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With the end of the 2017 regular season upon us out comes the final regular season PSF preview. For that reason we will preview ALL 16 games because this is it for about half of the football fans in this country until next August. Don’t mourn football though, the glorious game will rejoin us with its best games until February. Maybe this week you choose a playoff team to watch and root for! I’ll help you out with that. Farewell to 2017 to another fantastic regular season, let’s begin.
1. The Packers and Lions kick off a Sunday full of football as two teams who have majorly disappointing seasons. There is a chance neither of these team’s head coaches return next year, so what do you watch for in this game? A Lions defense that has had a very good year… their play through the last quarter hasn’t been as stellar but there are signs of hope in safety Glover Quin who has 78 tackles and 3 interceptions so far this year. On the other side of the field, the Packers have found a future star in Aaron Jones, expect to see a lot of him Sunday. As far as who you should root for in the playoffs NFC north fans, why not the Chiefs? Like the Packers and Lions, the Chiefs are a semi-great regular season team that will ultimately disappoint in the playoffs.
2. The Texans and Colts battle in yet another showdown of teams whose coaching positions could be in Jeopardy. No Deandre Hopkins for the Texans in this game so the question will become can Will Fuller be a number one receiver? With Watson early in the season, Fuller tore defenses apart, but when Watson went down his stats took a major hit. Fuller hasn’t had a game where he has gone over fifty yards since Watsons absence. Some of that can be attributed to injury and bad QB play but that shouldn’t be an excuse. We will find out a lot about Fullers gumption at the wide-out position on Sunday. Meanwhile on the other side watch the majesty of Frank Gore for perhaps the last time in a Colts uniform. Gore has indicated he will come back if Andrew Luck is healthy, at this point that is a big if. Who you should route for in the playoffs? If Seattle stumbles in Seattle, a team with a great QB but very little else going for them, like you before Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson went down.
3. The Vikings and Bears meet in perhaps the battle of two young QB’s, in the second half. It wouldn’t shock me if Minnesota takes control early and lets us see Teddy Bridgewater in the second half to warm him up in case he needs to come in at relief in the playoffs. Meanwhile Mitch Trubisky finds himself playing another very good defense with very few weapons. Bears fans should root for the Steelers in the playoffs, both have great playoff history. Also why would you route for an NFC north team?
4. Jets and the Patriots up next, also known as the game Jets fans want so badly to be competitive but won’t be. How bad is Christian Hackenberg? Bryce Petty has looked like just about the worst QB in the league through two starts. What are you hiding gang green? Part of me really just wants to see how bad this character who has been hyped up by the New York media actually is. On the Patriots side of the ball, seems like this will be the game Belichick sees what he has in James Harrison. I’d expect the 39-year-old monster to be heavily involved in the game plan. Jets fans, I don’t even know who you root for. What about Baltimore (if they make it) really the Patriots Only Kryptonite it seems, other than the team that plays on the other side of your building.
5. Redskins versus the Giants, also known as the QB audition. For the Giants, Davis Webb will be the backup and I expect he’ll see some playing time. For Washington, Kirk Cousins has already proved himself but somehow the ‘Skins will mess it all up and Cousins will end up playing for big money elsewhere next year. Both of these teams should root for the Eagles. Why, they’re in the same division Eric? Well because it will only be that much sweeter when they get destroyed at home in the divisional round.
6. Cowboys against the Eagles, in an NFC East matchup! The Eagles are already playing their backup at QB basically, so I would expect the starters to start this game. Get all tuned up for a playoff run, if Zeke plays a full game color me surprised. I don’t think the Cowboys will risk the health of Dak and Zeke if things get semi out of hand early. No matter what I think we see the Cowboys backups at some point. Cowboys fans should root for the Rams because they will play either the Seahawks or Falcons, ultimately the teams that destroyed the Cowboys season.
7. Browns – Steelers… Do I have to? I mean if you want to get really depressed I guess you could cheer for a Browns win. Really, you’d have more fun watching them go 0-16 though, in a morbid kind of way. Like watching a cat video where the cat falls off a roof. That poor cat… but at the same time, what a dumb cat! How could he have fallen off that roof? How could the Browns have gone 0-16 like it is so hard to do but you found a way to do it. Browns fans, have a break… root for the Patriots, you deserve it.
8. Broncos versus the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes shows us what he’s got and Vance Joseph is coaching for his Job. Paxton Lynch will play and let me tell you, I don’t think that’s going to work out. As a Broncos fan I’m just rooting for good football this postseason. Honestly this game is sweet relief, the hell that was 2017 at Mile High is finally over.
9. Panthers face off against the Falcons… Finally a game with real meaning. The Falcons seemingly don’t know they have a top 5 receiver on their team. The constant mismanagement of Julio Jones is somewhat amusing to me. Just throw him the ball, Taylor Gabriel is a system wide out. This isn’t Kyle Shanahans offense anymore. The Falcons need to run the ball more to, as my good friend Chris Chastain has mentioned multiple times. This team needs to be run first to win this game. On the other hand, the Panthers are my favorite team in the NFC or AFC wild card spots right now. Ultimately the Falcons keep up in big games but I think Carolina wins. 27-24.
10. Jaguars play the Titans this week… Do I want the Titans in my playoff watching schedule? No. Fortunately for me they have a pretty deep history over the past few years of choking in big divisional games to teams like the Jags. That sounds a tad negative, but I still have no idea how to feel about the Jags. This game will tell me a lot.
11. Rams against the Niners.. The Rams are resting starters, Jimmy G starting, easier for the Niners. Listen, if you’re a Niners fan… don’t root for anyone in the playoffs. This has actually been a fantastic year for you, you have found your franchise QB for a second-round pick and are going to have a top 10 pick in this year’s draft. Rejoice about 2017 and look to big things in 2018. Congrats, your team is relevant again.
12. Bills match up against the Dolphins! Just sit back and enjoy the last time we will ever see Jay Cutler play football, probably. Unfortunately, I think the Bills lose this game, pretty historically these teams split games in the division. It would be awesome though if Buffalo sneaked into the playoffs, just to see Bills fans go crazy. Dolphins fans, why not root for the Vikings? Another team with just awful luck all time.
13. Chargers and the Raiders… This is so hard for me to say, but the CHARGERS ARE GONNA CHARGER. In their biggest game of the year, they’ll do what they usually do time and again and collapse. Good riddance Los Angeles. It was a heartbreaking ride. Hey, at least I won some sweet tea from the aforementioned Chris Chastain off of you (better record than Dolphins). Chargers fans don’t really deserve to root for anyone in the playoffs, good riddance.
14. Cardinals and the Seahawks match up next, in what will likely be Bruce Arians final game as head coach, the Arizona Cardinals will give us an excellent gift and dispel the Seahawks from the playoff picture. If Arians does retire this feels like a bitter end to the Cardinals brief window of relevance. Arians is one of my favorite coaches and if you haven’t read his book, “The Quarterback Whisperer,” I would highly recommend it.
15. Saints and the Buccaneers… absolutely not a gimme for the Saints by any stretch of the imagination. Jameis Winston has played his best ball of the year over the past month. However I don’t see Tampa’s defense holding up, Saints.
16. Bengals and the Ravens… I don’t know what the Bengals have to be optimistic about. Maybe Joe Mixon? The Ravens need to win this game handily to regain my postseason confidence. Hey Bengals fans! Root for the Patriots, the team that will ultimately knock out your “rival” the Steelers.
Until wildcard weekend, hope you had fun reading these I certainly had fun writing them. Follow me on twitter @Eric18utah for more football hot takes, some bad, some good. Until next year to about 2\3 of the league, until next august.