As we march into the last week of the 2020 NFL regular season, there are a ton of teams around the league that will be fighting for a spot in the playoffs. That happens to be the case for our first matchup as the battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns has plenty of playoff significance.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
Odds: Browns -6.5
The Steelers looked like they were heading for a fourth straight defeat last week as they trailed 24-7 in the third quarter. However, they ended up storming back and picking up a much-needed win over the Indianapolis Colts. They will need that same energy and success this weekend as they hope to stomp on the Browns playoff hopes with a win here. If Cleveland is able to win this game, they find themselves in the postseason for the first time since 2002. They can’t possibly blow this, can they?
The Browns received one piece of good news on Tuesday: Mason Rudolph will start at quarterback for the Steelers in Week 17. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin decided to give Ben Roethlisberger a week of rest before the playoffs start. While Roethlisberger’s surgically-repaired elbow appears to have held up throughout the regular season, he’s dealt with nagging injuries to both knees. Given that the team’s running game has been nonexistent over the second half of the season, the 12-3 Steelers will rely heavily on Roethlisberger in its playoff run.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Odds: Bills -2.5
The Miami Dolphins are going to be playing their hearts out this week as they also battle for their playoff lives. A win against their division rivals this weekend could bring this team to the playoffs. We will get the opportunity to see Tua Tagovailoa battle it out against potential MVP candidate Josh Allen as the Bills enter on a five-game winning streak.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Odds: Cowboys -2.5
Shockingly, this game has meaningful playoff implications. If the Washington Football Team loses to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football, then the winner of the Cowboys-Giants wins the NFC East. That means the Dallas Cowboys need a win and a Washington Football Team loss to clinch a spot in the postseason. The Cowboys are riding a 3-game winning streak, so they appear to be the NFC East team with the most momentum at this point. Washington may or may not be without Alex Smith against the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the New York Giants need to pick up a huge win over the Cowboys and will also need a Washington loss in order to clinch a postseason spot themselves. The Giants were riding high during the second half of the season, but have faltered after quarterback Daniel Jones went out with injury. Jones returned to play last week, but did not appear to be fully healthy.
The Giants could either win the division this week or – with some help – have the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. What a week it’s going to be for them.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Odds: Packers -5.5
The Green Bay Packers need to a win this week so that they can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the bye week that comes with it. They have played outstanding football all season long and are coming off a dominant win over the Tennessee Titans. On the other side, the Chicago Bears have improved drastically on the offensive side of the ball with a new play-caller and Mitchell Trubisky taking over his quarterback job again. This team has put up 30 or more points in four straight games now and needs a win in order to squeak into the NFC playoffs.
Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams
Odds: Rams -3
This game is arguably the most interesting due to each of these teams potentially missing their starting quarterback in a must-win ball game. Both of these teams could drop out of the postseason with a loss, though. The Rams have already announced that Jared Goff is out with a broken thumb, though he might return for the playoffs. John Wolford (Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football) is the Rams’ backup QB, while Blake Bortles is their third string quarterback.
Also, Arizona may be without young star Kyler Murray. Chris Streveler (Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL) is Kyler Murray’s backup, though coach Kliff Kingsbury left the door open to starting NFL journeyman Brett Hundley if Murray missed the game. Sports bettors should be aware of the quarterback situations and keep an eye on the injury news to monitor the situation.