The 2018 regular season will conclude in Music City on Sunday night, where the Colts and Titans will play for a wild-card playoff berth. Or maybe more.
The winner between these 9-6 teams makes the playoffs. Should Houston (10-5) fall at home to Jacksonville (5-10), the Indianapolis-Tennessee victor earns the AFC South title.
That’s why two of the NFL’s more interesting, but less glamorous teams were flexed to prime time.
But it’s an intriguing matchup featuring two rookie head coaches, Mike Vrabel for Tennessee, Frank Reich for Indianapolis, who know something about getting to and succeeding in the playoffs from their playing careers.
Unfortunately for them, neither of their teams have the pedigree that the Patriots when Vrabel was a linebacker for them, or the Bills in the 1990s when Reich was a quarterback, would show.
Still, any game in which the winner gets into the postseason is worthy of the spotlight. Oh, and get this: Should Baltimore and Pittsburgh win and the Colts, No. 10 in the AP Pro32, and No. 14 Titans tie, the Steelers grab the final AFC wild card. Why? Don’t ask.
With some uncertainty surrounding Marcus Mariota and his stinger — there is no betting line on the game because of it — plus the fact Andrew Luck is 10-0 vs. the Titans …
KNOCKOUT POOL: Survived with the Titans, let’s see if Pro Picks can finish it off with a win by PHILADELPHIA. Yes, we never took the defending Super Bowl champs.
No. 27 Detroit (plus 7) at No. 18 (tie) Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers and also-ran Packers seem to care. Also-ran Lions don’t.
BEST BET: PACKERS, 33-16
No. 3 Chicago (plus 6) at No. 13 Minnesota
Bears spoil any January plans for division rival, help Eagles.
UPSET SPECIAL: BEARS, 20-15
No. 15 Philadelphia (minus 6) at No. 18 (tie) Washington
Eagles surge through opening into postseason.
No. 28 Jacksonville (plus 8 1-2) at No. 8 Houston
Texans will take division despite injury issues that could hurt in January.
No. 16 Cleveland (plus 5 1-2) at No. 9 Baltimore
Ravens have come too far down the stretch to blow it here.
No. 26 Cincinnati (plus 14) at No. 12 Pittsburgh
Talented Steelers’ late-season flop is mystifying.
No. 31 Oakland (13 1-2) at No. 4 Kansas City
Chiefs secure AFC’s top seed, but looking very vulnerable.
No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 6 1-2) at No. 23 (tie) Denver
Game means too much to Chargers to falter.
No. 29 New York Jets (plus 13 1-2) at No. 6 New England
Believe it or not, things are looking up for Jets. Still …
No. 30 San Francisco (plus 10) at No. 2 Los Angeles Rams
Rams grab NFC’s second seed and wild-card round bye.
No. 32 Arizona (OFF) at No. 7 Seattle
Cardinals will clinch top selection in April’s draft with loss.
No. 21 Carolina (OFF) at No. 1 New Orleans
Saints can rest folks and still beat sliding Panthers.
No. 11 Dallas (plus 7) at No. 22 New York Giants
Just stay healthy, Cowboys.
No. 17 Miami (plus 3 1-2) at No. 25 Buffalo
Is there any more inconsistent team than Dolphins?
No. 20 Atlanta (pick-em) at No. 23 (tie) Tampa Bay
Falcons coach Dan Quinn safe, Bucs might be playing for coach Dirk Koetter’s job.
Last Week: Against spread (11-4-1). Straight up (11-5)
Season Totals: Against spread (121-105-9). Straight up: (156-82-2)
Best Bet: 6-10 against spread, 11-5 straight up
Upset special: 8-8 against spread, 7-8-1 straight up
Source: The Associated Press