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Week 17 NFL AM game thread: Panthers watch and playoff watch

We take a look at some of the Week 17 morning games, and open a thread for discussion.

Christian Petersen

And so we begin the final Sunday of the 2012 NFL regular season. We've got more football in the coming weeks (hopefully more weeks than one!), but the regular season is officially wrapping up. It's been a crazy year, and this final Sunday should be plenty crazy. There are playoff and draft implications aplenty. The football is split up pretty evenly, although come 1:25 p.m. PT, I think we will be fairly focused on one game!

Most of the key games are set for the afternoon schedule, but we have some pertinent matchups in the morning. Panthers Watch remains alive and well as the Carolina Panthers travel to face the New Orleans Saints. For those that are not aware, the 49ers hold the Panthers third round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, so every Panthers loss helps the 49ers. The Panthers are sitting at 6-9 and tied for tenth worst record with three other teams. A Panthers loss gives the 49ers a good shot at a top ten pick in that round. Go Saints!

The playoff pertinent games are Bears @ Lions and Eagles @ Giants. The Bears and Giants both need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Bears can make the playoffs with a win and Vikings loss. The Giants can make the playoffs with a win and losses by the Cowboys, Bears and Vikings. Neither possibility is out of the question, but obviously both teams need some help. We won't know if either team is in the playoffs by the end of their games, but we will know if one or both has been eliminated from playoff contention.

We'll be back with inactives at approximately 11:55 a.m. PT, followed by the first game thread at approximately 1:15 p.m. PT.