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Only three games are meaningless in Week 17

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

On the surface, it’s easy to shrug at Sunday’s slate of games, given the sense that only a few postseason loose ends remain.  But as our good friend Ricky Diamond, producer extraordinaire at NBC Sports, points out, all but three of the games have meaning.

Unfortunately for FOX, all three of the meaningless games — Redskins-Eagles, Bears-Vikings, Seahawks-Cardinals — will be televised on its network.

Here are the implications of each of the other games.

Bills at Patriots:  New England clinches the top seed in the AFC with a win.  A loss combined with a win by the Steelers or Ravens would push the Pats to No. 2.

Jets at Dolphins:  New York remains alive for the second wild-card berth in the AFC.

Titans at Texans:  Ditto for the Titans.

Colts at Jaguars:  The Colts secure the No. 1 pick if they lose; if they win (and if the Rams lose to the 49ers), the pick goes to St. Louis.

Ravens at Bengals:  The Ravens need a win to clinch the AFC North and the No. 2 seed.  The Bengals must win to secure the second wild-card berth in the AFC.

Steelers at Browns:  A Steelers win plus a Ravens loss gives Pittsburgh the AFC North title and the No. 2 seed.  Throw in a Patriots loss, and the Steelers emerge with the No. 1 seed.

Chiefs at Broncos:  Denver clinches the AFC West with a victory.

Chargers at Raiders:  Oakland takes the AFC West with a victory and a loss by the Broncos.  The Raiders with a win also have a shot at the second AFC wild-card berth.

Panthers at Saints:  The Saints can capture the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a win and a 49ers loss.

Buccaneers at Falcons:  With a Falcons win and a Lions loss, Atlanta secures the No. 5 seed in the NFC, avoiding a potential return trip to New Orleans.

Lions at Packers:  With a win, the Lions clinch the fifth seed, avoiding the Saints in the wild-card round.

49ers at Rams:  A win by San Fran nails down the No. 2 seed; a loss by the Rams could deliver the top pick in the draft, if the Colts beat the Jaguars.

Cowboys at Giants:  A true playoff play-in game, the winner takes the NFC East.  The loser goes home.

And so be sure to ring in the New Year by keeping your eyes on every NFL game on Sunday.  (Except the three that don’t matter.) We’ll be watching them all — including the three that don’t matter — and bringing you all the pertinent information right here.

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55 Responses to “Only three games are meaningless in Week 17”
  1. bears5683 says: Dec 28, 2011 11:56 PM

    Any Bears game has meaning to me. I’d rather see my favorite team end up 8-8 than get a notch or 2 higher on the draft board. GO BEARS.

  2. steviaquinn says: Dec 29, 2011 12:01 AM

    I wonder if Career Felon Mike Ornstein will be on the sidelines of the saints game again?

    Why is a guy with his history so close to an NFL coach and why did Payton piss off the NFL again because of him?

    Shady

  3. timegambit says: Dec 29, 2011 12:03 AM

    My couch has been working out all week preparing for the upcoming football onslaught.

    I actually bought diapers and an IV.

    Downside is I’ll probably lose my wife and the respect of my children, but I guess everything has it’s tradeoffs.

  4. emil4423 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:06 AM

    RAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIDDDDDEEEEERRRRRSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. tatum064 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:13 AM

    Cowboys at Giants: imagine the blow back by Jerrah if the Cowboys get blown out by Big Blue.

    Lions at Packers; Thats one where they should sit A-Rod, Suh will have blood in his eyes and will do just about anything.

    49ers at Rams; I think Rams actually show up and give one good send off for Spags (i think the really play hard for the guy, but he didnt get much personnel for Bradford)

    Panthers at Saints:; Another game where they should sit Brees – Panthers may want to just go all out to give them a reminder of whats in store for them as Cam Newton puts his signature on this team.

    Buccaneers at Falcons; Bucs either fight or not give a toss and Falcons may not show up either after last week’s humiliation at the hands of the Saints.

    Chargers at Raiders; My beloved Raiders have a chance to silence doubters with an impressive win v. a team with nothing to play for..in other words expect anything (eyes roll)

    Ravens at Bengals; Biggest game in years for Bengals..and they have a chance to enact revenge for the earlier loss, while the Ravens need a win for homefield – Ray Rice is in a contract year, expect a big game for him when it counts, but Chargers proved Ravens are vulnerable to the pass.

    Titans at Texans: Have a feeling Texans will bury Titans…but you never know what Jake Locker may have in store.

  6. trbowman says: Dec 29, 2011 12:21 AM

    Bills are gonna spoil the Patriot parade! Fitzmagic time

  7. 92and94and51and56 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:25 AM

    That’s a solid final weekend for the NFL. I have to say Goodell is doing at least one thing right, minimizing tank jobs by some teams in the last games of the season.

  8. 1fast84 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:30 AM

    Go Bengals knock the ravens down to the 5th seed!! Who dey!!

  9. gonzagylot00 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:39 AM

    nice breakdown.

  10. gb4mn0 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:47 AM

    How can you omit Da Bears @ vikequeens game as meaningless? A vikes lose with a Rams and Indy win ties the queens for a league worst as well as club worst record. Plus there still exist the possibility this could be the last game the lavender Larry’s Helga hat wearing gender benders can watch their 3rd rate expansion franchise lose at the Metrodump.

  11. owen16 says: Dec 29, 2011 12:58 AM

    Icing on the cake, FOX got the NFC East matchup ripped from it. Guess the A Team will be at Lambeau

  12. cusoman says: Dec 29, 2011 1:04 AM

    Bears-Vikes is not meaningless. It could be the difference between landing Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne and, well… not.

  13. lostsok says: Dec 29, 2011 1:15 AM

    Redskins/Eagles has meaning. If Washington wins and Miami loses, the Dolphins move in front of Washington in the draft. This is even more important with Barkley gone, as it is likely both teams will be eying RGIII.

  14. Soulman45 says: Dec 29, 2011 1:17 AM

    Frist to say
    The NFL have made it good to the last drop.

  15. therebelknight says: Dec 29, 2011 1:18 AM

    If the Colts lose and the Rams lose the pick goes to the Rams..The only way the Colts get the #1 pick is if they lose and the Rams lose.

  16. jamesx27 says: Dec 29, 2011 1:19 AM

    So. Sick. Of. Sam. Francisco. I understand you want a signature caller but we don’t need to hear him cry about Frank Gore every week and bandwagon his own team. He’s the reason I’ll stop listening to PFT Live
    Take his call once a week at most, honestly every other week would be great. I’m calling for a boycott of the mundane, repetitive, couch potato quarterback, Rice-a-Roni, taxi driver voiced antics of the guy who makes me press the forward button on my iPhone.
     

  17. jlswisc says: Dec 29, 2011 2:04 AM

    Colts v. Jags is only meaningful in regard to draft position.

    The three “meaningless” games also have draft position implications.

    Hence the Colts v. Jags should not be included in the meaningful list.

  18. raidersfreak says: Dec 29, 2011 2:16 AM

    Week 17 will be a Megaton of craziness since most deciding factors for the afc lie at 4eastern. Going to be some people on the edge of their seats.

  19. bryant824 says: Dec 29, 2011 3:50 AM

    Those games maybe meaningless for this season but not for next season. The Redskins-Eagles and Seahawks-Cardinals game determines where 3 of the 4 teams (excluding Wash.) rank in their division and determine their schedules for next year.

  20. curtj5 says: Dec 29, 2011 3:58 AM

    The Raiders are far better than the Broncos, Jets, Titans, and Bungles so they deserve a spot. Any of those other joke teams makes it in and they will just embarrass themselves.

  21. jshawaii22 says: Dec 29, 2011 4:37 AM

    Mike,

    You are only right only if you are not assuming that that draft position is ‘meaningless’, which, if you are the Cards or Hawks, can float 12 spots this weekend, and to me, makes this game very crucial, in a sick sort of way.

    For those of us who support teams that aren’t playing for the present, this weekends game and the next few weeks and months is our future.

    js

  22. jshawaii22 says: Dec 29, 2011 4:40 AM

    EDIT to read — … is right only if he IS ASSUMING that draft position is meaningless.

    js

  23. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 29, 2011 5:22 AM

    After all the hype about Indy losing on purpose for the Luck pick, I’d laugh like heck if they won this game. Obviously several players on the Colts have great reason to want to win, despite what Polian and Irsay may want. It’s funny how THAT will be a compelling week 17 story, more so than games with playoff implications.

  24. jimothyvonstojavic says: Dec 29, 2011 5:24 AM

    I just wish they would shut up about the first pick. The colts are getting Luck. They are no higher than 2 and even if the rams get it, they won’t draft a QB because of Bradford. The colts even said if Luck is there, they’ll take him.

  25. jharmon64 says: Dec 29, 2011 5:33 AM

    And just last week those 3 meaningless games would have been meaningful. 4 of them just go eliminated last week.

  26. osrude says: Dec 29, 2011 5:51 AM

    Pats over Bills
    Jets barely beat the Fins’
    Texans overcome Titans
    Colts take down Jags for 3rd win
    Bengals shut down Ravens
    Steelers crush Browns
    Chiefs somehow get Tebowed
    Raiders squeak by Bolts
    Saints tame Panthers
    Falcons soar past Bucs
    Packers edge over Lions
    49ers run by Rams

    Cowboys and Giants? Honestly couldn’t guess.

  27. peelmybatwings says: Dec 29, 2011 6:01 AM

    Only Tim Tebow matters. If you disagree you must hate God. And you are also going to hell.

  28. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 29, 2011 6:38 AM

    Would one of those be the DREAM TEAM”S game ,,,,,,AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAA !

  29. waltdawg says: Dec 29, 2011 7:10 AM

    Dearest Redskins,

    Thank you so much for SUCKING SOOOO BAD as to make the list of 3 unimportant scrimmages. You have been an awful team for as long as I can remember—at least since I paid the billls and made the TV decisions and was not under my father’s roof. Why are you SO bad and what are you planning on doing about it to make the team relevant?

    Hail?

  30. mikea311 says: Dec 29, 2011 7:21 AM

    figures that i live in the market where they are going to televise a meaningless game.

    Not only did I lode the end of a riveting Giants Jets game last week for that start of a snorefest in Dallas, now i get treated to the Eagles and Redskins.

    The NFL really needs to fix these tv rules.

  31. buffalion says: Dec 29, 2011 7:26 AM

    Gotta love the NFL

  32. vikingnut says: Dec 29, 2011 7:29 AM

    I don’t care what anybody says. The viking game isn’t meaningless! The vikes need to get a good look at joe webb so they know what to do with the #3 draft pick.

  33. indianaviking says: Dec 29, 2011 7:48 AM

    Shenanigans. The Colts-Jags game is meaningless. Draft position doesn’t count.

  34. mancave001 says: Dec 29, 2011 8:14 AM

    mikea311 says:
    Dec 29, 2011 7:21 AM
    figures that i live in the market where they are going to televise a meaningless game.

    Not only did I lode the end of a riveting Giants Jets game last week for that start of a snorefest in Dallas, now i get treated to the Eagles and Redskins.

    The NFL really needs to fix these tv rules.
    ———————–

    If you mean “fix the TV rules” as in “actually offer Sunday Ticket on other providers” I’m with you. I don’t know if Comcast and Verizon (and Time Warner) just think it’s too expensive, or what. But I know it’s bullish*t.

  35. mancave001 says: Dec 29, 2011 8:15 AM

    On another note, it’s been while since we Eagles fans had a meaningless game at the end of the year. Usually it has tons of meaning, which results in us suffering crushing disappointment like we did in 2009.

  36. salmen76 says: Dec 29, 2011 8:42 AM

    Too bad for the Falcons that the Packers will probably sit their stars which will enable the Lions to win that game for sure cuz the Lions need the win to avoid getting bounced right off the bat in the wildcard round by the soon to be new world champion Saints! So win or lose next weekend the falcons will be playing the Saints again in the Mercedez Benz Superdome! And again the Saints will blast the Falcons! Geaux Saints!

  37. nannymcsack says: Dec 29, 2011 8:49 AM

    Is anybody surprised? they did this on purpose in case half the season didn’t get played because of the lockout.

  38. grapeapegape says: Dec 29, 2011 9:10 AM

    The Ravens-Bengals game loses some meaning if the Jets lose to Miami. They would only need Denver or Oakland to lose to secure a wild card spot.

    Since the Jets game is before the other 3, the Bengals would probably get a sense of how bad they need to win based off that game alone since it’s likely that either Denver or Oakland will drop the last game.

  39. hendawg21 says: Dec 29, 2011 9:13 AM

    Meaningless says you…as the saying goes one mans junk is another man’s treasure that being said you may find those 3 games meaningless however, to the fans of said teams it’s our team which is all the meaning it needs, sure there is no playoff implications but on the other hand there is draft position implication.

    See you sports columinst/talking heads etc., are no different than politicians they base and vote on things because of what they think and feel, you guys think and write based on what you think neither of you ask the people just assume because it is what you think and or believe so on that note your article has no basis…here’s an example of why the Eagles and Redskins has implications…

    1. Washington is currently picking in the 7th spot

    2. If they lose and Cleveland and Jax win they move to the 4th spot.

    3. If one of the two Cleveland or Jax wins and Washington loses they move up a position.

    4. So really games that may not mean anything to you scribes means quite a bit to the teams/fans of said teams…

  40. bkostela says: Dec 29, 2011 9:17 AM

    when do they announce what referee squads make the playoffs?

  41. Stiller43 says: Dec 29, 2011 10:01 AM

    Can the ravens still clinch the 1 seed?

    If they beat cincy (wont happen) and NE loses to bufflao (wont happen), they’ll both be 12-4, they will not have played head to bead, and will have a tied 9-3 afc record. What happens from there?

    Just asking cause you say it can happen, just checkin your math here…

  42. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Dec 29, 2011 10:01 AM

    Steelers should hope the Ravens build an early lead on Cincy and Ben goes to the bench before he can’t play in the playoffs. Dumb move to play him into the 2nd half.

  43. jpb1976 says: Dec 29, 2011 10:19 AM

    As a bills fan, I don’t know if I’m going to be happy if the bills win and sweep the patriots this season, or be irritated at the fact they swept the pats for the first time since 1999, won a game at Gillette Stadium for the FIRST time, and STILL weren’t even in contention for a playoff spot this year

  44. sojumaster says: Dec 29, 2011 10:26 AM

    Stiller43 says:Dec 29, 2011 10:01 AM

    Can the ravens still clinch the 1 seed?

    If they beat cincy (wont happen) and NE loses to bufflao (wont happen), they’ll both be 12-4, they will not have played head to bead, and will have a tied 9-3 afc record. What happens from there?

    Just asking cause you say it can happen, just checkin your math here…

    ————————

    The Ratbirds can not over take the #1 seed. The Patties will have the #4 tie-breaker, Strength of Victory.

  45. noquickreactionshere says: Dec 29, 2011 10:28 AM

    Stiller43 says:
    Dec 29, 2011 10:01 AM
    Can the ravens still clinch the 1 seed?

    If they beat cincy (wont happen) and NE loses to bufflao (wont happen), they’ll both be 12-4, they will not have played head to bead, and will have a tied 9-3 afc record. What happens from there?

    Just asking cause you say it can happen, just checkin your math here…

    ______________________________

    Division record…. Baltimore 6-0 New England 4-2

  46. huejackson says: Dec 29, 2011 10:29 AM

    I think the Raiders have the best chance this weekend, I think their path is actually the easiest.
    All they got to do is beat a Broken down Chargers team… Ravens are going to beat the Bengals so Raiders get the wild card and I would bet life that Orton rips apart the Broncos..
    Raiders will be in the playoffs no matter what..
    If Im a Broncos fan Im hapy too cause I believe either way Broncos get the Wild Card..

  47. noquickreactionshere says: Dec 29, 2011 10:31 AM

    Stiller43 says:
    Dec 29, 2011 10:01 AM
    Can the ravens still clinch the 1 seed?

    If they beat cincy (wont happen) and NE loses to bufflao (wont happen), they’ll both be 12-4, they will not have played head to bead, and will have a tied 9-3 afc record. What happens from there?

    Just asking cause you say it can happen, just checkin your math here…

    ______________________________

    Strike that, I was wrong, record against common opponents. Baltimore beat Pitt twice, NE lost to Pitt.

  48. sojumaster says: Dec 29, 2011 10:48 AM

    noquickreactionshere says:Dec 29, 2011 10:28 AM

    Division record…. Baltimore 6-0 New England 4-2

    ————————————

    That does not work here. The division Record is only applicable if they are in the same division.

  49. sojumaster says: Dec 29, 2011 10:52 AM

    noquickreactionshere says:Dec 29, 2011 10:31 AM

    Strike that, I was wrong, record against common opponents. Baltimore beat Pitt twice, NE lost to Pitt.

    ————————–

    Common Opponents are only in play if they have a minimum of 4. Patties and Ratbirds do not have 4 common opponents.

  50. holeinone09 says: Dec 29, 2011 10:59 AM

    Go Bengals and Bills! The KILLER B’s!

    GO STEELERS!!

  51. leatherface2012 says: Dec 29, 2011 11:01 AM

    mccarthy should make rodgers play the whole game, and remove all the linemen but the center. lets see if he puts on the belt in his ford truck then?!!!!

  52. richm2256 says: Dec 29, 2011 11:10 AM

    Let me get this straight …… the Yets, for the third straight year, can back into the playoffs if:

    New England and Buffalo both manage to lose in the same game, the Bengals and the Ravens both lose in their game, the Browns beat the Steelers by 400 or more points, the Chargers beat the Raiders, but only if the Donks lose to the Chiefs …..

    is that about it?

    Yets fans are already standing in line for playoff tickets.

  53. jutts says: Dec 29, 2011 11:13 AM

    Directv owns the NFL. They make the rules. Just ask them..

  54. Nips Johnson says: Dec 29, 2011 12:06 PM

    I’ll definitely be checking back next week after the Chargers keep the Raiders out of the playoffs. I just can’t wait to read all of the excuses about officiating and typical Raiders fan comments like:
    “phyliss rivers is still a punk! LoLz!”
    and “welcome to LA Doltz hahhah!~!!1!”
    and of course “Norval and Lord of no ringz! derp derp derp!!” Raiders fans’ tears always taste the best because they will immediately start name-calling and saying how stupid your city is.. It’s really cute actually.

  55. sojumaster says: Dec 29, 2011 1:20 PM

    palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says:Dec 29, 2011 10:01 AM

    Steelers should hope the Ravens build an early lead on Cincy and Ben goes to the bench before he can’t play in the playoffs. Dumb move to play him into the 2nd half.

    —————————

    The Rat Birds/Bungles game will have no influence on whether Ben plays the whole game or not. All the Steelers can do is take care of their own house and hope that that the Rat Birds lose.

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