Much of the week 17 games revolve around how much playing time the starters will get based on the different priorities of the competing teams. Both the Miami Dolphins (4.65*) and New England Patriots (1.235*) are playoff bound, but their seeding position is not yet set in stone.
Miami are the current number six seed with fifth a possibility. The 5th seed would only host a playoff game if both they and the 6th seed advanced to the Championship game.
The former will travel to Houston and the latter to a more challenging meeting in Pittsburgh on the opening wildcard weekend.
New England could drop to 2nd, should they fail in Miami and Oakland win in Denver and they would then go on the road for the Championship game, should Oakland also progress that far.
Throughout their long, successful association, the Patriot’s head coach, Bill Belichick has used quarterback Tom Brady extensively in the final regular season game.
Brady has thrown 85% of New England’s week 17 pass attempts since he entered the league in 2001.
Offensively, New England are as ever excellent in the passing game. They are impressively above average through the air and below par on the ground and have scored 27 points per game against defences that have allowed just 23 ppg.
Opponents struggle to run the ball efficiently against the Patriots and have been restricted to just under 16 ppg, when they typically average 20.6 ppg.
Miami, in keeping with many of the AFC’s playoff teams are far from settled at quarterback. Although late season injury has treated Ryan Tannehill more kindly than it has Derek Carr in Oakland - the Raiders quarterback will not take a snap in the post season.
The Dolphins score 23.3 ppg against defences that allow the same and allow 23 ppg against teams that typically average just 21.6 ppg.
Their 8-2 record in close games and a meagre season long +4 points differential is a cause for concern and New England should be favoured by at least a touchdown.
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*Odds subject to change