After seventeen weeks, the 2021 NFL Regular Season comes to a close, and surprisingly the New Orleans Saints have a chance to get into the playoffs. They enter this final week with a second showdown against the hated Atlanta Falcons. The Saints must win against Atlanta and get the Rams to beat the 49ers at the same time in order to clinch the NFC’s final Wild Card spot. How wonderful it could be, to beat the Falcons in their house to do the Saints part to get into the playoffs.
What a fitting end for a tumultuous and wild Saints season, for it to come down to the Saints needing to beat their arch-rival while getting help from one long-time rival over another long-time rival. This will be a season ending long remembered. Regardless of what happens in Los Angeles, it would be nice to see the Saints secure a 9-8 record considering all of the trials they have battled through this season. 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 2021 NFL Season!
Last week I went 12-4
I told you so: Saints over Panthers!
What do I know: Cowboys over Cardinals?
You can check out the lines for all of this week’s games courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Saturday, January 8th - Saturday NFL Special - Game 1
Chiefs(11-5) at Broncos(7-9)
Playoff Scenario: A Kansas City win, followed by a Tennessee loss, clinches the top-seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.
Patrick Mahomes will torch the Denver defense, to ensure Kansas City does their part for an outside shot to regain the AFC’s top seed. Kansas City wins 43-9.
Saturday, January 8th - Saturday NFL Special - Game 2
Cowboys(11-5) at Eagles(9-7)
Playoff Scenario: A Dallas win coupled with a Los Angeles win clinches the NFC’s fourth seed.
In this matchup of rivals that have secured playoff spots, Dallas will do a little more, looking to rebound from a rough showing last week. Dallas wins 29-20.
Sunday, January 9th - Early Games
Packers(13-3) at Lions(2-13-1)
Green Bay will play their starters in this meaningless game in Detroit, looking to get Aaron Rodgers another MVP with more stats, which he will get. Green Bay wins 36-21.
Colts(9-7) at Jaguars(2-14)
Playoff Scenario: An Indianapolis win clinches a playoff spot.
Its win and they're in for Indy, and they will win, but Jacksonville won't make it too easy for them. Indianapolis wins 24-19.
Washington FT(6-10) at Giants(4-12)
In what should very well be their final game known as “Washington Football Team”, Washington will squeak out a close win over the Giants. Washington wins 24-23.
Pick: Washington FT
Bears(6-10) at Vikings(7-9)
Backed by a stout defensive performance, Justin Fields will have the best performance of his rookie season, giving Chicago some hope for the future. Chicago wins 21-10.
Titans(10-5) at Texans(11-3)
Playoff Scenario: A Tennessee win clinches the top-seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.
Tennessee knows what's on the line, beat Houston and the AFC Playoffs run through Nashville instead of Kansas City for the first time in three seasons. Tennessee knows how important this is and they will take care of business in Houston. Tennessee wins 32-20.
Steelers(8-7-1) at Ravens(8-8)
Playoff Scenario: A Pittsburgh win coupled with an Indianapolis loss clinches a playoff spot. A Baltimore win coupled with losses by CLE, IND, MIA, and LAC clinches a playoff spot.
This will be a brutal and savage dogfight between two of the most bitter rivals of the past few decades. Knowing that an outside shot at the playoffs are on the line, both teams will pull out all the stops to earn a playoff spot while ruining their arch rival’s season. Big Ben will get the best of Baltimore one last time, as Pittsburgh makes the game-winning field goal as time expires, and the Steelers hope for an unlikely miracle in Jacksonville. Pittsburgh wins 22-19.
Bengals(10-6) at Browns(7-9)
Playoff Scenario: A Cincinnati win, coupled with losses by Tennessee and Kansas City, clinches the top-seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.
Even though Cincy has an extremely unlikely path to the AFC’s top seed, they are playing it safe, resting stars like Joe Burrow. Cleveland will take advantage of this and have a big day without Baker Mayfield under center. Cleveland wins 38-27.
Sunday, January 9th - Late Games
Patriots(10-6) at Dolphins(8-8)
Playoff Scenario: A New England win coupled with a Buffalo loss clinches the AFC East title and the AFC’s fourth seed.
New England coasted to a huge win last week, but will have a fight on their hands in Miami, as the Pats look to win and get some unlikely help from the Jets to win the AFC East. New England wins 17-16.
Jets(4-12) at Bills(10-6)
Playoff Scenario: A Buffalo win or a New England loss clinches the AFC East title and the AFC’s fourth seed.
With a win, Buffalo will win the AFC East for a second-consecutive season, and they will do just that by smashing the Jets at home. Buffalo wins 30-10.
Panthers(5-11) at Buccaneers(12-4)
Even with a depleted receiving corps, Tom Brady has more than enough weapons to score at will against Carolina. Tampa wins 35-14.
Seahawks(6-10) at Cardinals(11-5)
In what will hopefully be Russell Wilson’s final game as a Seahawk, Arizona will continue to look as good as they did last week, by taking advantage of Seattle’s poor defense. Arizona wins 27-14.
49ers(9-7) at Rams(12-4) - Game of the Week
Playoff Scenario: A Los Angeles win clinches the NFC West title and the NFC’s second seed, eliminating San Francisco from playoff contention.
The good news: The Rams need to win this game to secure the NFC’s second seed, so they will give this game their all, which the Saints desperately need. The bad news: The Rams are 0-5 against San Francisco in their last five meetings, including a 21-point loss earlier this season. Not the most hope inspiring thing to notice if you're the Saints.
Kyle Shanahan has owned Sean McVay for the past three seasons, but don't lose faith. This game has all the makings of a classic, and will certainly live up to that billing. This one will have us at the very edge of our seats, as Matt Gay lines up for a 56-yard field goal, down by 1, and nails it, helping the Saints in the process, as New Orleans looks to head to SoFi Stadium next week. Los Angeles wins 27-25.
Saints(8-8) at Falcons(7-9)
Playoff Scenario: A New Orleans win coupled with a San Francisco loss clinches the NFC’s final Wild Card spot.
Here it is, the end of the Saints’ regular season, and effectively the beginning of the Saints postseason. For all intents and purposes, this is a playoff game for the New Orleans Saints, and you better believe that even though their opponents have no chance at the playoffs themselves, the Atlanta Falcons will fight to win this game with absolutely everything they have.
The Saints will get pair of field goals, as points have come at a premium for this offense, but Taysom Hill will have a desperately needed performance, throwing for 194 yards with a touchdown pass to Alvin Kamara while also rushing for 66 yards and getting a touchdown on the ground. On defense, Cam Jordan and David Onyemata will terrorize Matt Ryan, combining for four sacks in this one. The Saints are now as healthy and focused as they have been in a very, very long time.
The last time these rivals met, the Saints defense faltered. That won't happen this time around. A dominant defensive performance by the Saints awaits the Falcons. So much is on the line for this unlikely playoff team. A bit of luck in Los Angeles and a lot of heart in Atlanta will see the Saints punch their ticket for the playoffs, as New Orleans earns the final NFC Wild Card spot. Saints win 20-13.
Sunday Night Football Finale
Chargers(9-7) at Raiders(9-7)
Playoff Scenario: The winner automatically clinches a playoff spot. Las Vegas can still clinch with a loss if both Indianapolis and Pittsburgh lose.
The Sunday Night finale will feature two passing attacks that will light up the Vegas Strip. Justin Herbert and Derek Carr will have huge games, looking to clinch a playoff spot with a win, while sticking it to their division rival. In the end, a crucial interception by Carr will seal the victory for the Bolts. Los Angeles wins 28-24.
There you have it, the final week of the 2021 NFL regular season. Here’s to the Saints beating the Falcons and getting some help from the Rams beating the Niners! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!