The best Week 17 games are the ones that determine division titles, and it appears that we’ll have two of them this season.
The NFC North and AFC South are both likely to be decided with head-to-head games on the final day of the regular season, Sunday, January 1.
In the NFC North, the Lions host the Packers to end the season. Although the Lions could clinch the division before that game, that’s unlikely: Detroit would have to win at Dallas and the Packers would have to lose at home to the Vikings this week. The much more likely scenario would be the Packers-Lions finale serving as the NFC North title game.
In the AFC South, the Texans visit Tennessee to end the season. It’s possible that the Texans could clinch the division this week, but it’s unlikely: The Texans would have to beat the Bengals and the Titans would have to lose to the Jaguars on Saturday. Much more likely, the division will come down to that Week 17 meeting in Tennessee.
If this all plays out as expected, it seems likely that Packers-Lions would be moved into prime time, while Texans-Titans would be given an afternoon time slot that would allow it to be shown to a large swath of the country. And the NFL would be pleased to have meaningful games that can help it continue a strong late-season run of good TV ratings.