid. Then again, he hit them up for 311 yards in his NFL debut back in Week 2, and they didn't already have a first-round bye in the playoffs clinched at that point. Andy Reid has already announced he's resting key players starting with Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, and that will likely extend to the secondary as well. The disappointing player to sit, from a historical standpoint, would be Travis Kelce. He's already established a single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, but he's also just 43 yards behind Stefon Diggs for the league receiving yards title, something a tight end has never won. If Diggs doesn't do much earlier in the day against the Dolphins, I wonder if Reid will let Kelce go for it. Chad Henne's no Mahomes, but he'll need to throw to someone.

The Skinny

LAC injuries: WR Keenan Allen (out, COVID), TE Hunter Henry (out, COVID), LT Sam Tevi (questionable, knee), RT Bryan Bulaga (out, foot), DE Joey Bosa (out, concussion), CB Casey Heyward (IR, hamstring)

KC injuries: QB Mahomes (doubtful, rest), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (out, ankle), RB Le'Veon Bell (questionable, knee), WR Tyreek Hill (out, hamstring), WR Sammy Watkins (out, calf)

LAC DFS targets: Austin Ekeler (KC 29th in rushing DVOA, 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB)

KC DFS targets: Nick Keizer (LAC 25th in DVOA vs. TE)

LAC DFS fades: Mike Williams (KC fourth in DVOA vs. WR1)

KC DFS fades: none

Key stat: Patrick Mahomes has a career QB rating of 108.7; Chad Henne has a career rating of 75.6

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 10-1 KC, average score 28-18 KC, average margin of victory 10 points. KC has won three straight meetings by an average score of 26-19

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-30s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-10 percent chance of rain/snow

The Scoop: Ekeler dashes for 140 scrimmage yards and two TDs. Herbert makes history by throwing for 350 yards and two scores, hitting Stephen Anderson and Tyron Johnson. Darrel Williams leads the KC backfield with 70 yards and a touchdown. Henne throws for 240 yards and a TD to Byron Pringle, but gets picked off trying to mount a late comeback. Chargers, 28-23

Green Bay at Chicago (+5.5), o/u 52.0 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

A Packers win locks up the No. 1 seed in the NFC and that precious first-round bye, so Matt LaFleur isn't going to be resting anybody in this one unless the game gets out of hand in the second half. Aaron Rodgers also has to put the finishing touches on his MVP case. He last won the award in 2014, but with Mahomes sitting out for Kansas City, Rodgers gets one last chance to separate himself from his fellow State Farm spokesmodel. As always, when Rodgers gets close to the end zone, his first, second, third and fourth looks are going to be for Davante Adams. After scoring three times last week against the Titans he has 17 TDs through 13 games, with an even dozen of those scores coming from inside the 10-yard line. Basically he's stolen Aaron Jones' role at the goal line; Jones needs 22 more rushing yards to match last season's total in two fewer games, but his rushing TD total (and his carries from inside the five) has been cut in half. Of course, if he's back in Green Bay next year, he'll have to worry about AJ Dillon stealing the rest of his job too. The Bears are also looking to secure a wild card, though, so they will be giving it all they've got — though if Chicago loses, they can still make the playoffs with an Arizona loss. The Bears have won three consecutive games, and surprisingly it's been their offense leading the way. Since Mitchell Trubisky took back the reins following the team's Week 11 bye, they've scored a massive 33.0 points a game, compared to 19.1 a game through the first 10 weeks. That hot stretch also includes a 41-25 loss in Green Bay, however. If the defense can't find a way to slow down Rodgers, whatever Trubisky and David Montgomery do is likely to be moot.

The Skinny

GB injuries: LT David Bakhtiari (out. knee)

CHI injuries: TE Cole Kmet (questionable, shoulder), CB Jaylon Johnson (out, shoulder)

GB DFS targets: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (CHI 31st in DVOA vs. WR3)

CHI DFS targets: David Montgomery (GB 24th in YPC allowed, 28th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

GB DFS fades: Aaron Jones (CHI t-second in rushing TDs allowed, second in passing DVOA vs. RB), Davante Adams (CHI first in DVOA vs. WR1)

CHI DFS fades: Bears DST (GB first in INT% allowed, first in giveaways)

Key stat: CHI is t-31st in third-down conversions at 34.2 percent; GB is t-11th in third-down defense at 39.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 9-2 GB, average score 25-18 GB, average margin of victory nine points. GB has won three straight games by an average score of 24-14

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 30s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of snow

The Scoop: Jones gains 70 yards, while Dillon punches in a short score. Rodgers throws for 290 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Robert Tonyan, MVS and Adams. Montgomery racks up 120 scrimmage yards and a TD. Trubisky throws for 260 yards and two scores, finding Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Packers, 34-24

New Orleans at Carolina (+6.5), o/u 47.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Saints find themselves in a bit of a weird spot in Week 17. They've already claimed their fourth consecutive NFC South title, so they don't have to worry about missing the playoffs, but their Week 3 loss to the Packers means that a New Orleans win and a Green Bay loss wouldn't be enough for the Saints to also snag the No. 1 seed in the conference. They need the Seahawks to also win, making it a three-way tie atop the conference at 12-4, in order to win the resulting tiebreakers. That gives them some iffy incentives to keep players like Drew Brees on the field if the out-of-town scoreboard isn't going their way, and their chances of even winning this game took a big hit when Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray both landed on the COVID-19 list. With no backfield to speak of (Ty Montgomery, who's seen all of 28 offensive snaps all season, figures to be their No. 1 RB), it's going to be that much tougher for Brees to get the job done. They're also facing a team in the Panthers who got to play spoiler last week against Washington and now have a taste for it. Carolina too is running out of backfield options, but Teddy Bridgewater at least has a healthy complement of receivers to throw to. With the Saints defense allowing 65 total points in its last two games and maybe having peaked too soon this year, an upset might be more plausible that it appears.

The Skinny

NO injuries: RB Kamara (out, COVID), RB Murray (out, COVID), RB Dwayne Washington (out, COVID), LB Kwon Alexander (IR, Achilles), S Marcus Williams (out, ankle)

CAR injuries: RB Christian McCaffrey (doubtful, thigh), RB Mike Davis (doubtful, ankle), LT Russell Okung (out, calf), DE Brian Burns (doubtful, shoulder)

NO DFS targets: Ty Montgomery (CAR 28th in YPC allowed, 29th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

CAR DFS targets: none

NO DFS fades: none

CAR DFS fades: Teddy Bridgewater (NO fourth in passing DVOA, fifth in passing yards per game allowed, fifth in YPA allowed), Mike Davis (NO second in rushing DVOA, fourth in rushing yards per game allowed, t-second in rushing TDs allowed), Ian Thomas (NO second in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: NO is t-sixth in third-down conversions at 44.8 percent; CAR is 31st in third-down defense at 49.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years including playoffs: 8-4 NO, average score 29-25 NO, average margin of victory nine points. NO has won three straight meetings by an average score of 34-22, although that's skewed by a 42-10 win in Week 17 of last season 

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 50s, less than 10 mph wind, 1-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Montgomery gains 60 combined yards. Brees throws for 250 yards and two TDs, hitting Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook. Trenton Cannon leads the CAR backfield with 70 scrimmage yards. Bridgewater throws for 230 yards and touchdowns to Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore. Saints, 24-17

Washington at Philadelphia (+1.5), o/u 43.5
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST

I have to admit, I don't really understand why this is the game the NFL chose to flex into the prime-time standalone slot. Sure, Washington is playing for a division title, but so is Tennessee, and at least Titans-Texans features one team with a winning record. I'd think it's also a little harder to sell a game based on a meeting between Chase Young and Jalen Hurts than Derrick Henry and Deshaun Watson, but hey, what do I know? All three of Washington's top weapons come into this one at less than 100 percent healthy, but given what's at stake it would be a surprise if any of Alex Smith, Antonio Gibson or Terry McLaurin were inactive, though McLaurin especially might wind up as little more than a decoy. The Eagles are just looking to play spoiler and give Hurts more reps — they've already lost double-digit games for the first time since 2012, which incidentally was Andy Reid's last season in Philly. I'm sure Doug Pederson has nothing to worry about, though. The offense will be missing some key players (hilariously, DeSean Jackson returned to action last week just long enough to catch one pass for an 81-yard TD against Dallas, and now he's sidelined again) including yet another one on the offensive line, but whatever chance they have of an upset is really going to come down to their rookie QB. Hurts has completed less than 55 percent of his passes in his three starts, and it's not a great sign that the Cowboys' woeful defense seemed to figure him out last week, but Washington has had problems with mobile quarterbacks. It went 0-2 against Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson earlier this year, giving up more than 30 points each time and allowing the duo to combine for 120 rushing yards and three TDs on the ground. Whether Hurts can match that kind of performance on a wet track could well decide the game.

The Skinny

WAS injuries: QB Smith (questionable, calf), RB Gibson (questionable, toe), WR McLaurin (questionable, ankle)

PHI injuries: RB Miles Sanders (out, knee), WR Jackson (out, ankle), TE Dallas Goedert (out. ankle), LT Jordan Mailata (out, concussion), DT Fletcher Cox (out, neck), S Jalen Mills (out, COVID)

WAS DFS targets: Alex Smith (PHI 26th in passing DVOA, 30th in YPA allowed), Cam Sims (PHI 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1), Steven Sims (PHI 30th in DVOA vs. WR2), Washington DST (fourth in sack rate, PHI 32nd in sack rate allowed)

PHI DFS targets: Eagles DST (third in sack rate, WAS 25th in sack rate allowed)

WAS DFS fades: none

PHI DFS fades: Jalen Hurts (WAS second in passing DVOA, third in passing yards per game allowed), Greg Ward (WAS first in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: PHI is 14th in red-zone conversions at 60.5 percent; WAS is third in red-zone defense at 52.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 PHI, average score 26-23 PHI, average margin of victory 11 points. PHI had won six straight meetings prior to a 27-17 win by WAS in Week 1

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 40s, less than 10 mph wind, 45-80 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Gibson gains 80 yards and a TD. Smith throws for 250 yards and touchdowns to CSims and Logan Thomas. Boston Scott picks up 60 combined yards. Hurts throws for 220 yards and a TD to Jalen Reagor while running for 40 yards and a score of his own, but it's not enough. Washington, 24-20


Last week's record: 11-5, 7-8-1 ATS, 6-9-1 o/u
2020 regular-season record: 149-90-1, 118-115-7 ATS, 109-125-6 o/u
2019 regular-season record: 157-98-1, 123-125-8 ATS, 127-122-7 o/u
Lifetime record: 942-572-6, 711-752-57 ATS, 602-636-26 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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