Playoff Push: Final Week of NFL Regular Season Full of Do-or-Die Matchups and Injury Concerns

Tampa Bay, FL – It’s the final week of the 2023 NFL regular season, and the stakes have never been higher. With 20 teams still in Super Bowl contention, this year ties the record for the most teams vying for a playoff spot in NFL history. The weekend is filled with do-or-die matchups as teams fight to clinch division crowns or secure wild card spots.

Injuries are a common concern for every team this late in the season, with many franchises opting to rest their starters. Let’s take a look at the final injury reports for the regular season, starting with the two Saturday matchups.

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a win against the Baltimore Ravens and some help from other teams to secure a playoff spot. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has been a full participant in practice all week despite an ankle issue, but Mason Rudolph will start for Pittsburgh. Defensive back Trenton Thompson, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and linebacker Elandon Roberts are all listed as questionable but were limited participants in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Ravens have already locked up the No. 1 seed and will be resting numerous starters on Saturday. They will be without cornerback Ronald Darby and safety Kyle Hamilton, both of whom are dealing with knee injuries. Marlon Humphrey, Lamar Jackson, and Daryl Worley are among the players listed as questionable.

Later on Saturday, the Houston Texans aim to secure a playoff spot with a win. However, they will be without linebacker Dylan Moses and defensive lineman Jonathan Greenard. Other starters such as quarterback Tyrod Taylor and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil are listed as questionable but expected to play.

The Indianapolis Colts have their sights set on at least a wild card spot, but they face some challenges on the offensive line. Center Ryan Kelly, guard Quenton Nelson, and tackle Braden Smith are all listed as questionable, although they were limited participants in practice on Thursday. Running back Trayveon Williams is also questionable but fully participated in practice throughout the week.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a chance to clinch the NFC South crown with a win. However, they will monitor the status of their quarterback, Baker Mayfield, who is dealing with a ribs injury. Mayfield was limited in practice on Thursday but participated fully on Friday.

In terms of other teams with significant injury concerns, the Jacksonville Jaguars might be without their starting quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, who is questionable due to a knee injury. The Kansas City Chiefs have already clinched a playoff spot and will be resting several starters. Running back Isiah Pacheco is questionable for the game due to quad and shoulder issues.

It’s crunch time in the NFL as teams battle for playoff berths. Injuries will be a factor for many of these teams as they face critical matchups in the final week of the regular season. Only time will tell which teams will emerge victorious and secure their spot in the postseason.