NFL players across the league tend to mail in meaningless games at the end of the year since the season takes such a tremendous toll on the players’ bodies. These players are usually gladiators when they step on the field, but Sunday when the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts take the field, what exactly is the point?
Chuck Pagano is certainly gone and the Texans are playing without their franchise quarterback. DeAndre Hopkins has the right idea as he is going to sit out the meaningless matchup.
However, not every team out of contention is solely focused planning its offseason vacations yet. Here are the teams that will go all out in Week 17, despite having no shot at the playoffs.
It is all about getting that one win to avoid the dreaded 0-16. The Browns may actually have a shot to win since the Steelers are not going to play all of their starters after clinching a first-round bye. The Browns will have a puncher’s chance since their starters are only a little worse than Pittsburgh’s backups.
Hue Jackson is “unequivocally” coming back next season regardless (nobody knows why) so he wants to set the foundation for next year. Jackson is jumping in Lake Erie regardless of the outcome Sunday, but hopefully that joy of victory will help him when he jumps into the lake after the season. (It is projected that it will be 16 degrees Monday in Cleveland.)
DeShone Kizer will do his best to get his first career win as a starter before he is replaced by Sam Darnold. Kizer also hopes to get a win so his atrocious pick against the Packers won’t be remembered like Dan Orlovsky running through the back of the endzone.
Cleveland may actually have more on the line than any other team in Week 17 as the Browns could go down as the worst team ever.
Death, Taxes, and Marvin Lewis keeping his job as the Bengals head coach. Lewis might finally be out according to an Adam Schefter report, but I don’t believe it. If the Bengals defeat their division-rival Ravens this weekend, I can see Lewis keeping his job.
Lewis has not won a playoff game since he has arrived in Cincinnati, but that doesn’t matter. The Bengals were so bad before he arrived, they were basically the modern day Browns. Lewis gave players like Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones a chance when the rest of the league would not, and I expect the players will try to win for their coach.
Somehow the Cardinals are 7-8 with a chance to finish .500. What is even more remarkable is that two of those wins came with Blaine Gabbert starting. Winning with Gabbert truly shows how great Bruce Arians is as a coach, and there are multiple reports that he may part ways with Arizona after this weekend.
Considering the health issues Arians has dealt with and his success, I fully expect Larry Fitzgerald and company to send off the NFL’s oldest coach with a victory.