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NFL Week 18 preview: Playoff spots on the line in final week of regular season


The NFL household has waited on tenterhooks this previous week on the well being of Damar Hamlin as he continues to get well in hospital, however this weekend the present goes on and the ultimate recreation week of the common season nonetheless holds loads of thrilling soccer.

Hamlin collapsed in the course of the first quarter of the Payments recreation at Cincinnati on Monday, a contest that was postponed, then canceled by the NFL on Thursday night time.

The canceled recreation leaves the Payments (12-3) – a win behind the Chiefs (13-3) within the hunt for the No. 1 seed and a bye within the subsequent spherical.

The Payments should play their recreation towards the Patriots (8-8) Sunday understanding that with a win and a Chiefs loss they may nonetheless clinch that prime spot within the AFC because of the next win proportion.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow says he “most likely needs to play” his group’s subsequent recreation but additionally understands that others don’t within the aftermath of Hamlin’s collapse on Monday.

“I’m positive in the event you polled the locker room there can be blended votes on that,” he instructed reporters. “Personally, I believe enjoying goes to be robust, however there’s those that wish to play, too, and there’s those that don’t.

“Personally, I most likely wish to play. I believe getting again to as regular as you may as quick as you may is personally how I sort of take care of these sorts of issues. However like I mentioned, everybody has a special manner of coping with it.”

The Bengals haven’t any likelihood of topping the AFC. At finest, they may steal the Payments’ second spot in the event that they beat the Ravens and the Payments misplaced.

The flip facet is that even when the Ravens beat the Bengals, because of the next win proportion the Bengals will stay prime of the AFC North.

The Ravens have appeared toothless these previous couple of weeks within the absence of quarterback Lamar Jackson, however with an imperious protection and the Bengals probably struggling to beat the shock of Monday, there is a chance for the Ravens to maneuver into the playoffs with some momentum

The sport will get underway at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Joe Burrow will return to action after featuring in the game where Hamlin collapsed.

For Tennessee and Jacksonville, the playoffs have come early.

The winner takes a playoff spot and prime spot within the AFC South, in the meantime the loser comes away with completely nothing.

And it’s not trying nice for the Titans, who misplaced a sixth recreation on the go once they have been overwhelmed 27-13 at residence by the Cowboys.

Issues have been made worse by their state of affairs at quarterback. Starter Ryan Tannehill is out injured. His alternative Malick Willis threw solely 99 yards and was turned over twice towards Houston, earlier than he was changed of their final recreation by Josh Dobbs.

The 2017 draft decide has solely performed seven profession NFL video games and began a recreation for the primary time towards the Cowboys.

The groups performed towards one another simply 4 weeks in the past, with the Jaguars popping out 36-22 on prime on Tennessee soil. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was on hearth, throwing 368 yards and three touchdowns.

Tune in at 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday.

One other recreation with every thing to play for because the Packers, Lions and Seahawks all have an similar 8-8 file going into the ultimate recreation.

Due to earlier outcomes towards one another, if the Packers win, they’re by to the playoffs; if the Lions win, they are going to want a down-and-out Rams group to do them a favor and cease the Seahawks successful on residence soil.

That is additionally a recreation of two groups which have recovered from horrible begins (Packers have been 3-6 and the Lions have been 1-6) to complete the common season in prime type.

The Packers have constructed their success on one of many meanest defenses within the NFL. They’ve received their final 4 video games on the spin with out conceding greater than 20 factors in any of them.

In opposition to the Packers is a Lions group scoring for enjoyable. Detroit put 41 previous Chicago final week with Jared Goff hitting prime type, throwing 255 yards, three touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

The Packers shall be praying for a Seahawks win as that is the ultimate recreation on Sunday, that means that the Lions might already be knocked out once they kick off in Wisconsin.

But when the Rams pull off an upset, this recreation might have every thing using on it for each groups.

Tune in at 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Lions beat the Packers 15-9 the last time the two met this season.

Just a few weeks in the past the Philadelphia Eagles appeared unstoppable. That they had solely misplaced one recreation, had one of the best file within the NFL and virtually sown up prime spot within the NFC.

Quick ahead to this weekend and the Eagles might probably finish the weekend within the five-seed after shedding their final two video games.

The Cowboys are just one recreation behind the Eagles within the NFC East after beating them two weeks in the past and will leapfrog them within the playoff desk.

Their destiny remains to be of their fingers nevertheless, however Philadelphia shall be hoping that the Giants do them a favor by resting their starters.

The Giants clinched an unbelievable playoff spot final week once they beat the Colts however, no matter outcomes, will are available in six-seed and so face the age previous query of whether or not to play or relaxation their finest gamers.

That bye is especially necessary to an Eagles group who’re determined to offer a full relaxation to star quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has been sensational for the Eagles however missed the 2 current losses due to a shoulder damage.

With the Cowboys going through comparatively straightforward recreation towards the Commanders, all eyes shall be on the Eagles to see if they will flip round their mini-slump to finish the season on a excessive, or lose all of the momentum they’ve constructed up this season.

The sport will get underway at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Jalen Hurts has only lost one game this season with the Eagles.

Right here’s methods to catch these groups and others throughout the league in motion, from wherever you’re.

Australia: NFL Recreation Go, ESPN, 7Plus

Brazil: NFL Recreation Go, ESPN

Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Recreation Go on DAZN

Germany: NFL Recreation Go, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN

Mexico: NFL Recreation Go, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports activities, Sky Sports activities

UK: NFL Recreation Go, Sky Sports activities, ITV, Channel 5

US: NFL Recreation Go, CBS Sports activities, Fox Sports activities, ESPN, Amazon Prime

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