This column is meant to offer our best predictions on what players will/will not play, as of 8 AM ET on Sunday. For the official active/inactive reports, please see our Latest NFL Player News.
The final week of the regular season is upon us, and while many leagues crowned their champions over Christmas weekend, there's still plenty also culminating in Week 17. It's a particularly interesting week for injuries, as plenty of non-contending teams have already ruled out players that are nursing ailments of varying severity, while postseason qualifiers with nothing more to gain are also playing it safe with their key pieces. With so many moving parts, keeping an eye on inactives is particularly important, but let's dive into what the landscape across the league looks like as of early Sunday morning:
As per early Sunday morning reports, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger will not play in Sunday's finale against the Browns, seemingly corroborating comments earlier this week from Pittsburgh offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert that indicated that No. 2 quarterback Landry Jones would get the start. It makes sense for the team to err on the side of caution, as their only chance of improving playoff positioning and securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason would be dependent on the improbable scenario of the Jets upsetting the Patriots (in addition to the Steelers defeating Cleveland).
The Chiefs' Alex Smith (coach's decision) will take a seat in Sunday's finale against the Broncos with Kansas City locked into the AFC's No.