The NFL Week 17 matchups in 2021 are finally upon us. Unlike past years, Week 17 won’t be the last week of the regular season, as the first-ever Week 18 is still left to play. However, almost all of the upcoming NFL games this weekend have playoff implications of some sort, which means there is a lot on the line for almost every team in the league.
NFL Week 17 matchups
With so many important NFL Week 17 matchups for 2021, we thought it’d be worthwhile to take a closer look at every game on the schedule this week and what it could mean for the playoff race.
As mentioned, virtually all of these games are massive, as 24 teams are still alive in the playoff race. With that in mind, here is our Week 17 matchup analysis for every game.
Falcons vs Bills
After a rough patch, the Bills are back to being in charge of their own destiny inside the AFC East. Buffalo only needs to beat the Falcons and Jets to clinch the division and secure a home playoff game.
The Bills are also full of confidence and favored by more than two touchdowns against Atlanta. Oddly enough, the Falcons are still alive in the playoff race at 7-8, although they need two wins and a lot of help to get to the playoffs.
Giants vs Bears
This is one of the few games this week with no playoff ramifications. Both teams have been dreadful this year, putting both head coaches on the hot seat.
Chiefs vs Bengals
This is a big game with both teams currently leading their division. Of course, the Chiefs have already clinched the AFC West while the Bengals could clinch the AFC North with a win.
Oddly enough, Cincinnati hasn’t even clinched a playoff spot yet, which is something the Bengals would like to do before they travel to Cleveland in Week 18 to play a team that beat them 41-16 earlier this season.
Dolphins vs Titans
Miami’s seven-game winning streak is on the line against a team that has the second-best record in the AFC.
Thanks to their MNF win, the Miami Dolphins are on their longest winning streak since 1985.
— Franchise Sports 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@FranchiseSprts) December 28, 2021
The Titans still need one more win to close out the AFC South. They could also take over the top seed in the conference with a win and a Kansas City loss. Meanwhile, the Dolphins may have won seven straight, but there is still work to do, as they are part of a four-way tie for the final Wild Card spot.
Raiders vs Colts
It’s looking doubtful that Carson Wentz will be able to play in this game after being put on the COVID list. That puts even more pressure on Jonathan Taylor to carry the Colts, who are yet to secure a playoff spot despite winning six of seven.
On the other side, the Raiders are one of those 8-7 teams fighting for that final playoff spot.
Jaguars vs Patriots
The Pats no longer control their destiny in the AFC East after last week’s loss to Buffalo. But getting the lowly Jags this week should help.
With a win this week, there are a variety of scenarios that would allow New England to clinch a playoff spot this week, including losses by either the Dolphins or Raiders.
Buccaneers vs Jets
The Bucs don’t need a win in this game after already clinching the NFC South.
Tom Brady is EXACTLY 22 years older than Zach Wilson.
They face off on Sunday.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 30, 2021
But if Tampa wants to catch the Packers for the top seed or even secure the no. 2 seed, the Bucs need to keep winning. On paper, that task should be easy enough as double-digit road favorites against the Jets.
Eagles vs Washington
The Eagles could potentially clinch a playoff spot this week with a win and some outside help.
It was just two weeks ago that Philly took care of business against Washington 27-17. The Washington Football Team proceeded to get blown out by the Cowboys last week, so things are looking bleak. But Washington is still alive in the playoff race despite being 6-9 and should get up to play a division rival at home.
Rams vs Ravens
The Ravens have to do something to snap their four-game losing streak. Until last week, all of those losses were at least close.
But now there is reason to panic in Baltimore, especially with the Rams coming to town. They’ve won four in a row and are once again looking like serious contenders in the NFC.
Broncos vs Chargers
It’s always fun when these two teams get together, especially since neither team can afford to lose this game.
The Denver defense held Justin Herbert and company in check earlier this year in a 28-13 win. But the Denver offense has been a train wreck without Teddy Bridgewater, who’s expected to miss his second straight game because of a concussion.
Texans vs 49ers
With a playoff spot within their grasp, the 49ers get the honor of playing the lowly Texans this week.
Of course, Houston has won two in a row, including a win over the Chargers last week. Also, with San Francisco coming off a loss and Jimmy Garoppolo questionable, things may not be that easy for the 49ers.
Cardinals vs Cowboys
The Cowboys are trending up after last week’s blowout over Washington while nothing is going right for the Cardinals right now.
Trevon Diggs with his ELEVENTH INT of the season 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 27, 2021
Arizona has at least clinched a playoff spot despite losing three in a row. But that losing streak has the Cardinals desperate to get things turned around before the playoffs begin.
Panthers vs Saints
Amidst all of the injuries and absences, the Saints are still alive in the playoff race.
Lions vs Seahawks
There’s nothing on the line in this game, although it’s been fun to see the Lions continuing to compete for Dan Campbell despite another lost season.
Vikings vs Packers
Green Bay has the NFC North all sewn up, but the Packers need to keep winning to secure the top seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye.
Plus, one has to think they’re a little upset about losing to Minnesota earlier this season. Meanwhile, the 7-8 Vikings are still alive but could be knocked out of the playoff picture with a loss.
Browns vs Steelers
These teams met in the playoffs last year and will play another elimination game on Monday night. The winner of this game will still have some work to do, but there will be no hope of making the playoffs for the loser of this rivalry game.