It’s week 17 and usually that means a whole lot of players being rested for the playoffs (which of course is why you should only play to week 16 in fantasy), but this season is a little better than seasons in the past. We still have to worry about some teams resting players early, but not like in the past. Here are the playoff breakdowns as best as I can decipher them. If you see an error, please point it out.
New England Patriots: They have clinched the #1 seed and have nothing to play for. They have coasted here recently anyway, so it’s hard to know how they will play it.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1 pm): They are in the playoffs, but to clinch the #2 seed and a bye they need to beat the Browns in Cleveland. They will play hard.
Baltimore Ravens (1 pm): They are in the playoffs, but need to beat the Bengals and have the Steelers lose to steal the #2 seed from the Steelers. Thankfully both teams play at the same time, so they should play their starters and have motivation.
New York Jets (1 pm): They have a wildcard wrapped up and could get the 5th seed instead of the 6th seed with a Steelers loss and Ravens win, but I think their main motivating factor will be to stop sucking so much.
Kansas City Chiefs (1 pm): They have their division wrapped up, but the difference between 3 and 4 seed is a trip to New England vs a trip to Pittsburgh/Baltimore, if they happen to win their first game. None of those places are all that desirable, but if I were the Chiefs I’d rather have someone else try to knock the Patriots off in that game. I think they will play their starters against the rival Raiders at home, but it’s not a mortal lock.
Indianapolis Colts (4 pm): It’s week 17 and Peyton Manning isn’t sitting out? Amazing! The Colts are in a must win situation. If they beat the Titans, they win the division. If they lose and the Jaguars win, they are out of the playoffs. Thankfully they play at the same time.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4 pm): The Jags don’t control their destiny and can’t feel too good about their chances, but they will be playing all out, which is good since they get the Texans pass defense. They win and the Colts lose and they are division champs.
Atlanta Falcons (1 pm): The Falcons loss to the Saints means they have to beat the Panthers to get the #1 seed, which is pretty important to a team that plays well at home. Oh, and the Panthers are unbelievably horrible. I mean, so bad.
New Orleans Saints (1 pm): The Saints have the 5th seed wrapped up, but if the earth opens up and swallows the Falcons and a group of 3rd graders plays the Panthers and somehow the Panthers luck out and beat those third graders, the Saints would be the #1 seed with a win over Tampa Bay and a loss by the Bears and the Eagles. That is a huge long shot, but the difference between the #5 seed and #1 seed is huge. They should play their starters.
Chicago Bears (4 pm): The Bears have the #2 seed wrapped up and will know if they have a chance at the #1 seed before the games start because they need the Saints and Falcons to lose which is very unlikely. Beat reporter Sean Jenson believes they will play. Hard to know for sure.
Philadelphia Eagles (4 pm): (updated) The Eagles lost to the Vikings, yes, really. So now they are the #3 seed and nothing can change that, Nothing! So stop trying Vick owners who have week 17 championships. Vick is hurting and they will want to rest him.
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams (8 pm): Whoever wins is in and will be the 4th seed. The loser is a loser. And the winner is also a bit of a loser.
Green Bay Packers (4 pm): If they beat the Bears they get the 6th seed. They will play all out. They could lose and still get in if the Giants and Bucs lose, but the Giants play at the same time as the Packers so they won’t know ahead of time.
New York Giants (4 pm): Like I said above they need the Packers to lose and they need to beat the Redskins and they get in. So they will be motivated and get a poor Redskins defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 pm): They need to beat the Saints, and the Bears to beat the Packers and The Redskins to beat the Giants. That’s a tall order, but they will be playing all their starters in a must win game.
The rest of the teams who have nothing to play for don’t have to worry about being healthy for the playoffs, so they should play their starters for the most part.