With the NFL adding an extra week onto the end of the season, some teams have already managed to seal their fate well before the season is actually over. This is a quick breakdown of which teams still have something to play for plus any notes from coaches or reporters on starters possibly sitting.
Eliminated from playoff contention: HOU, CLE, ARI, ATL, CHI, DEN, IND, and LAR
No one in this group has announced that any starters will sit, though we can expect these teams to be cautious with their banged-up players. Some starters could take a seat in Week 18.
Extremely unlikely: PIT, NO, and LV
All three teams are still mathematically alive. However, 538's model gives these teams no greater than a three percent chance of making the postseason. The Raiders are so out on the 2022 season that they have benched Derek Carr, likely with the intention of keeping him healthy to cut or trade him early next year. Head coach Josh McDaniels mentioned some veterans taking a step back when he announced Carr's demotion. He didn't get into specifics, but this is a situation to monitor.
Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.
In contention: NYJ, GB, DET, TEN, SEA, NE, WAS, MIA, NYG, CAR, TB, and JAX
The Jaguars and Titans face off in Week 18 with the AFC South title and a guaranteed playoff berth on the line. This makes Week 17 nearly meaningless for both teams. The Titans have already listed Derrick Henry as doubtful despite him practicing this week. Doug Pederson has said he won't rest his starters in Week 17. A win does give the Jaguars a small out to a wild card bid even if they lose to Tennessee, so we can assume Pederson is being honest.
The Giants cannot win the NFC East but currently have a 91 percent chance to make the playoffs. That number only drops to 73 percent with a pair of losses to close out the year. They won't be resting any starters this week, but expect them to be cautious should any of their players get banged up.
Clinched the playoffs: LAC, BAL, SF, MIN, DAL, CIN, KC, BUF, and PHI
The Eagles need one win in their final two games to secure the first-round bye in the NFC. They could even get in with a pair of losses and some help. With Jalen Hurts missing practice on Wednesday, it looks like they will give Gardner Minshew another chance to earn them the bye. If he does, Hurts will sit in Week 18. The Vikings and the 49ers are the squads lurking in search of the bye. Both teams have a two-percent shot at getting the Wild Card Round off and will play their starters until that reaches zero.
Dallas has a remote chance of securing the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They need to handle their business over the next two weeks and for the Eagles to drop both of their remaining games. Even then, they could still be in a three-team runoff for the bye. Because of how many things need to break their way, the Cowboys will be cautious with their players. That includes Tony Pollard, who did not practice this week and is listed as questionable with a hip issue.
The Bills and the Chiefs have nearly narrowed the AFC to a two-horse race for the bye, though the Bengals still have an outside shot. Like in the NFC, expect all three teams to keep trying until the No. 1 seed is officially decided.
Everyone else in both divisions is simply jostling for home-field advantage scenarios. Don't expect many starters to sit this week, but Week 18 will be a different story.
It’s NFL season and that means you’ve got a chance at $100,000 with Sunday Night 7. Predict what will happen on Sunday Night Football and watch along to see if you’ll be the next big winner. Click here to get started with the NBC Sports Predictor app.