The Cowboys didn’t score many style points in Thursday night’s win over the short-handed Titans. But a win is a win. And the win improved Dallas’ record to his 12-4, with a Week 18 matchup against Washington still ahead. The Cowboys will likely enter the playoffs as a wildcard and his fifth seed in the NFC.

Meanwhile, the Titans are 7-9 in losses and could be on the outside heading into the postseason if they can’t beat the red-hot Jaguars in Week 18.

But wait – Week 17 is still on. Who will dominate the big game in AFC East Japan? Can Aaron Rodgers keep the Packers in playoff contention against the Vikings? What should we expect when facing off? athletic‘s Chad Graff, Mike Jones, and Mike Sando explain what they see.

The Broncos made big news this week by firing head coach Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games. What effect will it have on my peers?

Graph: The Broncos seemed to find new lows with each match, so this seemed like weeks of production. A year ago, it was a highly coveted position with a young roster and cap flexibility. Now he may be stepping into one of the worst contract situations a new coach has had in a long time. At first glance, it seems that very few coaches are interested. However, since no coach can reach this level without a great deal of courage, it is speculated that the Broncos’ work has attracted a lot of interest from top coaching candidates trying to convince Wilson that he can “fix” him.

Jones: It’s always sad when someone loses their job, but I really enjoyed every interaction I had with Nathaniel Hackett. However, this move was inevitable. He didn’t have it as a head coach. But hopefully this will be an experience where he can learn and grow.

I don’t think firing Hackett will set the Broncos on fire. Nor do I think Hackett deserves all the blame. General His manager George Peyton should not be immune to criticism. He was the one who hired Hackett as head coach despite having no play-calling experience, and not only traded him for Russell Wilson, but see what Hackett wants to do and how he fits in. He’s also the one who gave him a big contract extension before. You can miss a coach, you can miss a quarterback. But you can’t miss a coach and a quarterback in the same year and expect safety.



How a poor partnership with Russell Wilson doomed Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure with the Broncos

Approach: The Broncos appear to be packing their cars idling in the parking lot into their bags and preparing to leave for the offseason. Yes, but I haven’t seen any major improvements.

With Tua Tagovailoa on concussion protocol and Teddy Bridgewater in the starting lineup, what do you expect from the New England Dolphins and Patriots? Which of these teams is better suited to sneak into the postseason? Which is

Graph: I may be in the minority here, but go with the dolphins. I don’t think the gap between Tagovailoa and Bridgewater is so dramatic that they want the Miami playoffs to take a beating without a starter. As Bridgewater does on Sunday, it won’t be easy for him to face a Bill Belichick-led defense for the first time, but he has two great players against an incredibly hard-hitting New England cornerback group. There are receivers. Plus, Bridgewater has to outdo the Patriots’ offense, which is one of the worst in the league. I go with the Dolphins.



Why the Patriots’ battered secondary could decide Sunday’s must-win vs. Dolphins

Jones: The Dolphins won the Patriots for the first time, but I would be really surprised if Mike McDaniel swept Belichick. McDaniel doesn’t show much of a counterpunch.

Approach: I expect a game in line with the Week 1 matchup between these teams, but the difference is New England now have a better sense of what the Dolphins are doing offensively. . This is a game the Patriots must win.



Patriots Dolphins: Odds, Expert Picks & Sunday’s NFL Game Discussion

Before the season, not many would have circled the Carolina-Tampa Bay matchup in Week 17 as a key component of the NFC playoffs. How do you think this is done?

Graph: Tom Brady isn’t going to miss the playoffs due to a home loss to a bad Panthers team that ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in both offensive and defensive DVOA, right? ! This Buccaneers his team always seem to keep their opponents down so this will probably come down to the last few drives but bring in Brady to do just enough to beat the Panthers to go.

Jones: buccaneers should do it You can win this game. However, they are only 3-point favorites and have not continued their winning streak since Weeks 9 and 10. In fact, the Bucks have only won two games in a row all season. Steve Wilkes’ Panthers look like two teams hungry. Carolina wins!

Approach: I’m with the Panthers on this one. Because even if the Buccaneers win, they usually play against bad opponents and look less convincing. Carolina is full of energy, and despite the stakes being high, it’s unclear if Tampa Bay can rise to this matchup.



Panthers can take charge of NFC South with victory over Bucks on Sunday

Panthers running back Donta Foreman totaled 165 yards and scored one touchdown last week against the Lions. (Bob Donnan/USA Today)

Late Sunday afternoon, Minnesota will travel to Green Bay for an interesting divisional tilt with the Packers. Can Aaron Rodgers keep the pack’s playoff hopes alive, or will the Vikings continue their magical regular season run?

Graph: The Packers’ opponents during this three-game winning streak are unimpressive. Beating the Bears, Rams and Dolphins. But the efficiency numbers still confirm what the Packers have been doing since his mid-November. Since Week 10, the Packers rank sixth in the league in his offensive EPA per play. The Vikings have been doing well at Lambeau Field in recent years, but that’s due to Mike Zimmer’s defense facing Rodgers. Against this Minnesota defense, Rodgers should have no problem moving the ball around and scoring points. Together with Green Bay, we will aim for the 4th consecutive victory.

Jones: Considering how the Packers struggled against Miami (and only won because Tua gave them three consecutive balls in the fourth quarter), it’s hard to imagine them being a big threat to the Vikings. sea ​​bream. But perhaps despair has set in and strengthened enough to extend this streak to his four games.

Approach: I loved how Rogers planted the seeds with Pam Oliver after the game Two dome teams must visit Rambo last two weeks. The Vikings fit the bill, but I don’t think Green Bay is very good and I doubt Kirk Cousins ​​is throwing his three interceptions in the 4th quarter like he was at Tagovailoa last week. I like their chances in this game.



Vikings at the Packers: Odds, Expert Picks, Sunday’s NFL Game Discussion

The biggest game of the week on paper is Monday night’s tilt between the Bills and Bengals in Cincinnati.As these teams continue to battle for the AFC’s top seed, who will have the upper hand?

Graph: I take my Bengals home. Since Week 9, they have the best offense in the NFL, according to the EPA per play, one rank above the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Bills are 11th. Time is running out for them to get back into the form we all expected them to be as Super Bowl favorites all season.So welcome Joe Barrow home.

Jones: I think the Bengals can get the job done again. They are the hottest team in the league, with a seven-game winning streak, and I see no reason why they can’t continue with the complementary brand of football that underpins them. Joe Burrow and his defense have already beaten Patrick Mahomes. Then Josh Allen.

Approach: We’ve been choosing the home Bengals for this game for the past few weeks, and we’re sticking with it. They need to get Josh Allen’s best punch and that could be enough for the Bills to win. I think it should be possible.

What’s the most interesting story from Week 17 that we haven’t told yet? What are you most looking forward to personally?

Graph: The road to the playoffs looks very promising for the Lions, who have won six of their last eight games, but they will probably need a victory over the Bears this weekend to keep that up. These are his two teams that are fun to watch, ranked last (Lions) and second to last (Bears) in the defensive EPA per play. Expect plenty of points as Jared Goff looks to continue his comeback season.



Bears at Lions: Discussion of odds, expert picks, and Sunday’s NFL games

Jones: I have two: 1) Can Carson Wentz return to the saddle after nine weeks on the sidelines and help the Commanders secure a playoff bid? Can the Steelers beat the Ravens to improve to 8-8 and keep their playoff hopes alive? When Extend Mike Tomlin’s unbeaten streak to 16 seasons?

Approach: Seahawks quarterback Genno Smith is facing his old team, the Jets, in a game that could wipe out any flickering playoff hopes if either team loses. How likely was it that a scenario like this would play out like this?



Vic Picks, Week 17: Mike Williams strengthens Chargers’ playoff berth

(Illustration: John Bradford/ athleticPhoto: Nick Grace, Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire, Megan Briggs / Getty Images)

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