December 2016

The Associated Press will hand out its individual NFL awards on the night before the Super Bowl in Houston. Until then, here are some off-the-beaten track honors to consider.
Green Bay, Detroit, Washington and Tampa Bay will chase playoff berths in Sunday's final NFL regular-season games while four other clubs try to join Dallas and New England with first-round byes. The Detroit Lions entertain Green Bay with the Packers on a five-game win streak and both teams deadlocked at 9-6 atop the NFC North division. "Everything that we have accomplished up until this point -- the five-game win streak, pushing through adversity -- doesn't mean anything if we don't take care of business on Sunday," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.
GREEN BAY (9-6) at DETROIT (9-6)
The playoff picture is clear for the Washington Redskins. Beat the New York Giants on Sunday at FedEx Field and they're in -- as long as the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions don't tie on Sunday night. A regular season that began with two losses and was nearly sidetracked by a bad home loss two weeks ago can end with a postseason berth as the NFC's sixth seed if Washington (8-6-1) defeats the playoff-bound Giants (10-5), who have nothing to play for on Sunday.
The final regular-season game in the 25-year history of the Georgia Dome on Sunday has more than a little significance to the Atlanta Falcons, who for the last quarter century have mixed some good football with the bad and the ugly. In this case, the Falcons (10-5) have a self-made opportunity to lock up the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs -- along with a critical first-round bye -- by defeating their bitter NFC South rival, the New Orleans Saints (7-8). The stakes are high for the Falcons, who already have clinched the NFC South title.
The Dallas Cowboys are NFC East champions and clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles will miss the postseason for the third consecutive season and are trying to avoid their second double-digit loss campaign in the past 12 seasons. In other words, there is nothing at stake and the game is virtually meaningless for both squads when the Cowboys (13-2) visit the Eagles (6-9) on Sunday (FOX, 1 p.m. ET).
With one game remaining during the regular season, the Indianapolis Colts are in the unfamiliar position of having no chance to make the playoffs. The Jacksonville Jaguars have been in that spot many times in recent years, and so this season is no different. In a game both teams likely thought could hold playoff stakes at one point, the Colts and Jaguars will instead try to salvage individual goals and end the season with a strong showing during an otherwise inconsequential matchup on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Aaron Rodgers' last throw at Ford Field was one for the ages. If the Lions can't stop Rodgers and the Packers from completing a magical late-season run on Sunday night, they might not have a prayer of making the playoffs. By the same token, if Rodgers cools off, Green Bay could see its season come to an abrupt end.

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