What are most NFL fans talking about? This is a very exciting time of the season for the select few who have made it to or are almost in the playoffs. This coming week is the last chance for some to make a move to get in, and some would like to be the one to spoil another team’s chance to get in since they no longer can. Let’s go over the biggest questions of the week.
Talking Points from NFL Week 16 Heading Into Week 17
Start them or sit them?
The New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles have all secured a first-round bye. With that being said and nothing left to win, should their starters and star players even play in week seventeen? Obviously on the plus side, it would keep them safe from an injury that could keep them out of the playoffs. However, no play time for what would be a three-week stretch can put a lot of rust on even the best players. Some teams have a hard time getting going again after just one week off, so they may want to pick and choose who plays and for how long.
The Steelers and Patriots have a bit more to play for, as the number one seed, and home field in the AFC Championship Game is also still up for grabs.
Spoil it for the rest of them
Not all of the playoff spots are secure as of now. For example, the Buffalo Bills can overtake the Baltimore Ravens if they win and the Ravens lose. The Bills are playing the Miami Dolphins and the Ravens are playing the Cincinnati Bengals. Both of those teams are out of playoff contention. Also, both of those teams are division rivals. They would love nothing better to be the ones to knock their rival out of the playoffs. The NFL has moved the schedule so all the important games will be played at the same time so no one will be safe going into their games.
Surprise moves or firings
Last week one of the bigger surprises that had people talking was Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis would be quitting at the end of the season. He later stated that it was a rumour and he had never said that. However, it sent shock waves through the league. Since his future with the Bengals has been a topic of conversation before, many are speculating that one way or another his time with the team is short.
This week the biggest surprise was the release of James Harrison by the Pittsburgh Steelers to make room for tackle Marcus Gilbert. That was surprising enough. When he went unclaimed on waivers, he went to a meeting with the New England Patriots. Harrison signed a one-year deal that day. Not only was it surprising because of the rivalry between the two teams. There have been many times over the years Harrison had criticized them. How well he fits in with the Patriots and what kind of playing time he gets remains to be seen. But the fans of the Steelers have reacted with great emotion over this surprise.
Fans re-adjusting their schedules
Let’s be honest, those of us who love the sport are always talking about it. We will plan our day and even our week around watching the games. Thursday games have finished, and Sunday night’s game switched to four in the afternoon. If your team is not in the playoffs, the off-season stretches before you like a desert in all directions. What now? What will we do until August? Of course, there are other sports to watch in the meantime. But really, few can hold a candle to the NFL even with all its quirks.
So let’s enjoy week seventeen, the last week of the regular season and savour every moment. Dilly Dilly!!