It all comes down to one final Sunday in the NFL’s 2020 regular-season finale.
Seven spots filled, seven spots remaining. There’s 16 games remaining in a different kind of NFL season. And this year, there will be seven postseason berths in each conference. In the AFC, the Dolphins, Ravens, Browns and Titans (a victory gives them the AFC South title) are all in with a win while the Colts need a victory or tie and a little assistance. They will join the Chiefs, Bills and Steelers.
In the NFC, the Packers, Saints and Seahawks have all won division titles and the Buccaneers are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The NFC East is up for grabs between the Cowboys, Giants and Washington and the Bears, Cardinals and Rams remain in the playoff hunt.
It’s a lot to take in. But it will make for a memorable Week 17.
Miami Dolphins (10-5) at Buffalo Bills (12-3), 1:00 pm
Dolphins: Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gets the start as Ryan Fitzpatrick is out on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19 (via ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe). But Brian Flores’ team is led by a much-improved defensive unit that has relied on timely plays. The Dolphins are tied for the NFL lead with 27 takeaways. That’s 11 more turnovers than the club forced a season ago. Miami’s pass rush has produced 40 sacks, nearly doubling last year’s league-low total of 23 QB traps. And after giving up the most points in the NFL (494) in 2019, Flores’ squad has surrendered 282 points – the fewest in the league. All told, it’s added up to the team doubling its win total from a season ago.
Bills: The club comes off a resounding 38-9 triumph at New England, the Bills’ first sweep of the Patriots since 1999. The victory also raised the team’s record this season to 5-0 vs. AFC East rivals. Sean McDermott’s is riding a five-game winning streak and now ranks sixth in the league with 445 points. That’s quite a jump from a year ago when the Bills totaled just 314 points and the offense totaled just 34 offensive touchdowns. This season, Josh Allen has thrown 34 TD passes, Stefon Diggs leads the NFL with 120 receptions and coordinator Brian Daboll’s attack has reached the end zone 50 times. And the team has allowed just 26 sacks, much-improved from a season ago (40).