PFT’s NFL 2022 offensive rookie of the year: Brock Purdy

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers
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From Mr. Irrelevant to Offensive Rookie of the Year. Brock Purdy has had an extraordinary year.

Purdy, the 49ers quarterback who started the season as the third-stringer, and ended up in the playoffs, is PFT’s pick for the NFL’s 2022 offensive rookie of the year.

Just a few months ago, most football fans didn’t know who Purdy was, or if they did it was only because he earned the “Mr. Irrelevant” label as the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft. But after both starter Trey Lance and backup Jimmy Garoppolo went down, the 49ers had no choice but to turn to Purdy. And he was outstanding.

When Lance was lost in Week Two, the 49ers appeared to still be in good shape because they had Garoppolo, who led them to the NFC Championship Game a year ago. But when Garoppolo went down with six games to go, many expected the 49ers to collapse. Instead, the 49ers went 6-0 with Purdy, and he didn’t just manage, he thrived: Purdy actually averaged more yards per pass than either Garoppolo or Lance and had a higher passer rating than either Garoppolo or Lance.

Not only do the 49ers not miss their top two quarterbacks, they may actually be better positioned to win the Super Bowl with Purdy than they would have been with either Garoppolo or Lance. That makes Purdy our choice for offensive rookie of the year.

But Purdy isn’t the only offensive rookie who’s worthy of recognition this season. Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett wasn’t quite as effective as Purdy, but he also played very well for a first-year quarterback. The Jets’ Garrett Wilson was an impressive receiving threat in an offense that didn’t have a good quarterback to throw him the ball. Saints receiver Chris Olave and Packers receiver Christian Watson both had flashes of greatness. Texans rookie running back Dameon Pierce was a bright spot on a bad team. And Chargers left tackle Jamaree Salyer, a sixth-round pick who wasn’t expected to start as a rookie, ended up playing every snap from Week Four on and stabilizing a Chargers offensive line that could have collapsed after Rashawn Slater went down.

PFT’s 2022 defensive rookie of the year: Sauce Gardner

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills
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The Jets had the worst defense in the league in 2021 and part of their plan to remedy that involved using the fourth overall pick of this year’s draft on cornerback Sauce Gardner.

Gardner’s mix of size, strength, and athleticism had made him a shutout corner at Cincinnati and the Jets’ hope was that he’d develop into one at the professional level as well. They didn’t have to wait long for Sauce to be ready.

Gardner did a good job on Ravens tight end Mark Andrews in Week One and then went on to be a main factor in holding players like Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson, and Stefon Diggs below their usual standards in other games. There would be long stretches where quarterbacks avoided Gardner’s side of the field and throwing his way resulted in low passer ratings, completion percentages and postive results.

By the end of the year, Gardner had been selected for the Pro Bowl and he’s a strong contender for All-Pro status as he quickly rose to the top of the ranks of cornerbacks with all levels of experience. He finished the year with a league-high 20 passes defensed and also recorded 75 tackles and two interceptions as the Jets went from the bottom of the league’s defenses to being one of the toughest units in the league with Gardner’s work in pass coverage helping the pass rush find success.

It didn’t prove to be enough for the Jets to make the playoffs, but the defense remained stout as the offense fell apart in the final weeks and kept the Jets alive through Week 17.

That total package is why PFT has selected Gardner as our defensive rookie of the year for the 2022 season.

While Gardner took the top spot, there were other worthy standouts on defense. Second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson played a huge role in the Lions’ turnaround and capped the year with two sacks of Aaron Rodgers in a Week 18 win. Safety Kerby Joseph helped settle the back end in Detroit and pass rusher James Houston also starred for the Lions down the stretch. All three provide reason to believe that this year is just the start of good times in Detroit.

Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen led the league with six interceptions and helped Seattle make it back to the playoffs. Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux will also be in the postseason and his play against the Commanders in late December was a big part of getting the team to the postseason. Safety Jalen Pitre looked like a building block for the Texans and Jaquan Brisker provided some reason for hope with his safety play in Chicago.

As good as those players were, Gardner stood out in 2022.

PFT’s final 2022 NFL power rankings

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1. 49ers (13-4; last edition No. 1): Nearly 30 years later, Super Bowl win No. 6 could be coming.

2. Bills (13-3; No. 2): Nearly 30 years later, Super Bowl appearance No. 5 — and win No. 1 — could be coming.

3. Chiefs (14-3; No. 3): Neutral site or not for the AFC title game, that week off comes in handy.

4. Eagles (14-3; No. 4): Lately, they’re not looking like the team they’ve been.

5. Bengals (12-4; No. 5): They’re good enough to win it all — and feisty enough to do it, too.

6. Vikings (13-4; No. 7): They’ll beat the Giants by 2-4 points, or lose by 20-40.

7. Lions (9-8; No. 12): One of the rare NFL teams other than the Super Bowl champ who is truly happy after their final game of the year.

8. Jaguars (9-8; No. 10): They’ve come a long, long way from Urban Meyer.

9. Cowboys (12-5; No. 6): They’re definitely not going into the playoffs on a high note.

10. Chargers (10-7; No. 9): Other coaches eyeing possible jobs are quietly plotting ways to stab Brandon Staley in the back. On Sunday, he handed them a knife.

11. Steelers (9-8; No. 15): Every AFC playoff team should be thrilled they didn’t make it.

12. Giants (9-7-1; No. 13): No matter what happens in the playoffs, it was a great year.

13. Ravens (10-6; No. 8): Even with Tyler Huntley, they’ll have a rough time against the Bengals.

14. Buccaneers (8-9; No. 22): Tom Brady‘s 47 career playoff games will come in handy, starting on Monday.

15. Seahawks (9-8; No. 18): Division rivals are always dangerous opponents. Could the Seahawks have something special in store for San Fran?

16. Dolphins (9-8; No. 11): Will anyone be rooting for Miami this weekend?

17. Packers (8-9; No. 16): They’re great when the pressure is off. When it’s on, they can’t deliver.

18. Patriots (8-9; No. 17): They played as well as anyone could have in Buffalo on Sunday.

19. Browns (7-10; No. 21): Things could get interesting with Deshaun Watson for a full season.

20. Commanders (8-8-1; No. 14): Why not give Sam Howell a full season to show what he can do?

21. Titans (7-10; No. 19): From 7-3 to 7-10, and plenty of changes coming.

22. Panthers (7-10; No. 23): Steve Wilks did enough to earn that job.

23. Saints (7-10; No. 24): Get a quarterback, and things could get interesting.

24. Jets (7-10; No. 20): Maybe they should sign Geno Smith in free agency.

25. Falcons (7-10; No. 27): Folks may start inching toward the hot seat next year.

26. Raiders (6-11; No. 25):  Why didn’t they pivot to Jarrett Stidham earlier?

27. Rams (5-12; No. 26): The Rams sold their soul for a silver trophy, and the devil showed up sooner than expected to collect.

28. Broncos (5-12; No. 32): They finished on a high note. After way too many low notes.

29. Cardinals (4-13; No. 28): Will they pay for a high-end head coach?

30. Bears (3-14; No. 29): They would have been winless without Justin Fields.

31. Texans (3-12-1; No. 30): The Texans are the gang that couldn’t tank straight.

32. Colts (4-12-1; No. 31): The best part of giving Jeff Saturday the interim coaching job is that it gave Jim Irsay enough evidence to conclude he shouldn’t give Saturday the permanent coaching job.

NFL unveils 2023 opponents for each team

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference
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With the 2022 regular season over, the 2023 regular-season schedule is known.

It’s a formula driven by several key components: (1) two games against each of a given team’s division rivals; (2) one game against every team from one of the other divisions in the same conference, on a rotating basis; (3) one game against the teams that finished in the same position from the other two divisions in the same conference; (4) one game against every team from one of the other conference, on a rotating basis; and (4) one game against one team that finished in the same position from one of the other three divisions in the other conference, on a rotating basis.

It sounds more complicated than it is. And the formula doesn’t really matter, because the NFL has announced the 2023 opponents for all teams. We’ve pasted them below.

In May, the “when” will be announced. For now, we know the “who” and the “when” for every team.

Buffalo Bills

Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders

Miami Dolphins

Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders

New England Patriots

Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders

Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

New York Jets

Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders

Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants

Cincinnati Bengals

Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Baltimore Ravens

Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Pittsburgh Steelers

Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Cleveland Browns

Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Jacksonville Jaguars

Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers

Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Indianapolis Colts

Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots

Houston Texans

Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets

Kansas City Chiefs

Home: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles

Away: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Los Angeles Chargers

Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins

Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans

Las Vegas Raiders

Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers

Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins

Denver Broncos

Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Washington Commanders

Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins

Philadelphia Eagles

Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers

Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Commanders, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dallas Cowboys

Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks

Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

New York Giants

Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers

Washington Commanders

Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks

Minnesota Vikings

Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles

Detroit Lions

Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Green Bay Packers

Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

Chicago Bears

Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders

Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Commanders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans

Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers

Carolina Panthers

Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans

New Orleans Saints

Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots

Atlanta Falcons

Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Commanders

Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans

San Francisco 49ers

Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Commanders

Seattle Seahawks

Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Commanders

Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Los Angeles Rams

Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Commanders

Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants

Arizona Cardinals

Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

Away: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Commanders

FMIA Week 18: Damar Hamlin Gets His Flowers Right On Time

Kevin Sabitus/Getty

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—You want the truth about the coin flip that set in motion the script so unlikely that Spielberg would have found it far-fetched? If the Bills had won the toss, Sean McDermott instructed his captains to defer.The Bills would have kicked off.“I’m glad they lost this one,” McDermott told me.I should say so. [more]

NFL 2022 Week 18 early inactives: Tyler Huntley, Mark Andrews inactive for Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens
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Every week we bring you all the inactives from the 1 p.m. ET games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information.

The Ravens will be closing out the regular season with their third-string quarterback. Tyler Huntley is inactive with the right shoulder injury that limited his practice work this week, so Anthony Brown will be getting the start in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Huntley started the last four games in place of Lamar Jackson, who was ruled out again this week with a knee injury. Jackson has not practiced or played in a month, so it’s unclear if he’ll be able to make it back for next week’s playoff game.

That game could be against the Bengals and it could be in Baltimore if the Ravens win Sunday and then win a coin flip for home-field advantage. Being down to Brown at quarterback won’t make the first half of that equation an easy one to pull off and the Ravens are also sitting running back J.K. Dobbins and tight end Mark Andrews.

Ravens at Bengals

Ravens: QB Tyler Huntley, RB J.K. Dobbins, TE Mark Andrews, QB Lamar Jackson, G Kevin Zeitler, CB Marcus Peters, CB Brandon Stephens, DT Rayshad Nichols

Bengals: QB Jake Browning, RB Chris Evans, CB Jalen Davis, OL D’Ante Smith, TE Devin Asiasi, DE Jeffrey Gunter

Jets at Dolphins

Jets: QB Mike White, RB James Robinson, TE C.J. Uzomah, WR Irvin Charles, DL Bradlee Anae

Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, T Terron Armstead, WR Cedrick Wilson, T Kendall Lamm, CB Noah Igbinoghene, LB Brennan Scarlett, TE Tanner Conner

Buccaneers at Falcons

Buccaneers: WR Julio Jones, CB Carlton Davis, DT Vita Vea, S Mike Edwards, T Donovan Smith, OLB Carl Nassib, S Logan Ryan

Falcons: G Elijah Wilkinson, TE Feleipe Franks, CB Rashad Fenton, LB David Anenih, DL Jalen Dalton, S Micah Abernathy

Patriots at Bills

Patriots: ST Brenden Schooler, RB Kevin Harris, S Joshuah Bledsoe, DT Sam Roberts, CB Shaun Wade, TE Jonnu Smith, CB Jalen Mills

Bills: S Jared Mayden, LB Baylon Spector, OL Justin Murray, CB Christian Benford, OL Ike Boettger, TE Tommy Sweeney

Vikings at Bears

Vikings: CB Cam Dantzler, S Harrison Smith, LB Brian Asamoah, LB Za'Darius Smith, C Garrett Bradbury, DL James Lynch, DL Ross Blacklock

Bears: QB Justin Fields, CB Kyler Gordon, RB Darrynton Evans, CB Jaylon Jones, LB Sterling Weatherford, DL Terrell Lewis, DL Angelo Blackson

Texans at Colts

Texans: QB Kyle Allen, WR Phillip Dorsett, TE O.J. Howard, DL Thomas Booker, OL Jimmy Morrissey, DB Stephen Nelson

Colts: DE Rashod Berry, S Nick Cross, QB Nick Foles, C Wesley French, S Stephon Gilmore, TE Kylen Granson, DT Chris Williams

Panthers at Saints

Panthers: WR Rashard Higgins, S Juston Burris, LB Chandler Wooten, DE Brian Burns, C Sam Tecklenburg, T Larnel Coleman, DT Matt Ioannidis

Saints: CB Paulson Adebo, S Justin Evans, TE J.P. Holtz, S Marcus Maye, WR Kirk Merritt, G Andrus Peat, T Ryan Ramczyk, DE Payton Turner

Browns at Steelers

Browns: QB Kellen Mond, RB Demetric Felton, CB Thomas Graham, DT Ben Stille, DE Isaiah Thomas, T Jack Conklin, DE Jadeveon Clowney

Steelers: QB Mason Rudolph, DB Tre Norwood, LB Malik Reed, G Kendrick Green, LB Tae Crowder, DT Jonathan Marshall

Which NFC coaching, G.M. jobs may open up in 2023?

Dallas Cowboys v Jacksonville Jaguars
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We previously looked at the AFC hot spots, with a preamble regarding the efforts by the NFL to persuade owners to not make changes.

Changes, we know, are coming. Carolina already has a coaching vacancy. Here’s a look at the various hot spots we’re watching in the NFC.

The Cowboys: If Dallas makes another first-round exit from the playoffs, with coaching being a factor in the loss, would Mike McCarthy be in trouble? Owner Jerry Jones doesn’t like to fire coaches with time left on their contracts. But with his last chance at Sean Payton possibly disappearing if Payton takes a job elsewhere, would Jones make a change? It all comes down to when, and how, the current playoff run ends.

The Commanders: Ron Rivera has managed to lead his team to contention through a storm of unprecedented dysfunction originating from ownership. If he’d gotten the team to the playoffs, he would have been a strong candidate for coach of the year. As it stands, he should be the coach in D.C. for at least another year, allowing new ownership to decide whether to stay the course. (All of this assumes he wants to stay; some coaches would be tempted to tap out after the past two years of turmoil.)

The Panthers: David Tepper is looking for a coach. Depending on the coach he hires, there could be a ripple effect for G.M. Scott Fitterer. Time will tell.

The Saints: It’s unlikely that anything will change here, despite a disappointing season. They need a better answer at quarterback. The division could be wide open in 2023.

The Buccaneers: There were questions about the future of coach Todd Bowles, before they clinched the division. Some wonder whether offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich — who had at one point the inside track to the Jaguars’ head-coaching job — will be back next year. The bigger question is whether Tom Brady will look for another team, if he doesn’t retire.

The Falcons: It’s hard to hold the current regime (G.M. Terry Fontenot, coach Arthur Smith) responsible for a couple of non-playoff years. They’ve actually done well with what they have, and with what they don’t. The Julio Jones trade in 2021 and the Matt Ryan trade in 2022 created significant cap consequences, and they still need to find long-term answers at both positions. Owner Arthur Blank would be wise to stay the course.

The Rams: Coach Sean McVay surely regrets not taking Amazon money when he had the chance. Now, he reportedly will take some time to decide whether to return for 2023. Why would he? “Eff them picks” has f–ked up the future for the Rams. Not enough draft selections. Not enough cheap, young, talented players. Too many expensive, aging stars, including a banged-up quarterback who’ll have $57 million in additional pay become fully guaranteed in March. There’s little hope for the kind of quick turnaround that will put the Rams back atop the NFL’s mountain.

The Seahawks: Pete Carroll will be the coach at least through the eventual sale of the team, whenever it will happen. (It won’t happen before May 1, 2024.) Would Carroll retire? He has shown no indication that he plans to shut it down.

The Cardinals: As reported last night, the Saints expect to hear from the Cardinals about Sean Payton. Many expect that coach Kliff Kingsbury will be gone. If he is, owner Michael Bidwill will owe Kingsbury his full pay (minus whatever he makes elsewhere) through 2026. And with G.M. Steve Keim currently on a leave of absence, who would help Bidwill make his next move? It all comes down to how much Bidwill is willing to pay his current coach to go — and how much he’d offer a new coach to take the job.

Looking at the AFC coaching and G.M. hot spots for 2023

Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears
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Three jobs already are open. When the coaching (and G.M.) carousel starts to fully spin as soon as tonight, how many more will there be?

The league hopes it’s as few as possible, based on the effort last month to appeal to the greed of the owners by pointing out how much money they’ve spent in recent years paying out the balance of contracts for coaches and front-office executives. (The presentation apparently glossed over factors like offsets based on future earnings and potential revenue losses from standing pat with a struggling football operation, but that’s for the owners to figure out on their own, apparently.)

So how many jobs will become open in the current cycle, in addition to the head-coaching jobs with Panthers, Colts, and Broncos?

One source with extensive knowledge of the annual firing-and-hiring spree predicted recently that there won’t be many this year. There have been other years that felt that same way, however, and then one after another after another spots spring open, often with a surprise or two.

Here’s the places we’re watching in the AFC, either because a change arguably needs to be made — or because ownership (the core problem for plenty of dysfunctional teams) may do something dysfunctional.

The Jets: The impressive start to the season made expectations for the team unreasonable. Did owner Woody Johnson get swept up in that mindset, and will he be looking for someone to blame for the way things fell apart? Are G.M. Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh on the same page, or will one blame the other if/when it becomes clear ownership is looking for a scapegoat? The smart move would be to stand pat. But some owners often don’t make smart moves. A few rarely do.

The Dolphins: A five-game losing streak surely has created some frayed nerves. The handling of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa‘s concussions could prompt extra scrutiny from owner Stephen Ross. Ross also may be looking to blame someone for the tampering sanctions imposed on the organization for repeatedly trying to land quarterback Tom Brady and, more recently, coach Sean Payton. Could G.M. Chris Grier be on the hot seat? Could first-year coach Mike McDaniel fall under scrutiny for the Tua situation? Could Ross want to complete unfinished business with Brady and/or Payton? Not having a first-round pick due to the tampering situation and trading their other one to the Broncos (who are already flirting with Payton) would complicate any such effort. Regardless, Even with a Week 18, slip-under-the-wire playoff berth, Ross likely won’t be happy with how the season went. We’ve seen what he’s done in the past when he wasn’t happy.

The Patriots: There likely will be plenty of changes made on the coaching staff, possibly starting with the return of Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator — unless O’Brien becomes a head-coaching candidate elsewhere. Although a divorce is unlikely between Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft (a showdown over the coaching staff could, in theory, spark one), the pressure will mount in 2023, absent making the playoffs and winning a postseason game for the first time in four years.

The Ravens: John Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the NFL. The Ravens would have no reason to move on from him. After 15 years in the same job, could Harbaugh be thinking about a fresh start elsewhere? No coach has won a Super Bowl with two different teams. Every coach who has won a Super Bowl would like to be the first to do it, whether they’d admit it or not. And it generally makes sense, after Sean Payton’s departure from the Saints, to generally keep an eye on every coach who has been in the same place for so long.

The Steelers: Again, the raw duration of Mike Tomlin’s time with the team makes it an annual spot to watch, until he leaves. There’s no specific reason to think he would.

The Browns: At one point this year, it would have been not impossible to envision owner Jimmy Haslam making a change, with the goal of getting more from new quarterback Deshaun Watson. But Kevin Stefanski, the 2020 coach of the year, and Watson seem to be clicking. The Browns also have been competitive during the five-game pre-preseason for 2023. It would make little sense to make a change.

The Titans: Tennessee last won a game a week before Thanksgiving, on the same night offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested for DUI under a timeline that made it obvious he was drinking on the team plane from Green Bay and/or the team bus from the airport to the facility. When G.M. Jon Robinson was fired, it seemed at first that Mike Vrabel would emerge with more power — and as the person in charge of the football operation, vindicated by personnel moves gone wrong. Now, as the losses pile up and the division title was lost one year after Tennessee won the No. 1 seed, who knows what owner Amy Adams Strunk will decide to do? Through it all, she should remember what Vrabel has managed to do with an ever-revolving roster door, and what happened with moves that he opposed. Including the decision to trade receiver A.J. Brown to the Eagles.

The Colts: Owner Jim Irsay repeatedly has said G.M. Chris Ballard will return for 2023. We should know by now to never take seriously anything Irsay says about his team.

The Texans: After a one-and-done with David Culley and given their involvement in the Brian Flores suit for failing to hire him a year ago, would they dump Lovie Smith after only one season? Much of that depends on how sweeping the changes will be elsewhere in the organization. Is owner Cal McNair, who fired Jack Easterby during the season, waiting to make a clean sweep after the season ends? Beyond the team being the worst in the NFL in recent years, the football operations cost McNair in the form of thirty-plus settlements for failing to spot and remedy Deshaun Watson’s massage-therapy habits. Don’t overlook that as a factor when it comes to the big decisions McNair needs to make.

The Broncos: Is G.M. George Paton truly safe? That could hinge on the coach that new ownership hires. If the Wal-Mart conglomerate settles on a CEO for the football operation who wants his own G.M., Paton could be gone. Or at a minimum re-assigned, and necessarily stripped of much authority.

The Chargers: Coach Brandon Staley seems to be safe, given that the team made the playoffs. But there are deeper issues regarding perpetual injury problems that compel a closer look at the overall football operations, top to bottom and inside-out.

The Raiders: Changes would be made if owner Mark Davis could afford to make them, I believe. He either can’t or he won’t pay coach Josh McDaniels and/or G.M. Dave Ziegler to leave, after writing checks to Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock a year ago.

The Chiefs: Andy Reid turns 65 on March 19. He’s been with the Chiefs for 10 years. He’s been an NFL head coach for 24 straight seasons. If they win another Super Bowl, would he decide to walk away? It would be very tempting to stick around indefinitely, given the presence of Patrick Mahomes on the team. But it makes sense to keep an eye on the possibility that Reid will decide it’s time — especially if he can exit with Super Bowl win No. 2.

That’s it for the AFC. In a separate item, we’ll do the same thing in the NFC.

NFL 2022 Week 18 injury report roundup: Deebo Samuel set to play

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers
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The final week of the 2022 NFL regular season gets underway with a pair of games on Saturday and the remaining 28 teams will play on Sunday with the Lions and Packers putting a cap on the regular season on Sunday night.

The final injury reports for all of those games appear below.

Chiefs at Raiders (Saturday)

WR Skyy Moore (hand) is out for the Chiefs and K Harrison Butker (back), WR Mecole Hardman (pelvis), CB L'Jarius Sneed (hip), and G Joe Thuney (ankle) are all listed as questionable.

RB Josh Jacobs (hip, not injury related – personal matter) is questionable for the Raiders. LB Darien Butler (concussion) has been ruled out.

Titans at Jaguars (Saturday)

The Titans listed WR Treylon Burks (groin), LB Dylan Cole (ankle), CB Kristian Fulton (groin), S Amani Hooker (knee), and T Nicholas Petit-Frere (ankle) as questionable for Sunday. CB Davontae Harris (hamstring) has been ruled out.

DT Folorunso Fatukasi (ankle), S Rayshawn Jenkins (shoulder), QB Trevor Lawrence (toe), LS Ross Matiscik (back), G Brandon Scherff (abdomen, ankle), LB Travon Walker (ankle), and S Andrew Wingard (shoulder) all drew questionable tags on the final Jaguars injury report.

Jets at Dolphins

The Jets list QB Mike White (ribs) as questionable, but they’ve already said Joe Flacco will start. T Duane Brown (shoulder), CB Brandin Echols (quadricep), T George Fant (knee), G Nate Herbig (calf), and S Lamarcus Joyner (hip) are out. S Ashtyn Davis (ankle), G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee), TE C.J. Uzomah (ankle), and S Jordan Whitehead (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

QB Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) is out for the Dolphins and QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee, right finger) is questionable, so Skylar Thompson will start. T Terron Armstead (toe, pec, knee, hip), T Kendall Lamm (ankle), and WR Cedrick Wilson (hip) are all doubtful to play while LB Bradley Chubb (ankle, hand), CB Xavien Howard (knee), FB Alec Ingold (thumb), and S Eric Rowe (quadricep) are listed as questionable.

Buccaneers at Falcons

The Bucs have clinched the NFC South and they’ll be resting CB Carlton Davis (shoulder), LB Carl Nassib (pectoral), S Logan Ryan (knee), T Donovan Smith (foot), and DT Vita Vea (calf). CB Jamel Dean (toe), S Mike Edwards (hamstring, hip), and WR Julio Jones (knee, illness) are listed as questionable.

G Elijah Wilkinson (calf) is out for the Falcons.

Patriots at Bills

The Patriots listed CB Jonathan Jones (chest), WR Jakobi Meyers (shoulder), CB Jalen Mills (groin), S Brenden Schooler (hip), and TE Jonnu Smith (concussion) as questionable.

No Bills players have an injury designation.

Vikings at Bears

C Garrett Bradbury (back) and DT James Lynch (shoulder) won’t play for the Vikings. LB Brian Asamoah (knee), CB Cameron Dantzler (ankle), and DE Za'Darius Smith (not injury related – personal matter) are considered questionable for Sunday.

QB Justin Fields (hip), CB Jaylon Jones (concussion), and LB Sterling Weatherford (illness) are out for the Bears. DT Angelo Blackson (illness), CB Kyler Gordon (groin), and DE Terrell Lewis (not injury related – personal matter) are listed as questionable.

Ravens at Bengals

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (knee) will miss another game. DE Calais Campbell (not injury related – resting player, knee), QB Tyler Huntley (right shoulder, wrist), WR DeSean Jackson (illness), CB Marcus Peters (calf), CB Kevon Seymour (finger, illness), and CB Brandon Stephens (illness) are listed as questionable.

CB Eli Apple (neck) is questionable to play for the Bengals.

Texans at Colts

WR Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) and C Jimmy Morrissey (concussion) are out for the Texans. TE O.J. Howard (hip), CB Steven Nelson (illness), and DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (illness) are listed as questionable.

Colts QB Nick Foles (ribs) and TE Kylen Granson (ankle) will miss the finale. CB Brandon Facyson (concussion) and CB Stephon Gilmore (wrist) are considered questionable.

Panthers at Saints

The Panthers listed DE Brian Burns (ankle), RB D'Onta Foreman (knee), DT Matt Ioannidis (back), and LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) as questionable.

CB Paulson Adebo (hamstring) and G Andrus Peat (ankle) are out for the Saints. S Justin Evans (shoulder), TE Taysom Hill (back), T James Hurst (foot), TE Juwan Johnson (quadricep), S Marcus Maye (shoulder), T Ryan Ramczyk (not injury related – resting player, hip), and LB Ty Summers (oblique) drew questionable tags.

Browns at Steelers

T Jack Conklin (ankle) and DE Isaiah Thomas (foot) are out for the Browns. CB Denzel Ward (shoulder) is their lone questionable player.

Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick (ankle) and LB Myles Jack (groin) are tagged as questionable. S Tre Norwood (hamstring) is out this weekend.

Giants at Eagles

LB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) and DT Leonard Williams (neck) are out for the Giants while CB Adoree' Jackson (knee) is listed as doubtful. C Jon Feliciano (back) is questionable.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is trending in the right direction, but he’s officially considered questionable to play. LB Shaun Bradley (wrist), T Lane Johnson (groin), CB Avonte Maddox (toe), DE Janarius Robinson (ankle), and DE Josh Sweat (neck) are all out.

Cowboys at Commanders

C Tyler Biadasz (ankle) and LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) won’t play for the Cowboys. WR Kavontae Turpin (illness) drew the only questionable tag.

The Commanders ruled out DT Jonathan Allen (knee), T Saahdiq Charles (concussion), T Cornelius Lucas (ankle), RB Brian Robinson (knee), DE James Smith-Williams (concussion), and CB Benjamin St-Juste (ankle). S Kam Curl (ankle), LB Jamin Davis (knee), LB Nathan Gerry (illness), and G Andrew Norwell (hip) were listed as questionable and the team intimated they may also sit out.

Chargers at Broncos

FB Zander Horvath (ankle) is out for the Chargers.

Broncos T Calvin Anderson (ankle), WR Kendall Hinton (chest, foot), and DT D.J. Jones (knee) are going to miss the game. DE Jonathan Kongbo (illness), CB Damarri Mathis (concussion), TE Eric Saubert (knee), TE Eric Tomlinson (ankle), and T Billy Turner (back) are listed as questionable.

Cardinals at 49ers

The Cardinals ruled DE Zach Allen (hand), WR Robby Anderson (back), LB Zaven Collins (calf), RB James Conner (knee, shin), CB Antonio Hamilton (hip), WR DeAndre Hopkins (knee), QB Colt McCoy (concussion), and CB Marco Wilson (neck) out for the finale. LB Victor Dimukeje (illness), DT Leki Fotu (shoulder), CB Josh Jackson (hamstring), and LB Tanner Vallejo (knee, wrist) make up their questionable group.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo (foot), DL Kevin Givens (knee), CB Ambry Thomas (ankle), OL Aaron Banks (ankle, knee), and LB Dre Greenlaw are out for the 49ers, but WR Deebo Samuel (knee, ankle) is set to return. DL Arik Armstead (illness, foot, ankle) and DT Javon Kinlaw (illness, knee) are listed as questionable.

Rams at Seahawks

C Brian Allen (calf), DT Aaron Donald (ankle), S Nick Scott (shoulder), and WR Ben Skowronek (calf) have been ruled out for the Rams.

The Seahawks listed RB Travis Homer (ankle) as doubtful. G Phil Haynes (ankle), DE Quinton Jefferson (illness), G Damien Lewis (ankle), WR Tyler Lockett (shin), and S Ryan Neal (knee) are listed as questionable.

Lions at Packers

DE Michael Brockers (ankle), FB Jason Cabinda (knee), S DeShon Elliott (shoulder), CB Jeff Okudah (elbow), and C Frank Ragnow (foot) are questionable to be in the Lions lineup.

TE Josiah Deguara (calf) is the only Packer with an injury designation and he’s been listed as questionable.

PFT’s NFL Week 18 2022 picks

Los Angeles Rams v Kansas City Chiefs
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The final week of the regular season is here. And it’s over.

It’s been over for a while, really. But with my 10-game lead intact after Week 17 (we split on four games) and without 10 disagreements this week, it’s formally a clinch.

We were both 11-4 last week. For the year, I’m 167-86-2. MDS is 157-96-2.

This week, we disagree on only one game. For all picks, keep scrolling.


Chiefs (-9.5) at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Chiefs will take care of business in a game they need to win to stay in the lead for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 27, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have been sleepwalking of late, but they’ll stumble their way to the No. 1 seed and whatever that ultimately will entail.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Raiders 24.


Titans (+6.5) at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Titans don’t look like anything remotely resembling a playoff team right now. The Jaguars will win the AFC South championship game.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 28, Titans 13.

Florio’s take: A year ago, the Jaguars kept the Colts out in Week 18. Now, Jacksonville simply needs a victory in order to land in the playoffs.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 24, Titans 16.


Buccaneers (+4) at Falcons

MDS’s take: I doubt the Buccaneers’ top players will play more than a series or two.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 20, Buccaneers 9.

Florio’s take: Tom Brady has never lost to the Falcons. And he wouldn’t lose to them this weekend, if his coach let him play the entire game.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 21.


Patriots (+7) at Bills

MDS’s take: No one could possibly guess how the Bills will play after the week they’ve been through, but I suspect they’ll rally and play well.

MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Patriots 17.

Florio’s take: I feel sorry for anyone who will be facing the Bills for the rest of the season.

Florio’s pick: Bills 31, Patriots 20.


Vikings (-7) at Bears

MDS’s take: With Nathan Peterman as starting quarterback, the Bears’ offense is going to be ugly.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 21, Bears 3.

Florio’s take: The Vikings need a confidence builder as they prepare to inevitably lose by 30 or more points in the divisional round.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 13.


Ravens (+7) at Bengals

MDS’s take: With Lamar Jackson still injured, it’s tough to see the Ravens competing.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take: A coin flip won’t be needed.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 34, Ravens 20.


Texans (+2.5) at Colts

MDS’s take: The Texans just need to lose to earn the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Lovie Smith has faced this situation before as head coach of the Buccaneers, and he did what it took to lose that game. He’ll do it again.

MDS’s pick: Colts 23, Texans 16.

Florio’s take: Tanks for nothing? Tanks for everything.

Florio’s pick: Colts 9, Texans 6.


Jets (-1) at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins may be down to their third-string quarterback, but with a playoff berth possibly on the line, they’ll take care of business.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 17.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins should sign Joe Flacco next year as gratitude for delivering their playoff berth in 2022.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 23, Jets 20.


Panthers (+3.5) at Saints

MDS’s take: Neither team has anything to play for, but the Saints looked last week like a team that wants to finish strong.

MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Panthers 14.

Florio’s take: In a game of two teams who have nothing to play for, take the home team.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Panthers 20.


Browns (+2.5) at Steelers

MDS’s take: After they were 2-6 at the bye, the Steelers will win this game to finish the season with a winning record, an impressive turnaround.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: There’s no way the Steelers won’t finish 9-8, now that they’ve scratched and clawed their way back to .500.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 17, Browns 14.


Chargers (+1.5) at Broncos

MDS’s take: I don’t think the Chargers will be playing to win, as they’d rather be healthy for the wild card round.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 16, Chargers 13.

Florio’s take: The Chargers likely will have nothing to play for by the time their game starts. Even then, the Broncos may not be able to cap another lost season with a win.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 20, Chargers 19.


Giants (+14) at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles have the No. 1 seed to play for. The Giants, locked into the No. 6 seed, have nothing to play for.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Giants 13.

Florio’s take: The 2007 Giants played hard in a meaningless final game. The 2022 Giants, given the spread, apparently won’t be.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Giants 17.


Cardinals (+14) at 49ers

MDS’s take: The 49ers are heading into the postseason looking like a tough team to beat, and they’ll handle the Cardinals without much trouble.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Cardinals 20.

Florio’s take: After nearly losing to the Raiders, the 49ers will want to re-establish themselves before the playoffs start.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 38, Cardinals 13.


Rams (+6) at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Seahawks are still in wild card contention, and they’re going to handle their half of the job with a win over the Rams.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 21, Rams 14.

Florio’s take: Between Bobby Wagner returning to Seattle, Baker Mayfield making a closing argument for a starting job, and Sean McVay possibly eyeing a ticket to TV, the Rams pull the upset against a Seattle team that seems miffed by not having Lions-Packers play at the same time.

Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Seahawks 20.


Cowboys (-7) at Commanders

MDS’s take: The Commanders are throwing rookie quarterback Sam Howell out there for the first time, and the result won’t be pretty.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Commanders 7.

Florio’s take: If Dallas can’t dominate the also-rans, what will the Cowboys do against the best teams?

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Commanders 13.


Lions (+4.5) at Packers

MDS’s take: The Packers need to win to get into the playoffs. They’ll do it.

MDS’s pick: Packers 35, Lions 28.

Florio’s take: The Packers will be dangerous as a nothing-to-lose, no-pressure seventh seed. First, they have to withstand the everything-to-lose proposition of a win-and-in finale.

Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Lions 23.

AFC playoff picture: Patriots, Jaguars, Titans win and in, Steelers and Dolphins need help

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans
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Two playoff teams in the AFC are still to be determined heading into Week 18.

The simple explanation: If the Patriots beat the Bills on Sunday, New England is the final AFC wild card team. And the winner of Saturday’s Jaguars-Titans game wins the AFC South. Meanwhile, the Dolphins and Steelers can still make the playoffs, but they need help.

Here’s how the playoff picture looks heading into Monday night of Week 17:

CURRENTLY IN
1. Chiefs (13-3) If they beat the Raiders on Saturday and the Bills lose once, the Chiefs are the AFC No. 1 seed.

2. Bills (12-3) If they win their last two games, the Bills are the AFC No. 1 seed.

3. Bengals (11-4) If they win their last two games and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders on Saturday, the Bengals are the AFC No. 1 seed.

4. Jaguars (8-8) If they beat the Titans on Saturday, the Jaguars win the AFC South. If the Jaguars lose on Saturday, they can still get a wild card but need help from the Patriots, Dolphins and Steelers all losing on Sunday.

5. Chargers (10-6) Locked into a wild card, can be either the No. 5 seed or the No. 6 seed.

6. Ravens (10-6) If the Bengals lose tonight, and the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday, the Ravens are AFC North champions. Otherwise the Ravens are a wild card.

7. Patriots (8-8) If they beat the Bills on Sunday, the Patriots are a wild card.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
8. Dolphins (8-8) If the Dolphins beat the Jets on Sunday and the Bills beat the Patriots, the Dolphins will be the final wild card.

9. Steelers (8-8) If the Steelers beat the Browns on Sunday and the Dolphins and Patriots both lose, the Steelers will be the final wild card.

11. Titans (7-9) If they beat the Jaguars on Saturday, the Titans win the AFC South. If they lose or tie to the Jaguars, the Titans are eliminated from the playoffs.

NO CHANCE OF GETTING IN
10. Jets (7-9) Mathematically eliminated.

12. Browns (7-9) Mathematically eliminated.

13. Raiders (6-10) Mathematically eliminated.

14. Colts (4-11-1) Mathematically eliminated.

15. Broncos (4-12) Mathematically eliminated.

16. Texans (2-13-1) Mathematically eliminated.

NFL Week 18 playoff picture: Packers, Seahawks, Lions vying for final NFC wild card

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions
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We know six of the seven NFC playoff teams. The seventh will be determined on the final day of the season.

The Packers, Seahawks and Lions are all still alive for the final wild card spot in the NFC. The Packers are favored, needing only to beat the Lions at home, while the Seahawks need to win and see the Packers lose, and the Lions need to win and see the Seahawks lose.

Here’s where the NFC playoff race stands with one week to go:

CURRENTLY IN
1. Eagles (13-3) On a two-game losing streak, but still only need to beat the Giants in the season finale to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

2. 49ers (12-4) Will have the No. 1 seed in the NFC if they win their finale and the Eagles lose.

3. Vikings (12-4) Will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NFC.

4. Buccaneers (8-8) Will be the No. 4 seed in the NFC.

5. Cowboys (12-4) Will win the NFC East if they win their finale and the Eagles lose. Will be the No. 1 seed if they win and both the Eagles and 49ers lose.

6. Giants (9-6-1) Will be the No. 6 seed in the NFC.

7. Seahawks (8-8) Currently own the tiebreaker at 8-8, but could still lose a tiebreaker to the Packers at 9-8. They win a tiebreaker with the Lions at 9-8.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
8. Lions (8-8) Currently own the tiebreaker over the Packers, but it all comes down to their meeting next week at Lambeau Field.

9. Packers (8-8) Just need to beat the Lions in the finale and they’re in the playoffs.

NO CHANCE OF GETTING IN
10. Commanders (7-8-1) Mathematically eliminated.

11. Saints (7-9) Mathematically eliminated.

12. Panthers (6-10) Mathematically eliminated.

13. Falcons (6-10) Mathematically eliminated.

14. Rams (5-11) Mathematically eliminated.

15. Cardinals (4-12) Mathematically eliminated.

16. Bears (3-13) Mathematically eliminated.

NFL overtime rules and procedures

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When a NFL game ends in a tie, the game continues with overtime.

Overtime commences with a coin toss. The visiting team captain calls the toss. The winner of the toss can choose whether to receive the kick or to kick off, or the team winning the toss can choose which goal to defend.

If the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on the kickoff return or the ensuing possession, the game is over and that team has won the game. There is no one- or two-point conversion attempt.

If the team that receives the opening kickoff does not score a touchdown or a field goal on its initial possession, the next team to score wins the game.

If the team that receives the opening kickoff is tackled in the end zone for a safety, the game is over and the second team has won the game.

If the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a field goal on the initial possession, the second team receives an opportunity to possess the ball.

If after the first team scores a field goal the second team scores a touchdown, the game is over and the second team has won the game. There is no one- or two-point conversion attempt.

If after the first team scores a field goal the second team scores a field goal, the next team to score wins the game.

If after the first team scores a field goal the second team fails to score during its possession, the game is over and the first team has won.

If after the first team scores a field goal the second team loses possession by interception or fumble, the play continues until its conclusion. For example, the first team can return the ball for a touchdown, winning by nine points. Or the first team can lose possession during the return, the second team can recover the ball, and the second team can return it for a touchdown, winning the game.

Possession means simply an opportunity to possess the ball. An onside kick or a muffed kickoff recovery or a live ball recovered by the kicking team constitutes an opportunity to possess.

In the regular season, overtime continues for up to 10 minutes of clock time. If the game remains tied after the extra 10 minutes, the game ends in a tie. Both teams have two time outs, and the two-minute warning applies.

In the postseason, the initial overtime period proceeds for 15 minutes. If the game remains tied after the initial 15-minute period, another 15-minute period begins, and so on until the game ends.

After a second 15-minute overtime period, the third period begins like the third quarter of a normal game, with a new kickoff. Both teams have three time outs for each two quarters of postseason overtime.

NFL 2022 Week 17 early inactives: Bradley Chubb, Xavien Howard, Terron Armstead out

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills
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Every week we bring you all the inactives from the 1 p.m. ET games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information.

The Dolphins had several key players listed as questionable on Friday and they’ll be missing most of them against the Patriots on Sunday. Edge rusher Bradley Chubb (hand), cornerback Xavien Howard (knee), and left tackle Terron Armstead (toe, pec, knee, hip) are all inactive for the matchup of AFC East teams vying for the postseason.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was previously ruled out for Miami, so Teddy Bridgewater will be making his second start of the season.

The Patriots will also be down a member of their questionable contingent. Cornerback Jalen Mills (groin) is out and New England will also be without Marcus Jones and Jack Jones in the secondary.

Dolphins at Patriots 

Dolphins: EDGE Bradley Chubb, CB Xavien Howard, T Terron Armstead, QB Tua Tagovailoa, T Eric Fisher, WR Erik Ezukanma, WR Tanner Conner

Patriots: CB Marcus Jones, CB Jalen Mills, WR DeVante Parker, TE Jonnu Smith, CB Shaun Wade, RB Kevin Harris, DT Sam Roberts

Panthers at Buccaneers

Panthers: CB Jaycee Horn, WR Rashard Higgins, S Juston Burris, C Sam Tecklenburg, T Larnel Coleman, DE Amare Barno

Buccaneers: TE Cameron Brate, CB Carlton Davis, LB Carl Nassib, WR Breshad Perriman, QB Kyle Trask

Cardinals at Falcons

Cardinals: WR DeAndre Hopkins, QB Colt McCoy, CB Marco Wilson, CB Antonio Hamilton, LB Victor Dimukeje, OL Rashaad Coward, DL Zach Allen

Falcons: G Elijah Wilkinson, TE Feleipe Franks, CB Rashad Fenton, S Micah Abernathy, LB David Anenih, DL Matt Dickerson

Bears at Lions

Bears: QB Tim Boyle, DB Breon Borders, RB Darrynton Evans, DB Michael Ojemudia, LB Sterling Weatherford, G Ja'Tyre Carter, OL Alex Leatherwood

Lions: S DeShon Elliott, RB Justin Jackson, G Kayode Awosika, DL Michael Brockers, DL Austin Bryant, G Ross Pierschbacher

Jaguars at Texans

Jaguars: WR Kendrick Pryor, CB Tevaughn Campbell, CB Montaric Brown, LB De'Shaan Dixon, DL Jeremiah Ledbetter

Texans: QB Kyle Allen, DB Jacobi Francis, C Jimmy Morrissey, DL Thomas Booker, TE Teagan Quitoriano

Broncos at Chiefs

Broncos: LB Baron Browning, DL D.J. Jones, WR Montrell Washington, RB Tyler Badie, WR Freddie Swain, T Calvin Anderson, QB Jarrett Guarantano

Chiefs: QB Shane Buechele, DE Joshua Kaindoh, T Geron Christian, T Darian Kinnard, DE Malik Herring

Colts at Giants

Colts: QB Matt Ryan, WR Ashton Dulin, CB Kenny Moore, LB Cameron McGrone, C Wesley French, TE Kylen Granson, DT Eric Johnson

Giants: CB Adoree’ Jackson, S Dane Belton, CB Rodarius Williams, LB Jarrad Davis, G Wyatt Davis, G Jack Anderson, TE Lawrence Cager

Saints at Eagles

Saints: WR Marquez Callaway, DB Justin Evans, LB Chase Hansen, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, S Marcus Maye, G Andrus Peat, RB Dwayne Washington

Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, RB Trey Sermon, G Sua Opeta, DE Janarius Robinson, T Lane Johnson, CB Avonte Maddox

Browns at Commanders

Browns: QB Kellen Mond, RB Demetric Felton, CB Thomas Graham, DT Ben Stille, DE Isaiah Thomas, T Chris Hubbard, DT Tommy Togiai

Commanders: RB Antonio Gibson, S Kam Curl, CB Benjamin St-Juste, OL Saahdiq Charles, DE James Smith-Williams, QB Sam Howell, OL Chris Paul