SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports activities’ Steve Gardner tells you which of them avid gamers to start out and which to sit down if you wish to win your fable soccer league. USA TODAY Sports activities
Colts (Three-11) at Ravens (Eight-6)
TV: Saturday, Four:30, NFL Community (Greg Gumbel, Trent Inexperienced, Jamie Erdahl)
The matchup: Losers of 5 in a row, the Colts haven’t scored greater than 17 issues in any of the ones video games. Younger QB Jacoby Brissett has proven promise from time to time, however the Colts rank close to the ground of the league in maximum primary offensive classes. The Ravens offense has come alive, and even though the protection has given up too many huge performs, it’s nonetheless forcing sufficient turnovers that the Ravens stay within the playoff hunt. QB Joe Flacco has settled in after a difficult get started. He’s been helped through the expansion of the offensive line and emergence of RB Alex Collins.
Vikings (11-Three) at Packers (7-7)
TV: Saturday, Eight:30, NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
The matchup: The Vikings clinched their 2d department name within the final 3 seasons with one of the vital convincing victories of trainer Mike Zimmer’s tenure, 34-7 over the Cincinnati Bengals. After any other gem from Case Keenum, backup QB Teddy Bridgewater made his long-awaited go back to his first recreation motion since January 2016. Minnesota can nonetheless catch the Eagles and take the NFC’s most sensible seed, however they’re located smartly to complete 2d, nonetheless clinching a first-round bye and a minimum of one domestic playoff recreation. A rusty Aaron Rodgers couldn’t masks an underequipped Packers protection in a 31-24 loss to the Panthers. Rodgers, who returned 9 weeks after surgical procedure to fix his damaged proper collarbone, was once close down, and Brett Hundley will get started the sport after the Packers have been eradicated from the playoffs. They might be with out most sensible WR Davante Adams (concussion).
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Lions (Eight-6) at Bengals (Five-Nine)
TV: Sunday, 1, Fox (Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Jennifer Hale)
The matchup: The Lions nonetheless want lend a hand to make the postseason, however they’ve received their final two video games to stay their playoff hopes alive. Regardless of Detroit having the league’s worst speeding offense, QB Matthew Stafford has sufficient arm and sufficient receivers he trusts that the Lions proceed to attain. Marvin Lewis would possibly no longer go back after 15 seasons as Bengals head trainer. It’s time the Bengals get a contemporary get started. A protection that have been forged over the primary 3 months of the season has been gashed in recent times, and the offense has been mediocre all season. The Bengals were hit exhausting through accidents, and the O-line by no means took the vital step ahead. The Lions have careworn opposing quarterbacks with plenty of move rushers. In the event that they power the Bengals into must-pass eventualities, they’ll banquet.
Dolphins (6-Eight) at Chiefs (Eight-6)
TV: Sunday, 1, CBS (Kevin Harlan, Wealthy Gannon, Jenny Dell)
The matchup: Dolphins QB Jay Cutler’s inconsistency was once obtrusive in final week’s loss at Buffalo. Chiefs trainer Andy Reid’s workforce is enjoying find it irresistible did when it began the season Five-Zero. The Chiefs are again in regulate of the AFC West after consecutive wins towards the divisional rival Raiders and Chargers. They are able to clinch the department with a win in both in their two closing video games. Chiefs QB Alex Smith is having his highest season. His 25-Five TD-to-interception ratio interprets right into a 105.Four passer score, highest within the league.
Expenses (Eight-6) at Patriots (11-Three)
TV: Sunday, 1, CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
The matchup: The win final week vs. Miami enabled the Expenses to complete 6-2 at New Generation Box, their highest domestic file since 1999, the final season they made the playoffs. RB LeSean McCoy changed into the 30th participant in league historical past to surpass the 10,000-yard speeding milestone and had speeding and receiving TDs. QB Tyrod Taylor, again after lacking a recreation as a result of a bruised knee, handed for one TD and ran for one. New England clinched its 9th consecutive AFC East name and took excessive convention seed with a arguable 27-24 victory at Pittsburgh. The Expenses’ highest wager is to get McCoy and the run recreation going. The Patriots allowed the Steelers to run for 143 yards. Pats RB Dion Lewis won 92 yards within the first Expenses recreation and might be used extra if Rex Burkhead is hampered through a knee damage.
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Browns (Zero-14) at Bears (Four-10)
TV: Sunday, 1, Fox (Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker)
The matchup: One week after Browns proprietor Jimmy Haslam mentioned trainer Hue Jackson (1-29 file) would go back in 2018, intrigue grew relating to Jackson’s doable candidacy for a imaginable Bengals opening. Jackson’s Browns once more did not safe their first win, with QB DeShone Kizer committing 3 turnovers, however Jackson mentioned Monday that the rookie would get started this weekend. The Bears’ 20-10 loss to the Lions served as any other reminder that high pick out QB Mitchell Trubisky, whose first 300-yard passing recreation was once marred through his first three-giveaway day trip, wishes extra lend a hand.
Buccaneers (Four-10) at Panthers (10-Four)
TV: Sunday, 1, Fox (Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Kristina Red)
The matchup: Bucs trainer Dirk Koetter and his underachieving workforce are merely seeking to stay it in combination as their season involves a crashing thud. Something is bound: The Bucs will omit the playoffs for the 10th yr in a row. Panthers trainer Ron Rivera’s management talents might be on show over the following couple of weeks as they proceed to pursue a playoff berth. How smartly the Panthers handle the distractions of an investigation into proprietor Jerry Richardson may make or wreck their season. They’ll be lacking LB Thomas Davis, suspended for a blindside hit on Inexperienced Bay’s Davante Adams.
Falcons (Nine-Five) at Saints (10-Four)
TV: Sunday, 1, Fox (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver)
The matchup: There is not any love misplaced between those franchises. Of their Week 14 recreation received through host Atlanta 20-17, TV cameras stuck Saints trainer Sean Payton creating a choking gesture within the route of Falcons RB Devonta Freeman in connection with their cave in in Tremendous Bowl LI. Additionally all over the sport, Payton charged at the subject overdue within the recreation, drawing a $10,000 advantageous from the league workplace. The Saints stumbled throughout the Jets recreation and received however would possibly have misplaced veteran RG Larry Warford (concussion protocol) within the procedure. However they’re going to have rookie RB Alvin Kamara, who exited the primary assembly early as a result of concussion-like signs. The Falcons escaped with a win within the first assembly, regardless of 3 interceptions through QB Matt Ryan.
Broncos (Five-Nine) at Redskins (6-Eight)
TV: Sunday, 1, CBS (Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta)
The matchup: After an eight-game shedding streak, the Broncos have received two in a row, outscoring the ones groups 48-13. QB Brock Osweiler performed smartly in reduction of Trevor Siemian, who’s on injured reserve (shoulder), however with Paxton Lynch recovered (ankle), trainer Vance Joseph should make a decision who’s beginning this week. The Redskins, devastated through accidents all the way through the season, ended a two-game shedding streak in a 20-15 win towards Arizona. With a shuffled line and injured runners and receivers, QB Kirk Cousins has thrown handiest 9 interceptions.
Rams (10-Four) at Titans (Eight-6)
TV: Sunday, 1, Fox (Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin)
The matchup: The Rams stepped forward to 6-1 at the highway with an enormous 42-7 win in Seattle and take a seat firmly within the NFC West driving force’s seat, at the fringe of profitable their first department name since 2003. Todd Gurley rushed for 152 yards and had 4 TDs. The Rams’ 34-point halftime lead in a highway recreation was once the most important in franchise historical past. Tennessee’s 25-23 loss to San Francisco on a game-winning subject purpose broken its playoff hopes. Titans QB Marcus Mariota has thrown a career-high 14 interceptions, lots of that have come when he was once dealing with a blitz of 4 or extra move rushers. If Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips dials up his same old move power, Mariota might be in hassle.
Chargers (7-7) at Jets (Five-Nine)
TV: Sunday, 1, CBS (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn)
The matchup: DEs Joey Bosa (11½) and Melvin Ingram (10) have helped the Chargers overall 38 sacks this season, this means that the Jets offensive line might be challenged to offer protection to younger QB Bryce Petty. With a mix of RBs Bilal Powell, Matt Specialty and Elijah McGuire, the Jets want to run. New York’s line of defense is best when Muhammad Wilkerson performs. Coupled with Leonard Williams, that might be a handful for the Chargers offensive line. Chargers RB Melvin Gordon fell Three yards in need of attaining 1,000 final season and has 931 now.
Jaguars (10-Four) at 49ers (Four-10)
TV: Sunday, Four:05, CBS (Andrew Catalon, James Lofton)
The matchup: For a workforce that was once meant to be a quarterback clear of being a valid contender, Jacksonville is getting so much out of QB Blake Bortles in recent times. Bortles is enjoying the most productive soccer of his profession, having overwhelmed the Seahawks and Texans impressively the final two weeks. The Jaguars can clinch the AFC South with a win, and the highest AFC seed and a first-round bye are nonetheless in play. If RB Leonard Fournette is again, the Jaguars have to be ok with what they may be able to do on offense. It’s uncommon to discover a Four-10 workforce feeling beautiful just right about itself, however the 49ers have received 4 of 5 whilst getting a spice up from new QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Seahawks (Eight-6) at Cowboys (Eight-6)
TV: Sunday, Four:25, Fox (Joe Greenback, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)
The matchup: Remaining week’s obliteration through the Rams left Seattle all however knocked out of the race for the NFC West name and putting directly to fading hopes for a wild-card spot. The battered protection, enjoying with out injured Professional Bowlers in CB Richard Sherman, SS Kam Chancellor, DE Cliff Avril and LB Ok.J. Wright and with MLB Bobby Wagner hobbled, was once shredded through RB Todd Gurley. QB Russell Wilson took seven sacks and fumbled two times. Dallas is only putting on within the playoff hunt and must win its final two video games and get lend a hand from Atlanta and Detroit. However RB Ezekiel Elliott, the center in their offense, is again from a six-game suspension. The formulation with Elliott is administered, regulate the clock, stay its protection off the sector and get large performs within the passing recreation.
Giants (2-12) at Cardinals (6-Eight)
TV: Sunday, Four:25, Fox (Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake)
The matchup: Giants QB Eli Manning is doing what he can to turn out he’s no longer executed, and a 434-yard efficiency in Week 15 vs. the Eagles equipped forged proof. Whether or not he’s enjoying for his Giants process or auditioning for different groups continues to be observed. What’s transparent is that New York is able to transfer on from this season. The Cardinals are enjoying for pleasure and possibly trainer Bruce Arians’ process. Again-to-back shedding seasons wouldn’t glance just right. Arizona has been devastated through accidents, however the Cardinals weren’t enjoying smartly even if wholesome.
Steelers (11-Three) at Texans (Four-10)
TV: Monday Four:30, NBC, NFLN (Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner, Heather Cox)
The matchup: To make a crushing 27-24 loss to New England even worse, Steelers famous person WR Antonio Brown suffered a calf damage that can reason him to omit the sport. Ben Roethlisberger will want to discover a new possibility outdoor of RB Le’Veon Bell, most probably in rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and WR Martavis Bryant. With Texans QB Tom Savage out with a concussion, T.J. Yates was once useless, and the operating recreation was once even worse in a 45-7 thumping through the Jagaurs. With not anything at the line, the Texans are pressured to spend their Christmas enjoying one of the crucial NFL’s highest groups. The Texans’ move rush has confronted really extensive attrition via damage, however OLB Jadeveon Clowney continues to be a disruptive power.
Raiders (6-Eight) at Eagles (12-2)
TV: Monday Eight:30, ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)
The matchup: Oakland’s season successfully resulted in excruciating style in a 20-17 loss. The Raiders dedicated a season-high 14 consequences, two of which nullified TDs. The ironman streak through Raiders LT Donald Penn, who had by no means ignored a recreation in his 11-year profession, ended at 170 video games. Penn had foot surgical procedure and can omit the remainder of the season. With QB Carson Wentz out for the season, Philadelphia struggled to carry on for a win over the last-place Giants, however offense wasn’t the issue. Backup QB Nick Foles was once greater than ok and the offense submit its same old 30-plus issues. However the prior to now sturdy protection struggled badly. Yet one more win locks up the NFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field benefit all the way through the playoffs for the Eagles.
Instances p.m. Jap
Compiled through Brian Allee-Walsh, Zac Jackson, Jordan Godwin, Scott Pitoniak, Arthur Arkush, Andy Friedlander, Scott Johnson, Howard Balzer
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