who will grab the last remaining playoff places?

While there may not be as many playoff spots on the line at this stage as was promised when the league introduced the its new 17-game schedule, there’s still a lot at stake this weekend. Beyond the battle for seedings among teams who have already booked their postseason berth, there are five games that will decide who joins them in the playoffs: we preview them here.

What the Steelers need to do to win: If Ben Roethlisberger wants to extend his career at least one more game, he’ll need to win this game and then hope that the Jacksonville Jaguars upset the Indianapolis Colts. Pittsburgh can only control what they control and that means grinding out what’s sure to be another tough, physical game against their perennial rivals.

What the Ravens need to do to win: Chances are that Lamar Jackson won’t be back, which is already a huge disadvantage. It’s quite likely that Baltimore’s season will end as it began: with way too many players on the injured list. Still, the Ravens can at least play spoilers by winning what could be a defensive battle and taking advantage of Pittsburgh mistakes.

Key player: TJ Watt, outside linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers. With one more sack, Watt will tie Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5, and needs 1.5 to break it outright. And although Watt is playing in an extended 17-game season he has only made 14 appearances so far (Strahan achieved his record in 16 games).

Prediction: The Steelers beat the hobbled Ravens, who would still need additional help to make it to the playoffs even with a win. But it won’t end up mattering for Pittsburgh on account of a game down in Florida …

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 1pm EST/6pm GMT)

What the Colts need to do to win: Show up? The Colts are the far superior team and are playing for a postseason berth rather than to avoid the NFL’s worst record. They just have to play like they are not facing the season’s biggest embarrassment because if they sleepwalk…


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