The NFL’s scheduling department should take a bow.
While not every game Sunday has postseason implications — Houston vs. Indianapolis, anyone??? Yeah, me neither — there are nine teams still to be seeded entering Week 17. That means a good modicum of competitive football, as well as gamesmanship and unusual cheerleading for matchup purposes.
Rams coach Sean McVay admitted Monday he will rest starters against the 49ers because mitigating injury risk is more important than going all-out to secure the NFC’s No. 3 seed. Jacksonville is already locked into the AFC’s No. 3 seed, but the Jaguars must decide whether featuring backups for the same purpose is in their best interest. A loss to the Titans greatly increases the chances of what can be considered a more favorable first-round rematch against a Tennessee squad that has lost three straight games.
All these questions will be answered soon enough. We do know the seven clubs that already have made the playoffs and potential foes looming. Here are the most and least favorable matchups for each of them on the path to Super Bowl 52.
Best matchup: Carolina Panthers — Cam Newton is the most sacked quarterback (33) among NFC teams that have qualified for the playoffs. Philadelphia’s ability to get pressure on Newton with its Wide-Nine pass rush could lead to the type of low-scoring affair the Eagles may be forced into with Nick Foles replacing the injured Carson Wentz (knee) at quarterback.
Worst matchup: New Orleans Saints…Read More