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NFL Week 17: Early games open thread

Five out of the seven games on the early schedule have playoff implications.

Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week 17 of the 2020 NFL regular season schedule kicks off with seven games on the early slate.

The Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants in a game that could determine the NFC East winner. Whoever is victorious in this matchup will get into the playoffs if the Washington Football Team loses to the Philadelphia Eagles tonight.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can lock up the fifth-seed in the conference if they can beat the Atlanta Falcons.

Meanwhile, there is still a ton to sort out in the AFC. The Miami Dolphins are on the road for a big one against the Buffalo Bills. Both teams have plenty on the line in this game. If the Dolphins win, they will punch their ticket to the postseason, while the Bills would get the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a victory.

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens can clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Cleveland Browns can also sew up a postseason berth if they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are expected to rest several of their starters.

Two games on the early schedule have no playoff implications but could affect the San Francisco 49ers’ draft positioning.

The 6-9 Minnesota Vikings host the 5-10 Detroit Lions. While in New England, the Patriots will host the suddenly-surging New York Jets, who have won back-to-back games after losing 13 in a row to start the season.

Minnesota, New England and San Francisco are all 6-9 going into today’s action. If the Vikings and Patriots win and the 49ers lose to the Seattle Seahawks later today, the Niners would end up with the highest pick out of the three teams.

What are your predictions for the morning games?