The 2017 NFL Season was filled with many peaks and valleys. The protest of the national anthem dominated national sports media for the first month and a half, Dallas Cowboys Running Back, Ezekiel Elliott, looming suspension was the talk of ESPN and Fox Sports 1, and injuries to NFL Superstars such as Odell Beckham Jr., David Johnson, JJ Watt, and Aaron Rodgers followed suit. However, this season featured some stellar rookie performances from players such as Kansas City Chiefs Running Back, Kareem Hunt, and the New Orleans Saints rookie duo of Alvin Kamara (Running Back) and Marshon Lattimore (Cornerback). Teams such as the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars went from NFL doormats to respective division leaders and the San Francisco 49ers seemed to have found their best quarterback since Steve Young in Jimmy Garoppolo. Unfortunately, after this weekend, the NFL season is going to come to an end for 20 NFL teams, but here at TUC Magazine we got you covered on what to look out for this weekend.
5. Who will top the NFL Stats Leaderboards ?
We here players say all the time “Oh I don’t play for stats, i’m all about wins and losses”. Although there maybe some hints of truth in that statement, many of us know that it’s all B.S. Stats are used as a negotiation tactic when it’s time to cash in on a new contract and it’s also used by General Managers to determine how much a player is worth in salary and to the team. This year features the closest statistical race heading to the final week of the NFL Season in quite some time. The NFL Passing Yardage and Rushing Yardage race are each within distance by less than 100 yds each. Also, with Antonio Brown (1,533 yds receiving in 14 games) out for the season, with a big game this upcoming Sunday, DeAndre Hopkins (1,376 yds) or Julio Jones (1,364 yds) could potentially top him on the receiving yardage list.
4. Will James Harrison suit up for the Patriots in Week 17 ?
It’s not every day that a 39 year old NFL veteran makes headlines for joining a new team. But when your a future Hall of Famer and a Pittsburgh Steelers legend joining the arch rival, New England Patriots, exceptions are made. James Harrison made waves this week after being cut this week by the Steelers and joining the rival Patriots. It is unknown if he will see playing time this week for the Patriots or be saved for the playoffs in a potential AFC Championship game rematch with the team he made a name for himself on, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
3. Will Jimmy Garoppolo remain undefeated as a starter ?
Jimmy Garoppolo has single handedly changed the culture in San Francisco. After taking over a 1-10 football team in week 13, the Jimmy Garoppolo led San Francisco 49ers are the best team in football with a 5-0 record which includes victories over the AFC South winning Jacksonville Jaguars and potential wildcard playoff team, Tennessee Titans. Garoppolo’s next test is a showdown with the NFC West Division Champions, Los Angeles Rams. It is rumored that LA Rams head coach, Sean McVay will rest his starters this week with the Division and playoff seeding already locked in. Therefore, it’s likely that Jimmy G will improve his record to 7-0 as a starter if you include his two starts last year with the Patriots.
2. Who will gain home-field advantage in the AFC and NFC ?
Home-field advantage means everything in Football. The NFL playoffs uses a round robin format, meaning that it is win or go home. For the Eagles, Vikings, Patriots, and Steelers, they each enter week 17 with the number one seed in the AFC (Patriots and Steelers) and NFC (Eagles and Vikings) on the line. Each team’s week 17 opponent come into the matchups with sub .500 records. If each team take care of business this week, the Patriots will remain the number one seed in the AFC due to their head to head win with the Steelers and the Eagles will remain the number one seed in the NFC due to their better overall conference record.
1. Who will claim the final 3 remaining playoff spots ?
The four o’clock hour of week 17 NFL games will be DRAMA FILLED ! The Seattle Seahawks (9-6) and current 6th seed, Atlanta Falcons (9-6) due to their win earlier in the season over the Seahawks will be jostling for the 6th and final playoff seed in the NFC and over in the AFC, the current 5th seeded Baltimore Ravens (9-6) and 6th seeded Tennessee Titans (8-7) will try to hold off the San Diego Chargers (8-7) and Buffalo Bills (8-7) by winning out their remaining game.