Monday NFL preview: Rex Ryan, Bills have chance to spoil Jets' playoff hopes

Sammy Watkins, Sean Lee earn Bills-Cowboys game balls (1:42)

Sammy Watkins earns Mike Rodak's game ball for his five catches in Sunday's win over the Cowboys. Todd Archer hands his game ball to Sean Lee for his 15 tackle afternoon. (1:42)

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Monday has in store for each team.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills essentially won a preseason game Sunday over the Cowboys -- both teams are out of the playoff race -- but their finale next Sunday against the Jets will have more meaning. The Bills have a chance to keep their division rival out of the playoffs, and that prompted running back Boobie Dixon to call the game the Bills' Super Bowl. "We got something to play for now," he said. "We been having something to play for -- that's our respect and our pride. We always want that. But to send them home packing -- that would be great." -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: Dolphins rookie center Jamil Douglas felt terrible after snapping the ball too soon on the final offensive play in their loss to the Colts. It was a mental error at a crucial point of the game, but Douglas said he will get it fixed. Teammates and interim coach Dan Campbell all supported Douglas in the locker room afterward and said he will become a better player after learning from Sunday's loss. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: The Patriots had three players leave Sunday's loss to the Jets with injuries and not return -- starting offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (left leg), backup offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle (shoulder) and No. 3-4 cornerback Justin Coleman (head) -- while starting defensive end Rob Ninkovich was also hobbling in the locker room after the game. For a team that was already banged up, assessing the severity of the injuries is naturally a top priority. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The Jets will face former coach Rex Ryan in a season finale that is a virtual playoff game: Win and they're in. Linebacker Calvin Pace, who played six years under Ryan, predicted it will be "a bloodbath." "It is going to be a tough one," he said. "They are not going to be playing for a playoff spot, but Rex will have those guys ready to go and fired up." -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: Quarterback Ryan Mallett earned a start in the Ravens' season finale in Cincinnati after passing for a career-high 274 yards and one touchdown in an upset win over the Steelers, coach John Harbaugh announced after the game. Mallett took a strong first step in becoming Joe Flacco's backup in 2016. The challenge Sunday will be tougher because he is facing a top-10 defense in the Bengals and not the 31st-ranked pass defense in the Steelers. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals had the best Sunday they could have dreamed for, considering they didn't have a game to play. A Steelers loss clinched the Bengals' fourth AFC North title, and a Patriots loss kept Cincinnati's hopes for the AFC's top seed alive. In order to obtain that 1-seed, the Bengals have to win Monday night at Denver (and win next week against Baltimore while the Patriots also lose to the Dolphins). Winning won't be easy. After all, backup quarterback AJ McCarron will be facing the NFL's top-ranked defense. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Johnny Manziel gets one more chance to beat a winning team and burnish his credentials to be the Browns' starter heading into the offseason. It won't be easy, though, as he will face the Steelers at home with Pittsburgh needing a win to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive. Manziel has defeated Tennessee and San Francisco this season, but he has lost to the four winning teams he has played. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers try to pick up the pieces after an emotional loss to the Ravens that takes the playoff picture out of their hands and places it into the Jets' hands. The Steelers lost some of their offensive mojo Sunday, and though the Browns will likely help them rekindle it, that might not matter much anymore. The Steelers were so hot offensively that they showed no signs of a letdown; the plays that went their way for so long suddenly abandoned them. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been around long enough to grasp this NFL truism: "It's really a game of inches and we just didn't make the plays to stay on the field." The team will report to work without a Victory Monday for the first time in nearly a month. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a favorite target of every Texans quarterback, but so far Brandon Weeden's completion percentage when throwing to Hopkins is the best of any player who has thrown to him this season. Weeden has completed two-thirds of his passes to Hopkins in the past two games. He said Hopkins doesn't make much noise or demand the ball, but he told Hopkins, "I'd be stupid not to throw it to you." -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who said he's not optimistic that he'll play against Tennessee next week, will have an MRI done on his right shoulder Monday. Hasselbeck suffered the injury when he took a hit from Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in the second quarter Sunday. Hasselbeck left the game and was replaced by Charlie Whitehurst. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars gave up a season-high 412 yards passing to Saints quarterback Drew Brees and have given up 11 touchdown passes in the past five weeks. Here's a bigger problem, only three quarterbacks have completed less than 61 percent of their passes against the Jaguars : Cam Newton, EJ Manuel, and Matt Hasselbeck. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: The Titans have six players they drafted in the first round on their roster. They could play the last game of 2015 without four of them -- quarterback Marcus Mariota has a sprained knee, left tackle Taylor Lewan suffered a concussion Sunday, wide receiver Kendall Wright suffered his second knee injury of the year Sunday and outside linebacker Derrick Morgan (shoulder) is on IR. That would leave right guard Chance Warmack and free safety Michael Griffin as the lone Tennessee-drafted first-rounders to play the season finale at Indianapolis. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: Despite not scoring in the second half of the their past three games, the Broncos think they've seen glimmers of the kind of an offense they'll need in the coming weeks if they want to do something simply beyond making the postseason. The key is running the ball -- the Broncos' best production offensively this season has coincided with their best days running the ball. To do that Monday night against the Bengals, Broncos center Matt Paradis, as well as their three-guard rotation of Louis Vasquez, Evan Mathis and Max Garcia, all need to have their best outings of the season. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have a lot riding on Monday's game between the Broncos and Bengals. A Denver loss means the Chiefs need only a victory over the Raiders next Sunday to win the AFC West title. If Denver wins, the Chiefs could still be division champs by beating the Raiders as long as Denver loses its final regular-season game to the Chargers. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: Will we see Charles Woodson on offense in his final game Sunday at Kansas City? It's possible, but I'd say probably not. The Raiders had a designed offensive play for Woodson, who played defense and offense at Michigan when he won the Heisman Trophy 18 years ago. The Raiders used Woodson as a receiver on a play from the San Diego 10-yard line in overtime of Oakland's win Thursday night. Woodson got the ball on a reverse that went from quarterback Derek Carr to fullback Marcel Reece to Woodson. It was a run/pass-option play, which Oakland coach Jack Del Rio dubbed "The Heisman Pass." Woodson looked like he was going to throw it because it ended up losing three yards. Because the Chiefs will be aware of the play, I doubt we see Woodson back on offense this week. But it was entertaining while it lasted. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: While the Chargers have just one win since Week 5, the defense has held its own of late. Since Week 12, the Chargers are giving up just 17.8 points a game, putting them in the top 10 in the league in points allowed during that stretch. Players like rookie inside linebacker Denzel Perryman and edge rusher Melvin Ingram have emerged as playmakers. "Right now it's just a mindset, and we're all playing together," Perryman said. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have guaranteed themselves their worst record since 2002 with their 11th loss of the season. A season that started with Super Bowl expectations now has the Cowboys looking at a possible top-five pick in next spring's draft. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones did not speak after the game, marking the first time he has been silent postgame. Is it a sign of Jones' frustration with where the Cowboys are with one game to go? There have been no rumblings of any major coaching changes, but Jones will be looking for answers when the season ends. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was suspended for Sunday's game for his aggressive actions in last week's loss to Carolina, is eligible to return to the Giants' team facility Monday and return to team meetings and practices in advance of Sunday's regular-season finale against the Eagles. People who've spoken with Beckham say he was hurt by having to miss a game and expect him to return determined to finish the season with a big finale. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: With the Eagles playing a meaningless final game, don't expect coach Chip Kelly to use it as an opportunity to audition any young players for next season. He didn't do it last year and won't do it this year. Kelly said the plan was to try to win the game against the Giants. That is Kelly's plan for every game, which makes the Eagles' 6-9 record that much more disappointing. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins are still deciding who they might rest for Sunday's season finale at Dallas. They clinched the NFC East on Saturday night and have a number of players who have been playing hurt, notably defensive end Jason Hatcher, right tackle Morgan Moses and safety Dashon Goldson. Also, defensive back DeAngelo Hall injured his calf Saturday and was limping noticeably in the postgame locker room. Coach Jay Gruden said he would consider resting quarterback Kirk Cousins, depending in part on which linemen play. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: The Bears suffered several injuries in Sunday's win at Tampa, but only nose tackle Eddie Goldman's ankle injury appears serious. Goldman had to be carted back to the locker room during the game. Center Hroniss Grasu and defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, however, both returned to action after sustaining injuries, and Matt Forte downplayed a tight back in the postgame locker room. Coach John Fox is expected to provide an injury update Monday when the Bears know the severity of Goldman's ankle problem. The second-round pick is having a promising rookie season. The last thing the Bears want is for Goldman to spend part of his offseason rehabbing an injury. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: The Lions began using receiver TJ Jones more when Lance Moore was hurt earlier this month, and the second-year pro out of Notre Dame has started to look sharper and sharper each week. He had a tough reception in double coverage on Sunday for his first NFL touchdown -- a play that he said after came at him really fast. He's starting to show enough where he could figure into the team's 2016 plans as a No. 3 receiver, no matter the coaching staff. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: What else could Packers coach Mike McCarthy say after the Packers were thoroughly dismantled in Sunday's loss at Arizona other than this? "The most important thing is how we respond to this." It's the only thing they can cling to at this point with the NFC North title up for grabs on Sunday against the Vikings at Lambeau Field. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings brought back three injured defensive starters -- Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr and Linval Joseph -- for Sunday's game against the Giants, and they appear to be close to full health heading into their Week 17 NFC North title game against the Packers. Considering the battered state of the Packers' offensive line, the Vikings' aggressive defense could have a favorable matchup next Sunday night. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan got banged up throughout Sunday's win over previously undefeated Carolina. But Ryan shook it off and ended up completing 23 of 30 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. "He took some shots," wide receiver Julio Jones said of Ryan. "He knows we're going to be there for him. And we know how he's going to go out there and give his all. ... You could hear it in his voice. He had took a shot, you could hear it in his voice. He could barely get the play call out. But he stayed out there." -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers could be looking for outside help at running back with Fozzy Whittaker suffering a sprained ankle and Jonathan Stewart having missed two games with a sprained foot. Carolina is down to fullback Mike Tolbert and rookie running back Cameron Artis-Payne. This could also mean some playing time for undrafted rookie Brandon Wegher, who was the star of their preseason but hasn't played in the regular season. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: To the dismay of fans hoping for the best draft choice possible, the Saints have decided to keep fighting toward the finish line -- which is why quarterback Drew Brees threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's victory over the Jaguars despite tearing the plantar fascia in his right heel six days earlier. If the Saints (6-9) win again at Atlanta in Week 17, they can avoid their worst record in the Sean Payton-Brees era. Brees has said a strong finish is important to prove the team is headed in the right direction. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has 8.5 sacks, just a half a sack from his career high of 9.0 set in 2013. McCoy had 8.5 sacks a year ago as well. His 35.5 total sacks are the fifth most in team history. -- Rick Brown


Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals clinched at least the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a dominating win over the Packers on Sunday. The defense harassed Green Bay all game, finishing with nine sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception, plus two touchdowns. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: The Rams pulled off another road upset in the NFC West division Sunday, knocking off Seattle to improve to 7-8. They don't have a chance to reach the postseason, but they do have an opportunity next week to do something they haven't done since 2006: finish 8-8. It would be a small step forward, but the fact that they're even in position to make it happen is impressive considering they were 4-8 and riding a five-game losing streak about a month ago. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: DuJuan Harris on Sunday became the ninth running back to get a rushing attempt for the injury-wracked Niners this season, and he had a career-high 74 rushing yards -- in the first half. But after carrying the ball twice and losing a yard in the second half, coach Jim Tomsula was asked why the Niners went away from the guy who was on the Ravens' practice squad a mere six days earlier. As Tomsula put it, with the Niners chasing points against the Lions, they had to pass more and Harris' understanding of the pass protection concepts were not up to speed. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: The biggest concern for the Seahawks from their loss to the Rams on Sunday was the play of the offensive line. Quarterback Russell Wilson took four sacks and was hit 13 times. Running backs Christine Michael and Bryce Brown carried 13 times for 15 yards. The group has improved greatly from earlier in the season, but against St. Louis, the Seahawks lost the battle up front all game long. -- Sheil Kapadia