5 things: The final games of the NFL regular season
Buffalo, New York
Here are five things to watch as the NFL enters the final weekend of the regular season.
The massive support for Damar Hamlin will be even greater as the final games of the regular season begin.
There may be some uncertainty, doubt and fear about players taking the field for the first time since the Buffalo Bills quarterback suffered a life-threatening injury in his game earlier this week. There will be plenty of visible emotion, and signs of injury will be breathless.
However, Bills coach Sean McDermott says this weekend’s games will be “a celebration of life” because Hamlin has shown signs of continued improvement. NFL players and fans alike will see his #3 highlighted in Buffalo Bills Blue or Red on the 30 yard lines in stadiums across the country. Players will wear “Love for Damar 3” shirts before the game, and Bills players will also have a #3 patch on them. elastic games.
Top of the Conference Struggle: We can witness history. For the first time, a conference title game is being played by a neutral site.
The Buffalo Bills game with the Cincinnati Bengals won’t be over when Hamlin was injured. This means that both teams will finish the regular season with one less playoff game than the other teams, affecting their ability to secure home field advantage should they advance to the AFC Championship game. So if either team makes it to the title game, depending on the circumstances, we could see the title game played at a neutral venue. The Kansas City Chiefs are atop the conference at 13-3. Bills 12-3 and Bengals 11-4.
To enter Scratching: The New England Patriots are in the driver’s seat for the final wild card spot in the AFC. If they beat the Bills, the Patriots are in, but they’ll have to do it on a very emotional day in Buffalo. A loss would give the Miami Dolphins first crack at last place with a home win over the New York Jets.
If the Patriots and Dolphins fall, the Pittsburgh Steelers would move up to the 7th and final spot if they beat the Cleveland Browns at home. That would mean head coach Mike Tomlin would not have a losing season for the first time in his 16-year career.
The AFC South title is on the line Saturday night in Jacksonville. The red-hot Jaguars host the sensational Tennessee Titans. The winner gets the 4th seed and will play in the first round playoff next week.
The Philadelphia Eagles are hoping that the third time will be the charm to claim the top seed in the NFC East and the NFC playoffs. To do so, they must beat or tie a New York Giants team that has already earned the No. 6 seed and will start the playoffs on the road. If the Eagles fall again, the Dallas Cowboys will take the NFC East crown with a win over the Washington Commanders and the Eagles would advance to a Wild Card.
The 7th and final spot is a race between the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. The Packers and Lions play each other Sunday night at Lambeau Field. For Green Bay, it’s simple: win and you’re in. The Lions and Seahawks both need a win and some help to get into the postseason party.
The end of each season means players have one last chance to get their names in the record books. Let’s start with the QB.
Patrick Mahomes needs 430 yards to break the single-season passing record of 5,477 set by Peyton Manning in 2013.
Tom Brady needs just one more completion to break the single-season record of 485 completions set in 2021 by…Tom Brady. Surprise!
Justin Jefferson needs 194 receiving yards to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season rushing record of 1,964 in 2012. The Minnesota Vikings star has surpassed the mark once this season, in Week 4 against the Lions.
Ryan Stonehouse has a chance to be the best single season punter of all time. The Titans star could break the 51.4-yard rushing average in a season set by Sammy Baugh in 1940. Stonehouse’s current average is 53 yards.
The last game of the regular season is huge not just for players on playoff teams, but for players who can make large amounts of money in incentives, sometimes with just one catch. Here are some of those players according to fantasy football and sports betting analyst Sal Vetri.
Christian Kirk needs two catches to get the $500,000 bonus, and 91 yards to trigger the $500,000 bonus.
Zay Jones needs two catches for a $250,000 bonus, and 98 yards for a $500,000 bonus.
Za’Darius Smith needs a sack to earn $750,000.
Preston Smith needs 1.5 sacks to earn $1 million
Tyler Higbee needs 13 yards to get the $500,000 bonus.
Gerald Everett needs five catches to collect $250,000.
Everett had 5+ catches in 50% of his games.
Jamaal Williams needs six yards to hit 1,000, which would earn him a $250,000 bonus.
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