PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS AND MOTIVATIONS

NFC

1. Panthers – Must win to lock up No. 1 seed and home field throughout playoffs. All out.
2. Cardinals – Can secure No. 1 seed and home field throughout playoffs with a win and Panthers loss. Should be all out all game unless Panthers are blowing out Bucs.
3. Packers – Must win to secure the NFC North and a home game in the Wild Card Round. All out.
4. Redskins – Locked into No. 4 seed. Serious candidate to rest starters for all or most of game.
5. Vikings – Must win to secure the NFC North and a home game in the Wild Card Round. All out.
6. Seahawks – Can only move up to the No. 5 seed with a win. Serious candidate to rest starters for all or most of game.

AFC

1. Patriots – Must win to lock up No. 1 seed and home field throughout playoffs. All out.
2. Broncos – Must win to ensure first-round bye. Can also move into No. 1 seed with a win and Patriots loss. All out.
3. Bengals – Can secure a bye with a win and a Broncos loss. Since they play at 1pm and Denver plays at 4pm, they’ll be all out for entire game.
4. Texans – Almost certainly locked into No. 4 seed even with a loss. But it’s not official yet, so should be all out.
5. Chiefs – Must win and get a Denver loss to secure the AFC West and a home game in the Wild Card Round. If not, they’ll be on the road. All out.
6. Jets – Must beat the Bills to secure a playoff berth. All out.
7. Steelers – Must win and get a Jets loss to secure a playoff berth. All out.
8. Colts – On paper, Colts still have a chance to make playoffs. In reality, they need a win and eight other outcomes to go their way Sunday. Regardless, they should be all out.

FANTASY NOTES:

  • As discussed earlier this week, the Redskins have some productive backups. If Kirk Cousins, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and/or Jordan Reed are rested, there will be value in Colt McCoy, Rashad Ross and Ryan Grant.
  • We need to be careful with Seattle players. Not only do they have a very difficult matchup at a motivated Arizona team, but the starters may be rested. Note Doug Baldwin has been nursing a hamstring issue for a couple weeks.
  • The Bills can’t make the playoffs, but they should be highly motivated. Coach Rex Ryan would like nothing more than to keep his old team out of the playoffs. Note this is only a 3-point spread with a low 42.5 total.