We have finally reached the last round of the 2017-18 NFL season. It has been a great regular season full of thrilling games and we are hoping to get a few more this weekend with some really interesting playoff races still alive in the AFC. We take a look at some of the key games in Week 17 and give our tips below.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (Monday 5am AEDT)
The Ravens currently sit 5th in the AFC and hold their fate in their own hands, needing only to win to secure a playoffs berth. They host the Bengals in a game where they will be heavily favoured due to Cincinnati having already been eliminated from the playoff race. The Bengals made a mid season push to challenge for playoffs but ultimately couldn’t compete with what ended up being a tough AFC.
Cincinnati have some injury concerns moving into the offseason, with Vontaze Burfict, Joe Mixon, George Iloka and Clayton Fejedelem all leaving the field in the Bengals clash against the Lions last week. Cinci have nothing to play for here so it’s likely that all four, plus anyone else with the slightest niggles will be sat for the final game of the season.
The Bengals have scored just 40 points in their last three games, and that is including a decent 26 point outing against the Lions last weekend. Baltimore boast one of the better defences in the league, and with so many players missing for the Bengals, we think they struggle to put up big numbers here, back the under on total points.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (Monday 5am AEDT)
The Jaguars might be locked into their playoffs seeding at third in the AFC but head coach Doug Marrone has stated he wont rest his starters in an attempt to keep them fresh for the playoffs. It’s bad news for the Titans, who need to win clinch a playoff berth.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers snuffed out any hopes the Jaguars might have had of securing a 1st round AFC bye last weekend, beating Jacksonville 44-33 in San Francisco.
Usually we would have the Titans taking out this game at home, given the Jaguars have nothing to play for. However, coach Marrone’s statements that the Jaguars are 100% invested in winning this game are worrying. It should be a slugfest here as the Jaguars boast one of the best defences in the league and the Titans are playing for their lives, we like the under again.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (Monday 5am AEDT)
Another AFC clash with massive playoff connotations is the East Division battle between the Bills and Dolphins. The Bills will need to win and also need one or more of the Ravens, Chargers or Titans to lose their respective games. While it might seem like a long shot, winning this game against a Dolphins team that has been rubbish over the last few weeks will be their only chance.
The Dolphins have scored just 29 points in their last two games, both losses to the Bills and Chiefs respectively. It was a great all round performance by the Bills in Week 15, defeating the Dolphins 24-16 as they rushed for over 100 yards and passed for over 200.
The Bills were actually really competitive against the Patriots in the first half last weekend, before letting it slip away to end up losing 37-16. If they bring any of the same intensity to this week’s game against a Dolphins team that has nothing to play for, they should be able to cover the low 3 point line.
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