Dak Prescott threw a career-high five touchdown passes and broke a franchise-record single-season record as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 on Saturday.

Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards, claiming the Cowboys' record for most single-season touchdown passes, going past Tony Romo's mark of 36.

The win improves means the Cowboys finish the regular season with a 12-5 record but will need to wait on Sunday's result to learn their NFC seeding which could be as high as second and as low as fourth.

Dallas head into the playoffs with a 5-1 run across their past six games after a two-game mid-season losing streak and go 6-0 in the NFC East.

Cedric Wilson (119 yards for five receptions) and Dalton Schultz both scored two TDs, while Corey Clement, Ito Smith and JaQuan Hardy also got on the scoresheet.

Upon Hardy's 22-yard rushing touchdown, the Cowboys broke the record for most players (22) to score a TD in a single season.

The Eagles, who rested numerous key players, are playoffs bound despite a 9-8 record. Eagles QB Gardner Minshew, who stepped in for Jalen Hurts due to an ankle injury, threw 19 of 33 passes for 186 yards and two TDs with one interception.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes says his side will be ready to win during the playoffs irrespective of whether they claim the AFC's top seeding.

The Chiefs improved their record to 12-5 with Saturday's 28-24 win over the Denver Broncos, which was Kansas City's 13th straight road win against AFC West opposition.

The result means the Tennessee Titans have to beat the Houston Texans on Sunday to move above the Chiefs to claim the AFC's top seed.

"We'll watch the game and everything like that," Mahomes told ESPN after the game.

"We handled our business today. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Regardless we'll be ready to win some football games."

The Chiefs may have clinched the top seed on Saturday had they not gone down 34-31 to the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, snapping their eight-game win streak.

Mahones, who threw two touchdowns and completed 27 of 44 passes for 270 yards, said the Chiefs needed to improve if they were going to make a long playoffs run.

"We've got to be better. We've got what it takes," Mahomes said.

"We've got everybody in the locker room to do what we want to do but we've got to be better if we want to make a run through the AFC because it's a tough division."

The Chiefs appeared in danger of a loss to the Broncos until ex-Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram's tackle on Broncos running back Melvin Gordon forced a fumble which rookie Nick Bolton scooped and scored from in the fourth quarter.

"That was a heck of a play by Melvin Ingram," Mahomes said. "That's the reason why we got him here. He makes plays like that."

Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes but Missouri rookie Nick Bolton came up with the key play as the Kansas City Chiefs kept their AFC top seeding hopes alive with a seesawing 28-24 win over the Denver Broncos.

Bolton delivered a 86-yard scoop and score to give the Chiefs a lead they would not relinquish in the fourth quarter after Melvin Ingram's tackle forced a fumble from Broncos running back Melvin Gordon.

The result means the Chiefs (12-5) will claim the AFC top seed if the Tennessee Titans (11-5) fail to beat the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The victory was also the Chiefs's 13th straight road win against AFC West opponents.

Mahomes completed 27 of 44 passes for 270 yards with two TD passes for Travis Kelce in the first quarter and Jerick McKinnon in the third. The Kansas City QB also rushed 54 yards from nine carries.

The Broncos, who will finish last in the AFC West with a 7-10 record, were difficult to shake all game, with QB Drew Lock rushing two touchdowns, while running back Gordon scored a 47-yard TD to put them up 20-17 in the third.

The Chiefs found the match-winning play in the fourth quarter as the Broncos closed the nine-yard line after a 10-play drive with Ingram forcing the error and Lock unable to tackle Bolton.

Most of the games in the additional week added to the NFL season have little meaning.

However, the much-publicised 'biggest season ever' will end in dream fashion for the league, with the Las Vegas Raiders hosting what essentially amounts to a play-in game in their shiny new stadium against a Los Angeles Chargers team trying to become big business in one of the largest media markets.

It is winner-take-all, with the victor securing a place in the Wild Card round and the loser left to wonder what might have been.

And, given the teams involved, it is certain to attract monster ratings as the primetime finale to the regular season.

That begs a little-discussed question. Should the NFL, having already extended the regular season and the postseason, follow the NBA's lead and make play-in games a permanent fixture of the calendar by instituting a play-in tournament?

NBA tournament met with criticism

The NBA implemented play-in games for the 2019-20 season and expanded to a play-in tournament, contested by seeds 7-10 in each conference, for 2020-21.

It received sharp criticism from LeBron James, who said: "Whoever came up with that s*** needs to be fired."

Yet James produced the most compelling argument for the play-in tournament remaining in place as his Los Angeles Lakers met the Golden State Warriors in the 7-8 matchup and he hit the decisive three-pointer over Stephen Curry in a 103-100 thriller.

Such high-profile names delivering such high-stakes drama will have only vindicated those in the league office who backed the play-in tournament, and surely somebody among the NFL's powers that be will have paid attention.

Marquee matchups

The NFL does not need star names to be on show for people to watch. As the United States' number one sports league, primetime NFL games typically attract huge television audiences regardless of who is playing.

There is little doubt a play-in tournament would be a success in that sense, and in it would provide some hugely attractive matchups this season.

With seven teams from each conference qualifying for the playoffs, an equivalent tournament in the NFL would need to involve the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth seeds.

Were the season to end today, that would mean a bracket with the Indianapolis Colts, Chargers, Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings would contest the tournament.

In other words, it would put eight franchises steeped in history into winner-take-all games in front of massive international audiences.

Additionally, it would prevent awkward tiebreaking scenarios such as the one that could come to pass in the NFC, where the Niners will miss out if they, the Eagles and Saints all finish 9-8 because of an inferior conference record, this despite them beating the Eagles in Week 2 of the regular season.

Yet a play-in tournament would likely meet stern opposition for several reasons.

Safety concerns

The decisions to expand the playoff field to 14 and then extend the regular season by an extra game were not exactly wildly popular, and it's unlikely the NFL Players Association would be thrilled about eight teams potentially having to play two more games just to get into the playoffs.

Those teams would be at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the field that would have the benefit of a bye week, though the counter-argument would be that winning your division - and therefore avoiding the tournament - would be more meaningful.

And beyond concerns about player safety, asking teams to possibly risk losing a playoff place to a team they outperformed in the regular season is likely to be an extremely tough sell.

The NFL is not exactly struggling for eyeballs, so at this point adding a play-in tournament would be viewed by many as needless following the recent expansion of the schedule, with the negatives in terms of player safety and potential competitive disadvantages in the early rounds of the playoffs outweighing the benefits in revenue and eliminating tiebreakers.

But, with the 17th regular-season game perceived by some as a stepping stone to an 18th, there is no guarantee the NFL is done with schedule expansion. And, nothing, not even what would certainly be a controversial play-in tournament, can be ruled out.

Kyle Shanahan refused to reveal who the San Francisco 49ers will start at quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo listed as questionable ahead of their critical Week 18 clash with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Niners visit SoFi Stadium on Sunday aiming to extend their winning streak over the Rams to six games. A victory in the regular-season finale will clinch a playoff berth for the second time in three seasons.

Should the 49ers lose, then they would need the New Orleans Saints to suffer defeat to the Atlanta Falcons to secure their spot in the Wild Card round. A San Francisco loss and a Saints win would put New Orleans in the playoffs.

They will be facing a Rams team looking to clinch the NFC West title for the first time since the 2018 season.

And it remains unclear whether the Niners will do so with Garoppolo or rookie third overall pick Trey Lance under center.

Garoppolo missed the 49ers' 23-7 win over the Houston Texans in Week 17 after suffering a torn ligament in his right thumb in San Francisco's Week 16 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

After a shaky first half, Lance impressed in his stead, throwing for 249 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while adding 31 yards on the ground.

The 21-year-old, making only his second start, averaged the most air yards per attempt (11.91) of any quarterback last week and delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 82.6 per cent of his attempts.

However, Garoppolo has practiced in a limited capacity for three straight days, boosting hopes of a return to the starting line-up that head coach Shanahan would not confirm.

Garoppolo was listed as questionable and Shanahan told a media conference: "He had a good week. Yeah, a good week of practice when he was in there. I feel good with where he is at right now."

He added: "I know what we're doing. I just don't feel like telling you right now.

"I'm not deciding Sunday morning. We don't have any practice left. I know where Jimmy's at today. I know where Trey's at. I know where our team is at and I feel pretty good about where we're at, so I'm excited to get to Sunday. I am really glad I don't have any press conferences after today.

"I think you guys understand why you don't announce it. But regardless, especially with Trey playing last week, we've got two guys here with some experience that our team feels good with and we'll see how it plays out."

San Francisco's Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams has not practiced all week and is listed as questionable. In the secondary, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley is expected to return from an ankle injury while rookie corner Ambry Thomas came off the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Corners K'Waun Williams, Dontae Johnson and Deommodore Lenoir and starting free safety Jimmie Ward remain on the COVID-19 list, though both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have expressed confidence more members of their secondary will be activated off the list on Saturday.

The Green Bay Packers have activated All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander from the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he is not expected to play in their regular-season finale.

Alexander, who was named to the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro honours last season, has not played since the Packers' Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers when he suffered a shoulder injury.

He was activated from injured reserve last week but did not play as the Packers claimed the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a blowout win over the Minnesota Vikings and was on Monday placed on the COVID-19 list.

Despite coming off the list on Friday, head coach Matt LaFleur does not foresee Alexander playing in a meaningless game against the Detroit Lions.

"I would not anticipate Jaire playing. Just only having the one day [of practice] this week, I don't want to put him out there," LaFleur said.

However, quarterback and MVP favourite Aaron Rodgers will play at least some of the game at Ford Field ahead of the Packers' first-round bye.

Confirming Rodgers will start, LaFleur said: "I don't think he needs to play. I think he wants to play and keep the momentum going."

Russell Wilson insists his plan is to win more Super Bowl titles with the Seattle Seahawks as speculation over his NFL future continues.

Ahead of last week's crushing 51-29 win over the Detroit Lions, Wilson had acknowledged the uncertainty, admitting that game could be his last at home with the franchise.

There have been reports that the partnership of quarterback Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll will not continue in Seattle for the 2022 season.

The speculation comes after the Seahawks have struggled and sit bottom of the NFC West at 6-10 going into their season finale at the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Wilson had previously expressed frustration in the offseason and his agent revealed a small group of teams the 33-year-old would be prepared to waive his no-trade clause for.

Going into the Cardinals game, though, Wilson suggested he was not agitating for a move.

"My goal is to win more Super Bowls, and my plan is to win them here," he said.

"It is that simple. There is nothing really else other than that.

"We have always thought I would be here. That has always been my goal — to win multiple Super Bowls, and my plan is to be here and do that. You take every day and you just enjoy the moment."

Wilson, a Super Bowl champion in 2013, was also asked about the no-trade clause that exists in the contract he signed back in 2019.

"I think first of all when it comes to a no-trade clause in sports, the main reason is so teams can't trade somebody to anywhere," he said.

"That is the number one reason, right, because in sports you could wake up the next morning, and you are gone somewhere else.

"The certainty is today to give everything that I have and then when we get to Sunday, it is to ball out, have a great game, and do what I know how to do best. 

"That is the only thing I know, I don't know anything else. There is no uncertainty in that sense for me, that is how my mindset has always been, so I'm grateful to be able to put my cleats on again and go after it."

While the Seahawks have been eliminated from postseason contention, the Cardinals (11-5) will be in the playoffs.

They could still win the NFC West but must win against Seattle and hope the Los Angeles Rams slip up against the San Francisco 49ers.

Seattle, meanwhile, are guaranteed a losing record for the first time since Wilson was drafted in 2012.

The Seahawks will finish with double-digit losses for the first time since 2009, ending a streak of 11 straight years without 10 or more losses which was the longest in franchise history.

Wilson has 2,875 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2021 after missing three games earlier in the season due to a broken finger he suffered against the Rams in Week 5.

The 18th and final round of the NFL regular season is upon us and there remains plenty of intrigue in a frantic scramble to make it to the playoffs.

Five teams from the AFC are competing for two postseason berths, while one spot is up for grabs in the NFC. 

Away from the Super Bowl picture, there are a number of other intriguing subplots ahead of an action-packed weekend.

Stats Perform previews some of the standout games and the best of the rest.

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) @ Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)

The winner of this contest is guaranteed a playoff spot, while there is also a scenario whereby a tie could see both advance. Interestingly, six of the previous seven games in Oakland/Las Vegas have been decided by three points or fewer.

The Raiders beat the Colts on a last-second field goal last week to prevail 23-20 – their fifth win of the season by four points or fewer, tied with the Packers and the Titans for the most in the NFL.

Justin Herbert set the single-season passing touchdowns record for the Chargers last week with his 35th of the campaign. He now requires 172 yards this week to also take the passing-yards record.

The Chargers' 34-13 win against the Broncos was their fourth victory in a win while scoring 30 points or more. They have averaged 33.9 points per game in wins this season, second most in the NFL behind the Bills (35.1).

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

The Steelers have won three in a row against the Ravens, with all three of those victories being decided by less than a touchdown, the most recent coming by a 20-19 scoreline last month.

Last week's 12-point win over the Browns was the Steelers' largest of the season, though not since 1969 have they gone a full campaign without winning by at least 13 points.

The Ravens are coming off the back of a 20-19 loss to the Rams, their league-leading eighth game decided by three or fewer points this season – no team in NFL history has had more than nine games decided by three or fewer points.

Najee Harris rushed for 188 of the Steelers' 190 rushing yards against the Browns and accounts for 77.9 per cent of his side's rush yards this season, the highest share of any player in the NFL.


Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) @ Denver Broncos (7-9)

The Chiefs will be looking to respond to their defeat against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17 when they take on the Broncos, whom they have defeated in 12 successive meetings – the league's joint-longest active winning streak along with the New England Patriots against the New York Jets.

Despite last week's defeat, the Chiefs have scored at least 30 points in four successive games, which is the longest-running streak in the NFL and one short of their all-time record of five set in 2004 and 2018.

Kansas lead the way in the NFL with 391 first downs this season and, with nine more this weekend, will become the fifth team in the last 70 years with 400 or more first downs in a season.

The Broncos were defeated by the Chargers last time out to ensure a losing season for the fifth straight year, an unwanted run they last went on from 1963 to 1972 with 10 straight losing seasons.


The Jaguars require a victory against the Colts to avoid becoming the fourth team in the last 30 years to have consecutive seasons with two or fewer wins. The Colts have lost three games this season by exactly three points – the Seahawks are the only team this season that has failed to win a single game by three or fewer points with more losses in such games (0-5).

The Rams can clinch their third NFC West title in six seasons season since moving back to Los Angeles with victory over the 49ers. However, the Niners have won each of their last five meetings with the Rams.

The Falcons have three successive wins against the Saints in Atlanta and are seeking a fourth in a row for the first time since between 1991 and 1994. Following defeat to the Bills last week, the Falcons have alternated between wins and losses over their last seven games.

The Bills can clinch their second consecutive division title with victory against the Jets, following on from a previous run of 24 straight seasons without finishing top. All 10 of Buffalo's wins this season have come by 12 points or more.

Antonio Brown's Tampa Bay Buccaneers career is officially over after his contract was terminated on Thursday.

There was drama when Brown astonishingly made a bizarre exit from the Bucs' win over the New York Jets last Sunday.

Brown removed his jersey and pads and left the field with Tampa Bay trailing 24-10 in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium, the wide receiver jumping in the endzone and waving to fans before running down the tunnel.

He subsequently left the stadium in an Uber and there was never likely to be a way back for the 33-year-old.

Brown accused Tampa Bay of a cover-up in a lengthy statement, revealing he will have surgery on his injured ankle.

He then on Thursday took to social media to post screenshots of text exchanges he had with Bruce Arians last week, informing the Bucs head coach that he was struggling with the ankle problem.

Brown then tweeted: "Don't get it twisted. My brothers have been good to me. From Tom [Brady] to practice squad, we were a top-level unit.

"They have been good to me and knew nothing about my talks with coach last week. The team mishandled this situation. They let me down and, more importantly, my teammates."

Tampa Bay later confirmed Brown has been released.

The franchise said in a statement: "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of Antonio Brown, effective immediately.

"While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday's game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play.

"We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopaedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied.

"Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organisation."

Antonio Brown has accused the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of a cover-up in a lengthy statement following his bizarre exit from their game with the New York Jets, while also revealing he will have surgery on his injured ankle.

Brown's time with the Buccaneers came to a remarkable end on Sunday when he took off his jersey and pads and left the field with Tampa Bay trailing 24-10 in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium, the wide receiver jumping in the endzone and waving to fans before running down the tunnel. He subsequently left the stadium in an Uber.

After the Bucs' comeback win, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said Brown was "no longer a Buc".

Brown has yet to be officially released, but the four-time first-team All-Pro claims that happened on the sideline and, in a statement released through his lawyer Sean Burstyn, hit back at accusations he quit on his team.

Explaining last Sunday's incident, the statement read in part: "I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured. Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team. I played until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities.

"On top of that, the pain was extreme. I took a seat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, "What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you?" I told him, "It's my ankle." But he knew that.

"He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, "Coach, I can't". He didn't call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, "YOU'RE DONE!" while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn't play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.

"I didn't quit, I was cut. I didn't walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out. Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their "spin". Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That's 100% inaccurate.

"I am reflecting on my reaction, but there was a trigger. The trigger was someone telling me that I'm not allowed to feel pain. I acknowledge my past. But my past does not make me a second-class citizen. My past does not forfeit my right to be heard when I am in pain."

Brown revealed he will have surgery after an MRI showed he has bone fragments in his ankle. He claims the MRI has been read by two top orthopedic surgeons but that the Bucs are attempting to force him to get another opinion from a more "junior" physician.

"As part of their ongoing cover-up, they are acting like I wasn't cut and now demanding I see a doctor of their choice to examine my ankle," the statement continued.

"What they did not know until now is that that on Monday morning I had an urgent MRI on my ankle. It shows broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss. You can see the bone bulging from the outside. That must and can be repaired. The MRI has been read by two top orthopedic surgeons in NYC, including Dr. Martin O'Malley at Hospital for Special Surgery.

"Not realising that I had already scheduled a surgery at HSS, the Bucs 'ordered' me under penalty of discipline and with a few hours' notice to show up to a more junior doctor at HSS for another opinion. What a joke. They're playing like I wasn't cut, giving me a surprise attack "order" to show up to another doctor with no reasonable notice, and setting this whole thing up as a basis to cut me because what they did on Sunday was not legitimate.

"What the organisation is doing now needs to get cleaned up. I do not understand how people publicly claiming to be concerned about my mental health can do these things to me in private.

"Once my surgery is complete, I'll be back to 100 percent and looking forward to next season. Business gonna be BOOMIN!"

Aaron Rodgers hit back at an NFL MVP voter who said he would not cast his ballot for the Green Bay Packers quarterback, calling the reporter in question "a bum".

Rodgers has experienced a superb but controversial campaign, leading the Packers to the number one seed in the NFC but attracting significant criticism for appearing to mislead reporters regarding his vaccination status.

He tested positive for coronavirus and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in November for 10 days, as league rules dictate for unvaccinated players, forcing him to miss the Packers' Week 9 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. Rodgers had said back in August that he was "immunised".

Rodgers clarified that his immunisation comments referred to a homeopathic treatment he received. He applied for an exemption from the rules for unvaccinated players but saw his request rejected by the NFL and NFLPA.

The three-time MVP subsequently criticised the league's coronavirus protocols and has courted controversy with his comments regarding vaccines.

In an interview on Tuesday, MVP voter Hub Arkush told 670 The Score: "I don't think you can be the biggest jerk in the league and punish your team, and your organisation and your fanbase the way he did and be the Most Valuable Player.

"Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument, but I don't think he is clearly that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or maybe even Tom Brady. So from where I sit, the rest of it is why he's not gonna be my choice."

Responding in a media conference on Wednesday, Rodgers said of Arkush: "I think he's a bum. I think he's an absolute bum. He doesn't know me. I don't know who he is. No one knew who he was, probably, until yesterday's comments. And I listened to the comments.

"But to say he had his mind made up in the summertime, in the offseason that I had zero chance of winning MVP – in my opinion, that should exclude [him from] future votes.

"His problem isn't with me being a 'bad guy' or 'the biggest jerk in the league' – because he doesn't know me. He doesn't know anything about me. I've never met him. I've never had lunch with him. I've never had an interview with him.

"His problem is I'm not vaccinated. So if he wants to go on a crusade and collude and come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season and make it the 'Most Valuable Vaccinated Player,' then he should do that.

"But he's a bum. And I'm not going to waste any time worrying about that stuff. He has no idea who I am. He's never talked to me in his life. But it's unfortunate that those sentiments – it's surprising that he would even say that, to be honest. But I knew this was possible."

Derrick Henry returned to practice on Wednesday, boosting hopes he could feature for the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs.

Henry was earlier designated to return from injured reserve, opening his 21-day window to be placed back on the active roster.

The star running back suffered a fractured foot in the Titans' overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts back on October 31.

Henry, who won the rushing title in 2019 and 2020, has 937 yards on 219 attempts with 10 touchdowns in the 2021 season.

Despite his return to practice, it appears unlikely he will be ready to feature in the Titans' regular-season finale against the Houston Texans, in which they could clinch the number one seed in the AFC.

However, should Tennessee indeed secure top spot in the conference, it will give the Titans a first-round bye and Henry extra time to recover for a home game in the Divisional Round.

Even with Henry missing half the season, the Titans still rank third in rush yards per game with 142.5 and will hope his return to their ground attack can help propel them to a second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley will not countenance a "complicit" tie should such a result benefit both his team and the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

The AFC playoff picture is an intriguing one heading into Week 18 and a favourable result at Allegiant Stadium could take both teams into the postseason.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens, and the Jacksonville Jaguars – fresh from a 50-10 blowout defeat to the New England Patriots – upset the 9-7 Indianapolis Colts, the scenario in Nevada becomes straightforward.

Should those results fall into place, a tie between the Raiders and Chargers would send both to the playoffs at the expense of the other remaining challengers.

However, Staley is not prepared to engage in any such approach regardless of the bigger picture come kickoff.

"That's a pretty loaded scenario," he told The Rich Eisen Show. "That is an all-time coffee shop scenario. I feel like I'm with my buddies at the University of Dayton.

"I think we all respect the game and the NFL shield and the integrity of this game far too much to be complicit in something like that. This game matters too much to too many people, and we want to play our best and be proud of the result one way or another.

"We're going to do everything we can to go win this game, and play the way we're capable of playing. I hope all the fans and everybody who loves the NFL will be proud of the game on Sunday.

"What makes it so special is the competition and the level of integrity and respect that it stands for."

The Chargers and Raiders head into the contest evenly matched, both standing at 9-7 with Las Vegas on a three-game winning streak.

Melvin Gordon has expressed his frustration after the Denver Broncos missed out on the playoffs despite having what he believes is a roster good enough to reach the Super Bowl.

The Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs in their final game of the 2021 season on Saturday sitting at 7-9, certain to miss the postseason and end up with a losing record.

They lost 34-13 to the Los Angeles Chargers last week, part of a three-game streak which also contained losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders, scuppering their hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Gordon will be a free agent at the end of the season, with head coach Vic Fangio also facing an uncertain future, and the running back cannot believe how the season is ending.

"You sit back and get frustrated because we are so much better than what our record shows," Gordon said to SI.com. 

"It's frustrating. It's frustrating as a player, as coaches, as an organization. It's frustrating. 

"We're such a good football team. So talented across the board it is ridiculous. For us to be sitting here and not having a chance for the playoffs, all that work you put into the offseason, it's tough to say the least.

"After the Raiders game, I was so mad, just because I was thinking about from the D-line, from the secondary, from our receivers, tight ends, the linemen we have – young but yet a lot of moxie.

"Running backs, even the ones, the twos, the threes, even the guys that don't get as much love, the linebackers – it was so frustrating because it's such a well-built team. It's a Super Bowl team."

Gordon has formed a strong rushing attack with rookie Javonte Williams – both players rank in the top 13 in the NFL for rushes of 10+ yards – while the team's defense has only allowed 268 offensive points in 16 games, good for second in the NFL behind only the New England Patriots (250).

But the quarterback position and passing attack has again proved problematic for the Broncos.

After Drew Lock's struggles in 2020, this year's starting QB Teddy Bridgewater's yards per attempt rate of 7.16 ranks in the bottom half (17th) of the league and Courtland Sutton is the team's top receiver with just 763 yards.

The Chiefs (11-5), meanwhile, will go into Saturday's game still in with a chance of being the number one seeds in the AFC.

They must beat the Broncos and will then be reliant on the Tennessee Titans dropping their game at the Houston Texans one day later.

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