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Giants’ quarterback situation now brings timeline dilemma

working on an extension for him. That he’s managed all of this while having to turn to Lamar Jackson under center and completely reinvent the Ravens offense on the fly is a testament to his abilities. Normally, a win over the Browns would be a foregone conclusion, but this Cleveland team is vastly different from previous iterations. Mayfield has transformed the franchise, and Gregg Williams has a 5-2 record as interim head coach. Cleveland has playmakers on defense, promising complementary pieces on offense like Nick Chubb and, most of all, something of an identity forming. But for some bad work in the kicking game, the Browns easily could be a playoff team, and they have plenty of motivation to finish with a winning record after going 1-31 the previous two years.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Eagles have the look of a team that could be a real problem, provided they actually make the playoffs. The path for Philly is pretty simple — win against Washington and hope that the Vikings come up short against the Bears. The Eagles have a few things going for them. First, Nick Foles looks like 2017 Nick Foles, and that guy won a Super Bowl for the team. Second, the Bears actually have something to play for, namely a possible first-round bye, so they\’ll be highly motivated to beat the Vikings for that, and just to ruin their season. Foles scorched the Texans\’ suspect pass defense and led the Eagles on a gut-check, game-winning field-goal drive last week, but he should have at least a somewhat tougher time against a Washington defense that rates as considerably better against the pass. The problem for Washington, of course, is offense. Specifically, quarterback. There was no Foles riding to the rescue when Alex Smith got hurt, and especially not after Colt McCoy went down. If Philly scores 20 points, it feels like a safe assumption that it\’ll win.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Chiefs still need to win this game to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and that\’s bad news for a Raiders team that managed to rise up and upset the Broncos in what might have been their last game in Oakland. The Chiefs have received excellent production from Damien Williams in his two games as a starter, and Oakland\’s run defense is porous, to say the least. The Chiefs can\’t afford to mess around in this one, so an all-business effort should be expected. The Raiders probably don\’t have much left in the tank, as it stands to reason that they would be emotionally drained coming off last week\’s win. One potentially troubling sign for Kansas City is this: It is 9-0 against non-playoff teams and only 2-4 against teams who would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. That\’s a troubling trend, and one that might foretell a short stay in the postseason, unless Kansas City finds a way to be a little bit better on the defensive side.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

There is still plenty at stake for the Bears in this game. A win coupled with a Rams loss to San Francisco would give the Bears the No. 2 seed in the NFC and the accompanying first-round bye. It would also put the Vikings in a precarious position, needing an Eagles loss to maintain their sixth seed. Chicago has been one of the biggest surprises in the league this year, its success fueled by an efficient offense and an opportunistic defense that ranks first in the league with 36 takeaways. The Bears forced three turnovers the first time these teams met, but that game was in Chicago, and the Vikings weren\’t quite as desperate as they will be for this one. Chicago\’s main vulnerability is its rushing offense. If the run is taken away and Mitch Trubisky is forced to win games, the Bears can be had. That is not to say that Trubisky isn\’t capable — his 96.0 passer rating is perfectly solid. But he\’s still not far enough along to where he can be counted on to deliver an excellent performance each week. Minnesota needs its running game, trending upward of late, to be great.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Steelers let one slip away despite playing a mostly excellent game in New Orleans, and now they find themselves on the outside looking in on the AFC playoff chase. Mike Tomlin\’s team needs a win here and a Cleveland victory over the Ravens to qualify for the postseason, and fortunately for them, the Bengals appear to have packed things in for the year. Jeff Driskel inspires absolutely no one, and though the Bengals will no doubt want to play spoiler, it\’s hard to imagine them pulling a repeat of last year, where a victory in Baltimore kept the Ravens out of the playoffs. Even Cincy\’s usual shenanigans against the Steelers could be muted on account of the game being in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will undoubtedly try to put this one away early, and the dynamic duo of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster should be enough to overwhelm Marvin Lewis\’ ragtag bunch. The Bengals are 1-6 in their last seven, but that probably won\’t be enough to put Lewis\’ job at peril.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Chargers missed out on a big opportunity to grab the top position in the AFC — they had no answers for the Ravens last Saturday night. Still, there is plenty at stake for Los Angeles, though admittedly, the prospect of the Chiefs losing to Oakland, which, coupled with an L.A. win would give the Chargers the AFC\’s top seed, is unlikely. The Chargers have been pretty consistent all year, but if there is one element of their game that perhaps could use some work, it\’s their running attack. Baltimore shut them down, and before that, they had been something of a mixed bag, though it didn\’t seem to affect Philip Rivers\’ play in any tangible, negative way. Still, more balance would go a long way for a team that will be picked by many to come out of the Wild Card Round and win the conference. Winning this game would be a statement, as the Broncos, despite their flaws and the likelihood that Vance Joseph is out as head coach, are still a tough out at home. Seeing Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen both look sharp would be a boon for the Bolts as well.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

No team has gone from prohibitive favorite to possible one-and-done faster than the Rams. They look out of sync on offense, and even a thrashing of the woeful Cardinals couldn\’t have done much to ease the fears of the faithful. If Jared Goff is right and Todd Gurley is healthy, it is conceivable that Los Angeles could right the ship in a hurry and in emphatic fashion. If they aren\’t, the Rams could very well lose to a game Niners team that no doubt wants to spring a major upset on their division rival. San Francisco has been feisty the last three weeks, going 2-1, including an overtime upset of Seattle. Thing is, all three of those games have been at home, and this one isn\’t. Nick Mullens has played well enough to at least open some eyes around the league about his prospects as a long-term backup, though if he pulls a shocker here, his stock will rise considerably. He\’ll have to deal with Aaron Donald, newly in possession of the single-season sack record for an interior lineman, and that\’s not a pleasant experience for just about any opposing quarterback.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

Arizona is one of many teams seemingly playing out the string, and as of this moment, the Cardinals would have the top pick in next year\’s draft. Outside of Chandler Jones, the Cards don\’t have an elite pass-rusher, but Nick Bosa would change that in a hurry and make their defense much more fearsome. Their real problem on that side of the ball is against the run, however, which makes the Seahawks an absolutely terrible opponent. No team is more committed to the ground game than Seattle, and arguably no team is better at it, either. The Seahawks don\’t have anything to play for, as they\’ll enter the playoffs as the five or six seed in the NFC, but that still isn\’t a good reason to pick against them. No matter who they sit, the Seahawks should be able to run the ball with impunity. Pete Carroll has claimed that he won\’t rest his starters, but if they handle Arizona like they should, they might find themselves sitting most of the second half.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

What better way to end the regular season than with a de facto playoff game? The stakes here are simple: The winner qualifies for the playoffs, and the loser does not. The only doomsday scenario for both teams involves a tie, which, coupled with a Steelers win, would send both packing and Pittsburgh to the playoffs. Indy is the hotter team of the two, having won eight of nine, but the Titans are winners of four in a row and have home-field advantage on their side. The crowd should be boisterous, and the key matchup is obvious. Can the Colts rush defense, which ranks sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed, slow down Derrick Henry, who has resembled a runaway freight train in recent weeks? Whichever team wins that particular battle will most likely win the game and the playoff berth that comes with it. That having been said, one imagines that the rest of the AFC will be rooting for the Titans, because everyone knows what Andrew Luck is capable of if he gets a seat at the table.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

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Original article: https://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/giants_quarterback_situation_now_brings_timeline_dilemma/s1_13132_28097642

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