NFL Gameday preview: Eagles at Cowboys for NFC East title highlights final week of regular season

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Former Redskins WR back in NFL

Former Redskins WR back in NFL

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Redskins mailbag: Draft priorities, Jackson and salary cap talk

Redskins mailbag: Draft priorities, Jackson and salary cap talk

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London Fletcher zings Tony Romo with ‘choke’ comment

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Redskins open preseason vs. Patriots

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The Insider

The Insider

Insight on the Redskins and all the latest news from Post reporters Mike Jones and Mark Maske.

Eagles (9-6) at Cowboys (8-7)

Time (TV): 8:30 p.m. (NBC).

Line: Philadelphia by 6.

Notable: For Tony Romo, three season-ending, playoff spot-deciding losses in the past five seasons have to have been a terrible burden to bear. So it shouldn’t be any surprise if just the thought of yet another such game caused his back to give out. After surgery to fix a herniated disk, Romo is out of this showdown for the NFC East, and Kyle Orton is in. Orton is a solid backup with a 35-34 career record, but the real issue could be the Dallas defense’s ability, or lack thereof, to slow down Philadelphia’s stellar attack. The Cowboys did hold Nick Foles and the Eagles in check in a 17-3, Week 7 win, but since then, they’ve allowed an average of 31.6 points per game.

Fantasy mock draft: For the final week of the NFL regular season, I’ll look ahead to the 2014 fantasy season and offer a take on how the first 15 picks should go. Let’s assume normal roster settings and split the difference between PPR and non-PPR leagues by giving a half-point per reception. And the No. 1 overall pick is ... Jamaal Charles! Really, how could it be anyone else? The top scorer in any given fantasy season is never a lock to repeat, but Charles certainly has the talent (career 5.6 yards per carry), the low mileage (1,265 touches since 2008) and the durability (15-plus games played in five of six seasons) to dominate again.

Ravens (8-7) at Bengals (10-5)

Time (TV): 1 p.m. (CBS).

Line: Cincinnati by 6.

Notable: Baltimore needs to win and get some help in order to reach the playoffs, but the first part may be the hardest. Cincinnati is 7-0 at home this season and, lately, has been doing Greatest Show on Turf-y things there. It joined the 2000 Rams and the 1952 Lions as the only teams in NFL history to score 40-plus points in four straight home games.

Fantasy mock draft: 2) LeSean McCoy. When the glare of making sure you don’t whiff on an early pick gets too bright, it’s best to find a Shady place. (It’s also best to not try so hard to play off a guy’s nickname, but hey, it’s Week 17.) He was already great, but Chip Kelly’s offense is taking McCoy to new heights.

Bills (6-9) at Patriots (11-4)

Time (TV): 4:25 p.m. (CBS).

Line: New England by 9.

Notable: If the Bengals and Colts submit non-winning efforts, the Pats will have been handed a first-round bye before they take the field, but they’d still have a bigger prize in play. A win and a Broncos loss gets New England home field through the AFC playoffs. Plus, Bill Belichick doesn’t seem like the kind to pass up a chance to remind an AFC East rival why his squads have won the division 10 of the past 11 years.

Fantasy mock draft: 3) Adrian Peterson. The Viking’s rep as fantasy’s top RB slips a bit, but just a bit. Peterson is still as good a bet for double-digit touchdowns as anyone, but his career workload (more than 2,000 carries) and low reception totals are concerns.

Packers (7-7-1) at Bears (8-7)

Time (TV): 4:25 p.m. (Fox).

Line: Green Bay by 3.

Notable: One has to wonder if NBC execs regret putting Eagles-Cowboys on in prime time instead of this battle for all the NFC North marbles. Tony Romo won’t play, but look who will. That’s right, the miggidy mack of the Pack is back! Aaron Rodgers has walked through that door, putting even more pressure on the Bears.

Fantasy mock draft: 4) Matt Forte. Marc Trestman’s pass-happy system fits the Bears RB to a T. Or, more precisely, a T-shirt that reads, “They fired Lovie Smith and all I got was this offensive guru.” Forte, along with C.J. Spiller, leads the league with four 40-plus-yard runs.

Other games

Panthers (11-4) at Falcons (4-11)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Carolina by 6.

Notable: Atlanta has little to play for but a chance to stick it to a division rival, except that if the Falcons win, they’d likely be helping the archest of their AFC South rivals, the Saints. Carolina has an outside shot at the NFC’s No. 1 seed, but will have to move the ball without WR Steve Smith.

Fantasy mock draft: 5) Calvin Johnson. Of course, top RBs derive much of their fantasy value from their relative scarcity, but WRs who get mentioned in greatest-ever conversations while still in their primes don’t exactly grow on trees, either.

Browns (4-11) at Steelers (7-8)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Pittsburgh by 7.

Notable: In addition to winning, Pittsburgh has to get a ton of help, in the form of losses by Baltimore, Miami and San Diego. Cleveland could also use a ton of help, but in a more general sense — the Browns are set to go either 4-12 or 5-11 for the sixth straight year, this after starting this season 3-2.

Fantasy mock draft: 6) Marshawn Lynch. Having a pair of talented youngsters nipping at his heels has only served to keep Lynch’s mode set to Beast, as he ran with his usual ferocity. Plus, the Seattle RB has set a new career high in receiving yards (312).

Jaguars (4-11) at Colts (10-5)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Indianapolis by 11.

Notable: Indianapolis will get a first-round bye with a win plus a Patriots loss and a Bengals loss or tie. On the other hand, the Colts will get a world of grief if they allow a bunch of points to Jacksonville, which will almost certainly finish last in the NFL in scoring. Indy has given up just 10 points in its past two games.

Fantasy mock draft: 7) Eddie Lacy. Hey, look, Colts fans, it’s an Alabama running back who’s looked really good in the NFL! Lacy has plowed through defenders and injuries, the latter including his concussion and Aaron Rodgers’s lengthy absence.

Lions (7-8) at Vikings (4-10-1)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Minnesota by 3.

Notable: The good news for Detroit fans is that they can watch this free from any concerns about what it could mean; it’s one of only three games that have absolutely no playoff implications. Naturally, that’s also the bad news. At least Vikings fans have had time to resign themselves to it.

Fantasy mock draft: 8) Josh Gordon. Sure, he has an unusual pedigree (a second-round pick in the supplemental draft), but the Browns WR also has unusual talent, which has more than overcome his team’s usual lack thereof at quarterback.

Texans (2-13) at Titans (6-9)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Tennessee by 7.

Notable: The Texans haven’t won since the last time they played the Titans. No, I don’t mean the 1962 New York Titans, but Houston has gone a very long time without winning, considering that triumph over Tennessee came in Week 2. Can the Texans end their losing streak before the offseason kicks in?

Fantasy mock draft: 9) Jimmy Graham. With Rob Gronkowski recovering from yet another major injury, Graham stands alone as a tight end who is the focal point of an explosive offense. As such, he starts you off with a huge advantage every week.

Jets (7-8) at Dolphins (8-7)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Miami by 5.

Notable: Miami needs to win to have a shot at a playoff berth, and they’ll want to keep Ryan Tannehill (sacked 58 times) upright to have a better shot at that win. New York, of course, would love to squish the fish, but the team probably feels it has even bigger, um, dolphins to fry — possibly saving the job of Rex Ryan.

Fantasy mock draft: 10) Zac Stacy. The many predictions that the Rams would have a dangerous offense this season were a tad off-base, but Stacy turned out to be a true workhorse. And, um, the Rams really, really should have a better offense next season.

Buccaneers (4-11) at Saints (10-5)

Time: 4:25 p.m.

Line: New Orleans by 12.

Notable: New Orleans can make the playoffs with a loss as long as the Cardinals also lose, but a win could get them the No. 2 seed if the Panthers fall. A win should also probably be expected, even though the Saints have lost two straight, because they are 7-0 at the Superdome.

Fantasy mock draft: 11) A.J. Green. Possibly the closest thing today’s NFL has to Jerry Rice, Green has Rice-like smoothness to his game. It doesn’t seem like he’s trying that hard, but the catches are always there. It would be nice to see him score a little more often.

49ers (11-4) at Cardinals (10-5)

Time: 4:25 p.m.

Line: San Francisco by 1.

Notable: With its dramatic late-game interception for a touchdown last week, San Francisco not only locked up a playoff spot, but it put a huge dent in Arizona’s own hopes. Now the Cards must beat the Niners — they shouldn’t lack for any motivation there — and hope for a Saints loss (or tie).

Fantasy mock draft: 12) Demaryius Thomas. I put Green and Thomas 11 and 12, respectively, because I think most owners would want to pair them with an RB. They are both first-round-worthy, as consistent producers of strong numbers.

Rams (7-8) at Seahawks (12-3)

Time: 4:25 p.m.

Line: Seattle by 11.

Notable: Seattle can grab the NFC’s No. 1 seed by holding serve at its intimidating home field. Of course, that was also the case in Week 16, but Russell Wilson and Co. were stifled at CenturyLink Field by Arizona. St. Louis also causes problems with its pass rush, so Seattle can expect another tussle.

Fantasy mock draft: 13) Le’Veon Bell. With a last name like that, how could he not be a bellcow back? After overcoming an early-season injury, Bell became the unquestioned ball-carrier the Steelers want, although his 3.4 yards per carry are underwhelming.

Chiefs (11-4) at Chargers (8-7)

Time: 4:25 p.m.

Line: San Diego by 9.

Notable: Kansas City is locked into the AFC’s No.5 spot, but San Diego will be nervously awaiting results from earlier Ravens and Dolphins games, praying that those two teams don’t win. The Chargers’ in-game cause could be helped by Chiefs Coach Andy Reid, who has a history of resting his starters.

Fantasy mock draft: 14) Doug Martin. This can be seen as a highly optimistic ranking, but given Martin’s injury (shoulder, not lower body) and the fact that the Bucs have made fill-in RBs such as Mike James and Bobby Rainey look good, there is cause for optimism.

Broncos (12-3) at Raiders (4-11)

Time: 4:25 p.m.

Line: Denver by 12.

Notable: Denver gets home field in the AFC playoffs with a win or a Patriots loss. The Broncos will also want to use the game to figure out how to overcome the loss of linebacker Von Miller, who tore an ACL last week. Oakland will start Terrelle Pryor at QB, which, bizarrely, came as upsetting news to Pryor’s agent.

Fantasy mock draft: 15) Peyton Manning. With the depth at QB, I just can’t list one higher than this, and Manning surely won’t equal this year’s stats again, will he? Just missed: DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush.

 
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