We have reached the final week of the 2021 NFL Regular Season. It has been a fun year full of surprises. This last week of the year consists of some crucial matchups for a few teams. In the AFC, two playoff spots are up for grabs. In the NFC, there is one playoff spot available between two teams. Here are the key aspects of each game.
You can find last week’s preview here.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
This is the first of two games scheduled for Saturday. The Chiefs need to take care of business in this game. Locking up the second seed in the AFC is important for them to play the last seed in the first round. Also, they would be able to play their second playoff game at home. Expect Patrick Mahomes to play his game and lead the Kansas City offense to a successful day, despite competing against a great Broncos defense. On the other side, the visitors’ defense must bounce back against a bad Broncos offense. The Chiefs will win this game by 10.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
This is the second game Saturday and it looks to be a great one between two NFC East teams. The Eagles remain one of the hottest teams in the league heading into the playoffs. For the Cowboys, bouncing back here will be critical for them. Dak Prescott and the talented skill position players the Cowboys have need to play up to their capability and score points. Defensively, Dallas must slow down Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ dynamic rushing attack. The battle in the trenches between these two fronts should be a good one. Former college teammates DeVonta Smith, and Trevon Diggs should be matched up a ton. This will be a close game that goes to the end. The Cowboys will win by a field goal.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
It will be interesting to see how the Packers approach this game considering their playoff status. Either way, they should still find a way to win. The Lions have done some good things of late, and it is important for their young players who are key to their future to finish the season strong. For the Packers, their offense should move the football efficiently. The Packers will win by around 10.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Colts have everything to play for and could not have asked for a better matchup. The Jaguars lost terribly a week ago and will be looking for their long season to be over. Jonathan Taylor has got to take control of this game for the Colts. Getting an early lead will be critical for them. Their defense should do enough against a struggling Jaguars offense. The Colts will win by two touchdowns and clinch a playoff berth.
Washington Football Team at New York Giants
This NFC East matchup consists of two disappointing teams with nothing to play for. The Giants have looked as bad as any team in the league. Their offense should not move the football much in this game. For Washington, expect their offense to do enough to win this game in a convincing fashion. The upcoming offseason will be important for each of these teams at key roles throughout their organization. Washington will win this game by at least 10.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Both teams in this NFC North matchup have underwhelmed this season. At home, the Vikings should win this one as they are also the better team. Their running game should have a successful day. In the passing game, expect a productive outing from Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson. The Bears’ offense against the Vikings’ defense is not a good matchup. Each unit has struggled throughout the year. In the end, the Vikings will win this one by two touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
The Titans have had a tremendous year and can get the top seed in the AFC with a road win here. Playing against the Texans should lead to them accomplishing their goal. Despite all their injuries, they are a physical football team. Their running game and dominant defensive front should take control of this matchup. A.J. Brown will make his usual impact in this one. The Titans’ secondary should have a solid game. Tennessee will win this one by at least 10.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
This matchup is one of the more intriguing ones of the week. Each team has had its relative struggles but still hold a slim chance at making the playoffs. The Ravens have had to overcome too many injuries, leading to five straight losses. However, they still have battled and kept most games close. For the Steelers, struggles offensively will likely continue and make this game tough. Najee Harris will have to be at his best. Defensively, T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward have to come up big. Pittsburgh will win by one possession.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
The Bengals did a great job winning the AFC North a week ago at home. Their season has been a fun one. They have a good chance to make a run in the playoffs. This week, Joe Burrow will not be starting as he will rest up. As a result, the Browns should finish the season with a win. Case Keenum is a capable veteran who should have a winning performance. The Browns running game will be important. This will be a one score game the Browns win.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
This game is one of the biggest scheduled for the final week. The 49ers need to win to make the playoffs. If they do not take care of business, they need to rely on some help. The Rams need to win this game to ensure a division title. Cooper Kupp will continue to lead the Rams offensively. On defense, expect the same from Aaron Donald. For the 49ers, their defense will have to generate pressure upfront. Regardless of who ends up playing quarterback for the 49ers, big games from Elijah Mitchell, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle will be needed. This will be a close game the Rams win by a field goal.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers do not have a ton to play for here but should still win convincingly with how bad the Panthers have been for a while. The Buccaneers’ defensive front will dominate against the Panthers’ offensive line. From there, it should help them take control of the game. Tom Brady will lead his offense to a good chunk of points to win this one. The Buccaneers will win by at least 10.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals deserve credit for last week. They did a great job of getting off of their cold streak winning against a credible opponent on the road. In this game, they should build on that. The Seahawks have had a disappointing season. Their defense will struggle to slow down the Arizona offense. Kyler Murray, Chase Edmonds, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, and Zach Ertz will be a challenge for them to slow down. The Cardinals will win by at least a touchdown.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
This game is a fairly interesting one. The Patriots clinched a playoff berth last week with an impressive win. For the first time in a while, the Dolphins lost and were eliminated from playoff contention. Neither team here necessarily has too much to play for. Still, expect the Patriots to play their starters and win this game. They will likely win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football. New England will win by a touchdown.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
This game is a huge one for the Saints. With the 49ers having a tough road matchup, they have a chance at making the playoffs. Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans defense will have to dictate this one for them to win. For the Falcons, they did an admirable job this season. In this one though, their defense could struggle to find answers for Kamara. This divisional game will be a tight one the Saints win by a touchdown.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
The Bills must win this game. Getting the division title would be crucial for them. The Jets have played relatively well as of late. For the Bills, relying on Devin Singletary on the ground again will be needed. Allowing their special defense to get a lead and play up to their potential would be ideal. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson building on his strong play to finish the season here against the best defense in the league would be great. The Bills will win this game by 10.
Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
A fantastic game to wrap up the regular season. The winner of this game makes the playoffs. Both teams have had their fair share of ups and downs throughout the season. In this one, expect Justin Herbert and Derek Carr to continue to lead their teams. The quality skill position talent on both teams in this one will make an impact, as well. Defensively, each team could struggle in this game. There is a good chance there will be a lot of scoring. This game will be a close one that the Chargers win by a field goal.
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