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Your NFL Week 17 Open Thread

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Since we, once again, find ourselves waiting all day for Sunday Night, we once again get an opportunity to make use of the Red Zone Channel to keep track of the day's NFL action leading up to this evening's NFC North title game between the Green Bay Packers and your Minnesota Vikings.

If you don't have access to the Red Zone Channel. . .my condolences. . .here is a listing of all of the games that will be taking place during this final weekend of the NFL regular season.

Early Games on CBS

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills - Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts (DirecTV Channel 710)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns - Greg Gumbel, Trent Green (DirecTV Channel 711)
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins - Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon (DirecTV Channel 714)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans - Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots (DirecTV Channel 712)
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein (DirecTV Channel 713)

Early Games on FOX

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston (DirecTV Channel 708)
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals - Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Tony Siragusa (DirecTV Channel 709)
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys - Chris Myers, Ronde Barber (DirecTV Channel 707)
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons - Sam Rosen, Matt Millen (DirecTV Channel 705)
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears - Joe Davis, Brady Quinn (DirecTV Channel 706)

There isn't a whole lot of drama to the early games, save for the final AFC playoff spot between the Steelers and Jets. The J-E-T-S are in if they win, but if the Jets lose, the Steelers can get in with a victory of their own. That team will be the #6 seed in the AFC. The Patriots will wrap up the #1 overall seed in the AFC with a win in Miami. Houston will win the AFC South unless the Colts beat the Titans and hit what would be a ridiculous parlay of games to sneak past them on strength of victory.

If you want to scout one of the Vikings' potential first round playoff opponents, the Washington/Dallas game is the only early game that involves an NFC playoff team. Washington is locked into the #4 seed in the NFC.

Also, the #1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft will be decided by the end of the early games. If the Titans lose to Indianapolis, they wrap up the #1 pick. If the Titans win and the Browns lose, Cleveland will pick #1. They are the only two teams eligible for the top overall selection.

Now, on to the late games, where most of the real drama lies.

Late Games on CBS

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos - Jim Nantz, Phil Simms (DirecTV Channel 715)
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers - Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta (DirecTV Channel 716)

Late Games on FOX

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals - Joe Buck, Troy Aikman (DirecTV Channel 719)
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs - Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch (DirecTV Channel 717)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers - Dick Stockton, David Diehl (DirecTV Channel 718)

The battle for the top seed in the NFC will be decided by the two NFC games on FOX. If the Panthers defeat the Buccaneers, the Panthers will wrap up the top seed in the NFC. If the Panthers lose and Arizona wins, the Cardinals will be the #1 seed in the conference.

The Seahawks/Cardinals game will also play a role in deciding who the Vikings play on Wild Card Weekend. Here are the three scenarios for that game.

Vikings win - Vikings host Seattle, Green Bay goes to Washington regardless of Seahawks/Cardinals result (Vikings #3 seed in NFC, Redskins #4, Packers #5, Seahawks #6)
Vikings lose, Arizona wins - Vikings travel to Washington, Green Bay hosts Seattle (Green Bay #3, Washington #4, Vikings #5, Seattle #6)
Vikings lose, Seattle wins - Vikings go back to Green Bay, Seattle goes to Washington (Green Bay #3, Washington #4, Seattle #5, Minnesota #6)

The AFC West title will also be decided in the late games. The Broncos will wrap up a first-round bye with a win over the Chargers, and could move up to #1 if the Patriots lose to the Dolphins in the early games. If the Broncos lose and the Chiefs beat the Raiders, Kansas City jumps to the #3 spot, the Bengals will move up to #2 and get a first-round bye, and Denver will fall into a wild card spot at #5.

If you have any questions about the playoff picture, the folks from PlayoffStatus.com have everything sorted out.

We're about half an hour away from the start of the final weekend of the 2015 NFL regular season, folks. Hang out and watch the games as an appetizer for the main course later on this evening. Enjoy the football!