Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Preview And Where To Watch Online: Peterson Running For Dickerson's Title And Playoff Berth
The Green Pack (11-4) can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory over the Minnesota Vikings (9-6). But most neutrals will be tuning in to see whether Vikings’ half-back, Adrian Peterson can eclipse Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing yardage record. If he does, chances are he’ll have helped the VIkings clinch a playoff berth as well. The Vikings control their post-season destiny. Win and they’re in. A loss does not mean they are out but they’ll need a few other results to go their way. (Chicago, Dallas and the New York Giants must stumble). Peterson is largely what the game will come down to. If the Vikings can get Peterson going early, control the clock and keep Green Bay quarterback, Aaron Rodgers off the field, they stand a good chance of winning. Green Bay’s defence will have their hands full containing Peterson. It will require more than just the front seven playing at their best.
You want to watch this game? You must be a serious fanatic or a masochist. Or both. Even NFL.com is struggling to find reasons to watch. It says the fate of Browns head coach, Pat Shurmur and quarterback, Brandon Weeden hang in the balance. But multiple reports say Shurmur is already out the door. With a new owner and new GM, that does seem quite likely and any new head coach is probably going to want their own quarterback too, spelling the end of the short-lived Weeden era. (Incidentally it is quite a Browns thing to do - draft a rookie quarterback that is already approaching 30 with a first-round pick. Even if he did turn out to be legitimately good, he’s only going to have half a typical career.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Preview And Where To Watch Online: How Important Is The Return of Chuck Pagano?
The Houston Texans (12-3) heading to Indianapolis to take on the Colts (10-5) may be the best game in week 17. The Texans are sputtering with two bad losses sandwiching a victory over the self-same Colts over the last three weeks. Meanwhile the Colts will be playing under head coach, Chuck Pagano for the first time since he was diagnosed with leukaemia about three months ago. It remains to be seen how much involvement Pagano will have. Chances are - given his weak condition and the success interim head coach, Bruce Arians has had in his absence - Pagano will play more of a figurehead role this week. Other than Pagano’s return the Colts do not have a whole lot to play for, with their post-season seeding already sealed. Still they’d like to play spoiler to the Texans’ attempt to become the AFC’s top seed. This season the Colts are 9-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Preview And Where To Watch Online: A Batle of Desperate Rivals
The Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) come into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (7-7) in what may be the most important match-up of the week. Giants-Ravens and 49ers-Seahawks will give the game a run for its money, but on paper, the idea of two bitter divisional rivals battling to eliminate each other from playoff contention wins out.
Of course that’s on paper. In reality the Steelers are sliding and desperately trying to hold on to the remnants of a season that has been devastated by injury and terrible play at essential points. Meanwhile the Bengals have gone hot then cold then hot again to be a shade above .500.
So this could be called the changing of the guard, the surging Bengals are replacing the ageing, floundering Steelers. But not so quick. The Bengals were unable to make much of an impact when they faced the Steelers earlier this year. Despite leading 14-3 at one point, the Bengals collapsed spectacularly and the Steelers walked away 24-17 victors.
The Houston Texans (11-2) were not able to overcome their underdog status last week, falling in a fairly horrible fashion to the New England Patriots. While the game certainly did not go the way they would have wanted, do not read too much into the defeat.
The Texans would have preferred winning but knew that a loss to the Patriots in this situation had little effect. Meanwhile the chances of seeing them again in the post-season were high. As a result, they played a fairly straightforward game, adding few wrinkles or surprises into their play-calling.