The NFL's regular season will conclude on Sunday when the Detroit Lions host the Green Bay Packers in a game that will determine the NFC North. For certain, those two teams will be playing for a lot: Green Bay need to win to get to the playoffs while Detroit may be in that position too, depending on how Washington do in an earlier game on Sunday. However, there are four playoff-bound teams that don't have a thing to win or lose on Sunday. Those teams are the New York Giants, the Houston Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Dallas Cowboys.

Teams that can coast through Week 17 are generally very smart to do so.

It doesn't mean that the players on the field don't try their hardest to win, however the coaching won't necessarily put the best players out. It's too risky to lose a key player for a meaningless game when their is a bigger one on the horizon that the team needs to be prepared for.

Why the Giants and Texans can coast

The New York Giants can coast this weekend, because they can't do better than a five seed. They can't win their division and they can't drop down to a six seed. That they play the Washington Redskins puts some pressure on New York to perform. However, the Redskins' situation relates to Detroit and Green Bay. New York doesn't owe those franchises any favors so the Giants should rest their key starters in preparation for Wild Card Weekend.

The Houston Texans can coast, because they likewise have nothing to gain or lose. They are 9-6 on top of their division and they play the Tennessee Titans. That they are playing a team that can't make the playoffs removes any pressure to perform at all. Accordingly, not a lot can be expected for Houston management when it comes to playing key players.

Why Pittsburgh and Dallas coast

Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys can coast on Sunday. Pittsburgh will play Cleveland in a game that the Browns have a chance to win, because the Steelers don't have any pressure. Dallas play at Philadelphia and neither team has anything to win or lose in the game.

However, Dallas are unlike the other teams that are in coast mode. In the case of the Cowboys, they won't play on Wild Card Weekend. That being the case, if Dallas sit their regular players, then they will have had three weeks off before contesting the divisional round game in January. That in turn could lead to some rust and it puts Dallas management under some pressure to get their key players some playing time.

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