After sixteen weeks, the 2020 NFL Regular Season comes to a close, and thankfully the New Orleans Saints are once again in the playoffs. They enter this final week with a second meeting against the Carolina Panthers. The Saints are essentially locked into the second or third seed as Green Bay has a cakewalk final game and Seattle may rest Russell Wilson going into their finale, this leaves little reason for the Saints to give much time to many of their starters, making this possibly little more than an exhibition game, at least after scoreboard watching becomes fruitless, barring Chicago stunning the football world. Regardless of who plays, it would be nice to see the Saints secure a 12-4 record considering all the major injuries they have battled through this year. As 2021 approaches, the Saints now will let the dominoes fall as they may, to see what their seeding will be, and we will all soon know who they will play and when they will be playing. Now let’s take a look at the Saints’ regular season finale as well as all of the pivotal matchups in the final week of the 2020 NFL Season!
Last week I went 10-6
I told you so: Packers over Titans.
What do I know: Browns over Jets?
Sunday, January 3rd - Early Games
Falcons(4-11) at Buccaneers(10-5)
Matt Ryan will outduel, umm... (checks notes)... Blaine Gabbert, leading Atlanta to five-win season. Atlanta wins 29-26.
Cowboys(6-9) at Giants(5-10)
Playoff Scenario: A Dallas win coupled with a Washington loss clinches the NFC East title. A Giants win coupled with a Washington loss clinches the NFC East title.
CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott will have huge performances, leading Dallas to a critical win at MetLife, and then they wait for Sunday Night. Dallas wins 35-23.
Jets(2-13) at Patriots(6-8)
New England ends the season stopping their three-game skid while also snapping the Jets’ improbable two-game winning streak. New England wins 31-14.
Vikings(6-9) at Lions(5-10)
After being effectively taken off the board on Christmas Day, Dalvin Cook will return with a vengeance against the pathetic Detroit defense. Minnesota wins 32-19.
Playoff Scenario: A Cleveland win secures a playoff spot.
In the most important game the franchise has had in decades, Cleveland will shrink under the pressure of the occasion, losing to Mason Rudolph and a Pittsburgh team with nothing to play for, as their playoff position is secure. Pittsburgh wins 21-14.
Ravens(10-5) at Bengals(4-10-1)
Playoff Scenario: A Baltimore win secures a playoff spot.
Baltimore will simply do what they do best, run the ball and play sound defense, and that will be enough to win in Cincy to secure a playoff spot. Baltimore wins 34-10.
Playoff Scenario: A Miami win or a BAL, IND, or CLE loss clinches a playoff spot.
With Buffalo in shutdown mode until the playoffs next week, Miami will take advantage and punch their own ticket to the playoffs. Miami wins 33-23.
Sunday, January 3rd - Late Games
Jaguars(1-14) at Colts(10-5)
Playoff Scenario: An Indianapolis win coupled with a Tennessee loss clinches the AFC South title. An Indianapolis win coupled with a BAL, CLE, or MIA loss clinches a playoff spot.
Jacksonville neither needs to win or to tank now, as they have won the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, now its an audition for who wants to stick around for the new quarterback. For Indianapolis, there is plenty on the line as with a win and some help, they can either win their division or at least make the playoffs. Indy will do their part. Indianapolis wins 28-13.
Playoff Scenario: A Tennessee win or an Indianapolis loss clinches the AFC South title. A BAL or MIA loss clinches a playoff spot.
Tennessee rebounds from their embarrassing performance on Sunday Night with a crucial win in Houston that lands them their division title. Tennessee wins 33-25.
Vegas has a big day from the ground game and their defense feasts off turnovers in this meaningless AFC West finale. Las Vegas wins 25-12.
With Patrick Mahomes resting up for the next two weeks, Kansas City will have little interest in this game, other than keeping their stars healthy. Justin Herbert will have a great game, leading the Chargers to victory. Los Angeles wins 26-23.
Playoff Scenario: An Arizona win secures a playoff spot. A Los Angeles win or a Chicago loss secures a playoff spot.
Of all the important games on this Week 17 schedule, this is the only game where both teams are in a win and you're in scenario. Los Angeles is without Jared Goff at quarterback and they are decimated by injury in the backfield, but they have the league’s top-rated defense, and they will lean on that to grind out a tough, physical win over Kyler Murray and the Cards. Los Angeles wins 20-17.
Playoff Scenario: A Seattle win coupled with a New Orleans loss and a Green Bay loss secures the NFC’s first-round bye.
Just like Green Bay and New Orleans, Seattle has their eyes on the top spot in the NFC. Just like they did against Arizona last week, San Francisco would love to play the role of spoiler. Much like they did a week ago against DeAndre Hopkins, the Niners will key in on DK Metcalf and try to take his impact out of the game. San Francisco will also use their ground game to punish the suspect Seattle defense. Just like this spot last season, San Francisco will spoil Seattle’s hopes in the closing moments. San Francisco wins 28-26.
Packers(12-3) at Bears(8-7)
Playoff Scenario: A Green Bay win or Seattle loss secures the NFC’s first-round bye. A Chicago win or Arizona loss secures a playoff spot.
Like this past Sunday Night, Green Bay will not squander their opportunity to secure a first-round bye as they dominate yet another opponent. All they have to do is beat an inferior divisional opponent, forcing their first playoff opponent play in -12º at Lambeau Field in January. Barring a miracle, this one will be over before halftime. Green Bay wins 31-14.
Saints(11-4) at Panthers(5-10)
Playoff Scenario: A New Orleans win coupled with a Seattle win and a Green Bay loss secures the NFC’s first-round bye.
The Saints will do some scoreboard watching between Green Bay at Chicago and Seattle at San Francisco during this game, they also need to keep some important and ailing players healthy as the playoffs are set to begin. Most importantly, the Saints need to take care of business and win this game, controlling everything they can control in the outside hopes of securing the first-round bye that comes with being the top-overall seed in the NFC.
It is more than likely that Drew Brees will start, considering Brees is Brees, but he and other key pieces will likely be on a “pitch count” and will see limited action, especially if they can build an early lead and if things get out of control in Chicago and Glendale early. The Saints should win this game, and although this is divisional play and that tends to make these games tight, this Carolina team has struggled greatly this season and the Saints have a great chance of putting this to rest early, allowing key players to rest and gear up for the big game in New Orleans either next week or hopefully two weeks from now. Saints win 27-23.
Sunday Night Football Finale
Washington FT(6-9) at Eagles(4-10-1)
Playoff Scenario: A Washington win clinches the NFC East title.
Washington’s defense will shut down the Eagles on the ground, putting the game on Jalen Hurts’ back, which will ultimately be too difficult a load for him to carry. Washington’s underrated defense will carry them to the NFC (L)East title. Washington wins 29-21.
Pick: Washington FT
There you have it, the final week of the 2020 NFL regular season. Here’s to the Saints getting some improbable luck in Chicago and Glendale! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below! Happy New Year, Who Dat Nation!