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Bet on 2019 NFL Week 17
Any division winner and conference playoff spot that hasn’t been decided by Week 17 of the NFL regular season will be by the time the games end on Sunday. All 32 teams will take the field on Sunday with 20 doing so for the final time in 2019. There currently is no game scheduled for Sunday Night Football, but the league and broadcast partner NBC can flex a game into the evening timeslot. With 16 divisional matchups on the slate, there is sure to be at least one ‘Winner Take All’ matchup that will have NBC salivating.
That was the case last season when the Colts and Titans hooked up on Sunday Night Football for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. Andrew Luck continued his mastery over Tennessee directing a 33-17 romp that got Indy into the postseason ending a three-year drought. The Colts also proved that it’s not how you start rather it’s how you finish a season. Following a 1-5 beginning, the Colts won nine of their final 10 games under rookie head coach Frank Reich.
Given the parity that the league has strived to achieve exists in today’s NFL, it’s highly probable that we have at least one game worthy of being flexed to the Sunday night slot, and a game with its outcome having a direct impact on the playoff situation is what the league is looking for. The NFL can’t have the Sunday night game hurt the competitive balance of earlier games, or the early contests hurt the competitiveness of the late one.
For instance, a team that clinched a playoff spot with another team losing earlier in the day could decide to rest players. And if that happens we have a competitive imbalance. That hurts the integrity of the league and also affects ratings, and that’s not what the league is looking for. There was a situation at the end of the 2009 season when Cincinnati thought it would need a win to clinch the AFC North and the New York Jets needed a victory to reach the playoffs. The Bengals actually clinched before the game and didn’t put up much of a fight. The Jets cruised to a 37-0 win to tie with three other teams at 9-7 and won the tie-breaker to claim a wild-card spot.
Two years ago the Los Angeles Rams had clinched the NFC West title heading into the final weekend and coach Sean McVay elected to rest a majority of his starters. The Rams lost that game and didn’t put up much of a fight in their wild-card tilt with Atlanta the following week. There is a risk/reward in that situation and that’s why coaches make the big bucks to make the decision.
Every division except the West in each conference will be decided with the outcomes of the 13 games in the early window. The NFC West will be in action in the late afternoon with the Rams hosting the Arizona Cardinals and the Seahawks entertaining San Francisco. We could also be witnessing the final game for the Oakland Raiders, who have their bags packed for Las Vegas for the start of the 2020 campaign. We thought that was the case in 1981 when the team moved south to Los Angeles after that season only to return to the Bay Area 14 years later. The Raiders and Broncos close the year from Mile High Stadium.
NFL Week 17 Betting Schedule - December 29
NFL Regular Season Schedule
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