Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signals a touchdown to the rest of his team. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)
- Which NFL teams are sitting out starters during Week 17 games?
- The Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) and Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger) are both resting their starting quarterbacks
- The Los Angeles Rams will be without injured QB Jared Goff (thumb), RB Darrell Henderson (ankle), and WR Cooper Kupp (COVID) as they play for their playoff lives against the Arizona Cardinals
Some NFL teams will be playing out the string during Week 17. Other squads will be desperately fighting to earn an invitation to the postseason, or at least to improve their playoff seeding.
Others, though, have nothing to play for in terms of the standings, and that means those teams figure to be resting some of their key starters.
Which starters are sitting? Which teams are opting to rest key players? All the latest information on this subject is below.
Which NFL Teams Are Sitting Starters In Week 17?
|Team||Are Starters Sitting Out?|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Yes|
|New Orleans Saints||No|
|Green Bay Packers||No|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||No|
Information as of 12pm EST, Jan 1st.
Which Starters Are Sitting Out For NFL Teams?
- Kansas City Chiefs – QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, WR Sammy Watkins
- Buffalo Bills – None
- Pittsburgh Steelers – QB Ben Roethlisberger, C Maurkice Pouncey, LB T.J. Watt, DE Cam Heyward
- New Orleans Saints – None
- Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff (thumb), RB Darrell Henderson (ankle), DL Michael Brockers (COVID-19), WR Cooper Kupp (COVID-19)
- Green Bay Packers – T David Bakhtiari (torn ACL)
- Miami Dolphins – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (COVID-19)
- Cleveland Browns – CB Denzel Ward (COVID-19)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – None
Steelers Opt To Sit Many Starters
The other teams in the hunt for AFC Wild Card positions might not be happy with the Steelers. Facing the 10-5 Cleveland Browns, who must win in order to clinch a postseason spot, the 12-3 Steelers are opting to rest several key starters.
Even though Pittsburgh still has the potential to gain the #2 seed in the AFC, the Steelers will go with backup Mason Rudolph at quarterback in place of starter Ben Roethlisberger. At 37, it’s understandable that Pittsburgh would want to get Big Ben some down time.
In addition to Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers will not play C Maurkice Pouncey, OLB T.J. Watt and DE Cam Heyward against the Browns on Sunday.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) December 31, 2020
However, history shows that resting Roethlisberger isn’t always prudent. The Steelers also sat him for a Week 17 season ender against the Browns. One week later, Pittsburgh was toppled 45-42 at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC playoffs.
Other starters getting the rest call for Pittsburgh are center Maurkice Pouncey, defensive end Cam Heyward and linebacker TJ Watt, the favorite to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
We’ve made the following roster moves:
Placed on reserve/COVID-19:
LB Malcolm Smith
CB Denzel Ward
Activated from reserve/COVID-19:
WR Rashard Higgins
WR KhaDarel Hodge
WR Jarvis Landry
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
LB Jacob Phillips
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 31, 2020
The Browns are 9.5-point favorites despite a COVID-19 outbreak within the club means that starting CB Denzel Ward, LB BJ Woodson, S Andrew Sendejo, TE Harrison Bryant and LB Malcolm Smith are out Sunday.
Those 9.5 points seem like too much to give. Bet the Steelers to cover.
Chiefs Resting Mahomes
Still determining whether to bet Mahomes or Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers for the NFL MVP? Well, this might be the clincher. Mahomes won’t be playing in Kansas City’s Week 17 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chiefs are the one NFL playoff team with absolutely nothing on the line on Sunday. They’ve already clinched the top seed in the AFC. Chad Henne gets the start at QB for KC.
Andy Reid announces Patrick Mahomes will not play in Week 17. Chad Henne will start against the Chargers.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 30, 2020
In fact, don’t be surprised if several other Kansas City stars are also given at least a partial rest on Sunday. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is nursing a tender hamstring. Playing him seems to be an unwise move. Travis Kelce could become the first TE to lead the NFL in receiving yardage, so it figures that he’ll play at least part of Sunday’s game.
Running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire (high ankle sprain) and Le’Veon Bell (knee) are also ailing. Edwards-Helaire is out until the playoffs. Bell is expected to be limited on Sunday.
Take the favored Chargers and lay the 3.5 points.
Rams In Tough Against Cardinals
The winner of Sunday’s Los Angeles Rams-Arizona Cardinals game in LA is guaranteed an NFC Wild Card playoff spot. If the Rams are going to get that position, they’ll need to do so minus several key offensive performers.
QB Jared Goff (thumb) is out. That means John Wolford, the former QB of the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots, will take his first snaps under center in the NFL.
John Wolford would be first QB to make his first start for a team in Week 17 with a playoff berth on the line since Kyle Orton for the 2013 Cowboys, per @EpKap. https://t.co/pMZx6VdmCI
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 29, 2020
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp (COVID-19) and running back Darrell Henderson (ankle) are also out. There’s a chance that RB Cam Akers (high ankle sprain) will be able to play, but defensive lineman Michael Brockers (COVID-19) is also out.
There was better news for the Cardinals on the injury front. QB Kyler Murray (leg) insists that he’ll play. WR DeAndre Hopkins (hip) was upgraded from did not practice to limited toward the end of the week.
Favored Arizona looks a solid play at -3.5 points.
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.