When it comes to the last few weeks of the NFL season, there is always a sense of urgency to jockey for position. With there only being one bye in each conference, there is more pressure being put on teams to pursue the No. 1 seed. Among all the Week 17 NFL matchups, the Monday night meeting between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals could loom large for who is the top seed in the AFC.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, hosting another top AFC contender is an opportunity to bury some old ghosts. When Cincinnati played under the Monday Night Football spotlight in the past, the Bengals have had a difficult time not melting down. Cincinnati is 12-25 all-time on Monday night and has lost their last five MNF games. Playing Buffalo Bills will be a nice change for the Bengals, who have played divisional opponents in their previous four MNF games.
The first week of the NFL season gives teams an opportunity to show what they have learned after an offseason of reflection.
While a good or bad result in the season opener doesn’t make or break the season, this is a good chance for players and teams to build goodwill with the fanbase and the league at large.
NFL Games of the Week
Thursday, Dec. 29
Sunday, Jan. 1
Monday, Jan. 2
Here’s a look at some interesting facts about NFL Week 17 matchups.
Battle for SoFi Stadium
Departing from San Diego hasn’t paid many dividends for the Chargers. Not only did they end up alienating their home fanbase, but they are overshadowed by the Los Angeles Rams, who they share a home with. The Chargers haven’t made the playoffs since 2018, but do have a strong offense, led by quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Los Angeles Chargers will hope to replicate the success the defending Super Bowl champion Rams had last season. The Rams are also led by a superstar quarterback, Matthew Stafford, who made a big impact in his first season since coming over from Detroit.
Other important matchups
- An old Bay Area matchup as San Francisco will travel to Sin City for the first time since the Las Vegas Raiders abandoned Oakland. The old geographical rivals have had an intense series over the years. In the 14 meetings between the two teams, each team has won seven games apiece.
- Carolina Panthers is in a transition year and it is expected Matt Rhule is coaching for his job. The Panthers will need to show up and play well against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady in Week 17. Carolina will need to figure out its quarterback situation if it wants to qualify for the playoffs.