16. Jaguars vs. Patriots
Storyline: Rookie Roulette
Trevor Lawrence lost to Zach Wilson, and now he is looking pretty bad compared to the rest of the draft class. He has thrown one TD in his last eight games, and he isn't popping at all. He even lost to the Jets and still didn't throw a TD. However, if Lawrence beats Mac Jones all will be forgiven, and his entire narrative will change. Mac Jones is in a slump losing twice in a row and playing below his standard. Some people think the three-pass game shook his confidence. However, all that should be rectified here. Patriots are a much better team than the Jags, and they should win easily. If it makes Mac feel better, he can even throw a bit on the Jags defense.
15. Jets vs. Bucs
Storyline: Can Whiz Kid Wilson Hang with the Goat?
This week, the Jets are severely outmatched against the Bucs, despite the Bucs injuries. However, the Jets have several receivers out, making this game even harder. Still, it will be interesting to see how Wilson will respond to the pressure. Can he compete with the Bucs and keep the score respectable? It will be interesting to see if the Bucs have adapted to their injuries. Can they efficiently take down a lesser opponent, or will they struggle?
14. Bills vs. Falcons
Storyline: Are the Bills For Real?
This might seem like a silly question to ask, but stop me if you have heard this before. The Bills get a big win, and everyone talks about how great they are. Then, boom, they take a strange loss. On paper, the Bills should roll the Falcons, but will they? The Falcons are still in the playoff race, and they just need to win out and get a little help. So this is a must-win for the Falcons. Their backs are against the wall, and the Bills are coming to end the Falcons season. What will the Falcons do about it?
13. Texans vs. 49ers
Storyline: Trey Lance vs. Davis Mills
Davis Mills has been the most surprising rookie of the class. He defeated Justin Herbert just last week, and now he has a chance to spoil the 49ers season. Trey Lance hasn't played much this season, even though everyone thought it was a forgone conclusion that he would be taking Jimmy G's job this year. Jimmy G's injury is the only reason Lance is starting right now. Now, they have to depend on the rookie when they would rather not. The 49ers front office might not recover from being knocked out of the playoffs by a QB they could have drafted playing on a worse team. Especially while playing the QB, they did draft. However, a win for Trey Lance could turn around Trey's momentum and make him the savior of the season.
12. Panthers vs. Saints
Storyline: Is It Time to Fire Matt Rhule?
The Panthers are benching Cam for Sam, who is the reason they needed another QB in the first place. So far, the ax has hit everyone, except Rhule. The OC was fired, Cam was benched and PJ Walker took a back seat. Sam was benched, and now he is supposed to be a savior? This game will come down to coaching. Sean Payton is an excellent coach and even with his team severely depleted, he will not go down easy. Can Rhule coach his squad past the depleted Saints? The Dolphins showed it could be done, and Bucs showed it's not easy. The Panthers should win this game, but will they? I think you will learn everything you need to know about Rhule this Sunday.
11. Bears vs. Giants
Storyline: Could Nagy Save His Job?
The Bears should beat the Giants. However, the Giants have just enough left to challenge the Bears. Can Nagy coach past this resistance? If he can win this game and win and the next one, he could save his job. People have been chanting fire Nagy all year, but why? Everyone also agrees the Bears weren't supposed to compete this year. This is Nagy's first losing season in his tenure and only the second time he won't make the playoffs in four years. He had a lot of injuries on a defensive group that is already worse than last year. Also, he has had to deal with the ups and downs of a rookie QB, and had two of his three QBs hurt multiple times this year. He lost David Montgomery and Damien Williams during the season, and Allen Robinson has fallen off a cliff. Still, if Nagy wins these next two games, he would have dropped one game from previous years despite all of that. On the Giants side, it will be interesting to see what Fromm can do and if Golladay can produce as the primary receiver in this match-up.
10. Seahawks vs. Lions
Storyline: Can Carroll Cool Off His Seat?
The Lions come into this game as one of the worst teams in the league. But they have played people close and surprised some good teams, and they knew their season would be ugly from hello. However, the Seahawks were supposed to be good. The coach didn't want to listen to Russell Wilson, and as a result things aren't going well. Now that everyone has seen just how bad the Seahawks are without Russell and how far they have fallen, Pete is gaining more scrutiny. If he loses to the Lions after losing to the Bears, the heat on Carroll will turn supernova.
9. Ravens vs. Rams
Storyline: The Tale of Two Seasons
The Ravens are one of the most resilient teams in the NFL. However, they might have had one too many injuries. Lamar Jackson is trying to play against the Rams, but I just don't see that happening. Even if he does, I don't see how he can be one hundred percent when he isn't even really practicing. There's a lot at stake in this game. The Ravens are trying to stay alive in the playoffs and the Rams are trying to clinch their division. Also, the Rams are peaking right now. It will be interesting to see if Stafford will get through this game without any big turnovers.
8. Packers vs. Vikings
Storyline: Aaron Rodgers vs. Dalvin Cook
Last year, Rodgers and Cook lit up the scoreboard as they tried to carry their teams to victory. Rodgers is injured, but his defense is better than before, so he won't have to do as much to secure the one seed for the Packers. Kirk Cousins is on the COVID list, so Dalvin will have to do a lot more to keep the Vikings alive. Can he carry the team to victory?
7. Broncos vs. Chargers
Storyline: Fighting for My Playoff Life
The Chargers took an embarrassing loss to the Texans after losing their hold on the division to the Chiefs. Things don't get any easier this week as they face a tough Broncos defense with a good run game, which still seems like the kryptonite of the Chargers defense. However, the Broncos are going to be without a few defenders and skill players. Can they keep up with the Chargers with their season on the line?
6. Browns vs. Steelers
Storyline: QBs Swan Song
Big Ben seems like he is finally ready to retire his jersey, and he has indicated this could be his last home game in Pittsburgh. Ben gets a chance to write his own story and walk away victorious one last time in Pittsburgh. However, Baker needs this win as well. He is still trying to make his name, and his seat is getting hot. He threw four picks last game in a loss to the Packers. He needs to win.
5. Eagles vs. Washington
Storyline: Return of the Jalen
A year ago, Jalen Hurts was getting benched and prevented from beating the Washington Football Team, which ensured the Washington Football Team made the playoffs last year. The coach that did that has been fired, and the QB ahead of Jalen last year has been traded. Now, Jalen returns to defeat the Washington Football Team and ensure the Eagles make the playoffs. The Washington Football Team was just embarrassed last week by the Cowboys, and they are looking to rebound this week by playing spoiler.
4. Raiders vs. Colts
Storyline: Started From the Bottom
Raiders have been resilient all year. They started off the year better than people expected. They refused to die after losing the head coach and several players to controversy. They have strung some wins together by hook or crook these last few weeks, and they need to continue doing that to make the playoffs. However, they face another scrappy team, the Colts, who got it out of the mud as well. The Colts now have a chance to take their division with just a few more wins.
3. Cardinals vs. Cowboys
Storyline: Photo Finish
The Cowboys just had a dominant victory, and they are trying to prove that's who they really are. They want everyone to know they are serious, and they can by winning back to back games and beating worthy competitors like the Cardinals. The Cardinals are trying to prove they aren't the team they have been these last few weeks, and they want to get back on track by beating the Cowboys. Also, both teams are still competing for the one seed.
2. Bengals vs. Chiefs
Storyline: Eyes on the Prize
Chiefs and Bengals have struggled this year, and both teams have also bounced back and taken control of their competitive divisions. Now, they face off and test just how far they have both come. Also, the winner has an excellent chance of being the one seed when all is said and done.
1. Dolphins vs. Titans
Storyline: Coach of the Year
This is the game of the week for so many reasons. Mainly, it's about the fact that the winner will probably be the Coach of the Year. The Titans lost Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and several defenders, but Coach Vrabel keeps finding ways to win. Flores started out one and seven and lost his QB. But now, he has manufactured a historic seven-game win streak after a seven-game losing streak, and has his team vying for playoffs. These two coaches are the top choices for Coach of the Year, and we get to see who's better head to head. Also, it's two former Patriots facing off against each other. Speaking of former teams, Ryan Tannehill will be playing his former organization and would probably love to end their playoff run before it starts. On the other hand, Tua would love to keep this streak alive, beat Tannehill, and prove to all the haters that he is the superior QB.