The Week 17 schedule includes seven divisional rematches and six meetings between AFC and NFC teams. There also happens to be a clash between a pair of mega-powers in the AFC on Monday night at Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the Dolphins, Giants, Buccaneers and Commanders can join the nine other teams that have already wrapped up postseason berths.
It’s the final week of inter-conference games around the league with six head-to-head contests between the AFC and NFC. A year ago, the latter won the 80-game set with a 40-39-1 mark. The last time either conference won the season series two consecutive years is when the NFC managed the feat three straight years from 2011-13. As for this year’s standings, it’s a dead heat as both the AFC and NFC have combined for 37 victories apiece. Game(s) on.
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The playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys forced four turnovers in last week’s 40-34 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Mike McCarthy’s team has come up with an NFL-high 30 takeaways in 15 contests, including 14 interceptions and a league-best 16 fumble recoveries. The last time an NFL team led the league in takeaways in consecutive seasons was nearly 50 years ago when Chuck Noll’s Pittsburgh Steelers turned the trick thrree straight years from 1972-74.
There are two weeks remaining in NFL 2022, the league’s second 17-game regular season. A year ago, 18 of the NFL’s 32 clubs finished with winning records. While 14 of those teams went to the playoffs, the 9-8 Dolphins, Colts, Chargers and Saints were home for the postseason. This year to date, 20 teams are below the .500 mark, with nine of those clubs sporting 7-8 records. The AFC South and NFC South don’t have a team with a winning mark.
The history of the Steelers/Ravens rivalry has been well-documented. Dating back to 2008 (under head coaches Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh) and including playoffs, 17 of the 32 contests have been decided by three points or less. That includes Baltimore’s 16-14 win at Pittsburgh in Week 14. Points could be hard to come by on Sunday night. The Steelers have held five straight opponents to 17 points or less. The Ravens have scored 17 points or less.
The two teams with the longest winning streaks in the AFC clash on Monday night in the Queen City. The reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals have prevailed in their last seven outings. Right behind them are the Buffalo Bills, winners of six consecutive games. The key to victory for Zac Taylor’s club may be harassing Josh Allen and company into mistakes. The Bengals have 20 takeaways while the Bills have committed 24 turnovers, 18 of those by Allen.