FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, December 31st, 2023

NOTES & QUOTES FROM WEEK 17 EDITION OF FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA ON NBC AND PEACOCK

“They’re getting pushed around on both sides of the ball and I don’t know what they are on offense. It seems like there is a mojo that just isn’t there.” – Chris Simms on the Eagles

“He threw the ball up and down the field today. It was fun to watch. MVP, Lamar? – Devin McCourty on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

 “Watch out for the Rams…We know (Matthew) Stafford and (Sean) McVay are going to be ready for playoff football. They would scare me if I saw them coming into town.” – Chris Simms on the Rams

Peacock Sunday Night Football Final Streams EXCLUSIVELY on Peacock Following Packers-Vikings and Every Sunday Night Football Game During 2023 Season

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 31, 2023 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season began tonight from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Packers-Vikings on Sunday Night Football on NBC and Peacock.

Ahmed Fareed hosted FNIA from NBC Sports’ Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn. He was joined by former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry, and NFL Insider Mike Florio. Steve Kornacki was also in studio to break down playoff scenarios. Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison joined co-host Jac Collinsworth at the site of the game. Maria Taylor is on parental leave.

Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Melissa Stark (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s game.

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Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock:

ON VIKINGS

Simms on the Vikings offense: “They’re aggressive. They throw the ball down the field, and nobody can scheme the wide receivers open down the middle of the field more than the Vikings and (head coach) Kevin O’Connell.

Garrett on the Vikings starting Jaren Hall at quarterback: “One thing we know about Kevin O’Connell is he’s going to stay aggressive down the field. It’s going to be hard play-action, take those shots. The challenge for Hall is to make the plays when they’re available, otherwise check it down. They can’t turn the ball over like they have the past couple of weeks.”

Harrison on Vikings WR Justin Jefferson: “He is just so quick out of his breaks, but what separates him is his willingness to come across the middle and take the big hits. He is tough as nails; he doesn’t care or have any regard for his body.”

ON PACKERS

Harrison: “Matt LaFleur has done a really good job of bringing all this young talent together, but he’s also done a good job with Jordan Love. You can see the improvement. My biggest concern is their defense. They’re missing their two starting corners. They’ve struggled all season. They’ve been inconsistent.”

ON EAGLES

Simms: “They’re getting pushed around on both sides of the ball and I don’t know what they are on offense. It seems like there is a mojo that just isn’t there with them as a football team.”

ON 49ERS

Simms: “They were rolling. They’ve got to get revenge for the way they played last week. They got Deebo Samuel on the easiest touchdown pass Brock Purdy could have all year.”

ON THE PLAYOFF PICTURE

Kornacki on the AFC South:The Jaguars have a tenuous hold on it…they go to the Titans next week. Win that game and Jacksonville wins the division. But, if Jacksonville falls short at Tennessee, the Colts and the Texans play each other next week. That game would become the AFC South championship game…Even if the Texans win next week, the winner of the Colts-Texans game is guaranteed a Wild Card berth at least. This game is high stakes no matter what happens.”

Kornacki on the NFC South: “All Tampa Bay has to do is win their game next week and they’ll win the division and get that home playoff game. But, if they blow it against the Panthers next week, the door is wide open for the Saints and Falcons who play each other. If the Bucs lose, this game is for the NFC South.”

Kornacki on the AFC East: “A month ago Miami was the prohibited favorite, but they blew that game to Tennessee and Buffalo has started winning so it comes down to Week 18. If the Bills win next week they get the division, but if they lose, they could fall all the way out of the playoffs.”

ON TEXANS

McCourty on C.J. Stroud: “(C.J. Stroud) gave this whole team a boost. This defense – they held Tennessee to 1-of-12 on third down. That’s just the C.J. Stroud effect.”

ON RAMS

Simms on the Rams offense: “(Matthew) Stafford missed some passes in this football game. They moved the football on the Giants, but did have some turnovers. But with Kyren Williams, the run-game is real, and it continued again today in New York.”

Simms on playing the Rams in the playoffs: “Watch out for the Rams. That was big today. They’ve won six out of seven, the one loss was an overtime loss to the great Ravens football team. We know Stafford and (Sean) McVay are going to be ready for playoff football. They would scare me if I saw them coming into town.”

ON BILLS

McCourty: “Buffalo had three takeaways that ended up in New England’s territory inside the 20 yard-line. This game could have been a lot uglier.”

ON RAVENS

Garrett: “Lamar Jackson was on fire, continuing to make his case for the MVP – threw five touchdowns with a perfect passer rating. Roquan Smith and the Ravens defense smothered the high-flying Dolphins offense holding Tua (Tagovailoa) and Tyreek (Hill) to 19 points.”

McCourty on Lamar Jackson: “He threw the ball up and down the field today. It was just up and down, back and forth. It was fun to watch. MVP, Lamar?”

Garrett: “I just love their organization – GM Eric DeCosta, John Harbaugh. They’ve built a complete team. They’ve got some stud players, cornerstone players, mixed in with veterans who play roles for them. They’re really good on offense, defense, (and in the) kicking game. They’re the team to beat in the AFC.”

ON COWBOYS

Garrett on the Cowboys: “For me, Christmas came a week late in Dallas. After Jimmy Johnson goes in (to the Ring of Honor) at halftime, all of a sudden the breaks start coming. They get a a huge break from the Eagles today. Now, they’re the No. 2 seed. If they win next week, they win the division and they’re in a great position in the playoffs because they play really well at home.

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Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL post-game show produced by NBC Sports, streams exclusively on Peacock following every Sunday Night Football game during the 2023 season. The show is hosted from the game site by Jac Collinsworth, Harrison, and Dungy, who will provide instant reactions to each Sunday game along with highlights and interviews, while Berry will host a weekly segment called “DraftKings Crowning Moments,” where the fantasy sports analyst will discuss his successful bets from that day; he will also provide fantasy advice and an early look at the waiver wire. Football Night in America’s studio team will also provide recaps and insights into the day’s biggest moments, while Florio will provide injury and news updates.

Football Night in America