NFL Picks: Week 17
My Postseason Awards
The last weekend of the NFL season is here; it’s amazing how fast time goes. As the season comes to a close, there are two main topics of conversation. The first, of course, is about the playoffs and which teams have a chance to win it all. The second is all about the postseason awards. There’s one more game to play but I am handing out my awards right now.
Rookie of the year: This one is tough; there are three rookie quarterbacks that are all deserving and picking just one is impossible but here it goes. No one loved Russell Wilson coming out of college more than me, and he’s been fantastic. Robert Griffin III has been everything the Washington Redskins wanted and more; he has made that storied franchise relevant again. As great as Wilson and Griffin III have been; the rookie of the year goes to Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were 2-14 last season, lost their head coach for most of the year and they made the playoffs.
Comeback player of the year: It’s been a two man race all season between Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson; again both are beyond deserving. Because of an award I am going to give a bit later; this one goes to Peterson. He suffered an ACL injury one year ago and is on the verge of a 2,000 yard season, pretty impressive.
Coach of the year: Some of the candidates include: John Fox, Pete Carroll, Gary Kubiak, and many more. However my award goes to an interim coach; Bruce Arians of the Colts. He took over when Chuck Pagano had to take a leave of absence due to cancer, and led the Colts to the playoffs. Not only did Arians have to deal with the football stuff, but he also kept that team together when their leader was gone. That’s coaching. Not sure an assistant can win the award but that’s my vote.
Defensive player of the year: Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers is a great player but he’s too one-dimensional to win this award. The race is between JJ Watt of the Houston Texans and Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. There’s no wrong answer here but I’ll go with Watt. He has more sacks and has been disruptive all season both versus the run and the pass. Having said that, if you took Watt number one in the draft; I would happily take Miller.
Offensive player of the year (MVP): Everyone knows who the contenders are and they are all great players, but there’s only one who should win this award. Peyton Manning! He’s taken an average team to a 12-3, soon to be 13-3 record. He did it with a new team, new teammates and was coming off of four neck surgeries. Manning also has the numbers to back it up; he’s thrown for over 4300 yards and 34 touchdowns with still a game to go. Peterson has had a great year but there’s a decent chance that the Vikings miss the playoffs, and he is unlikely to break the single season rushing record at this point. To me the MVP, in any league, has to be a combination of great numbers and a winning team. In that case; the clear choice is Manning.
On with the picks for week 17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have home-field advantage wrapped up in the NFC, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their golf clubs packed for their Monday tee times. The Falcons have nothing to play for but they are at home and the Bucs have packed it in. I’ll take the Falcons in a glorified preseason game.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Way back in week one, the New York Jets blew out the Buffalo Bills and people thought that the Jets were going to be good. That’s why it’s a bad idea to make snap judgments after one week. Both of these teams are terrible but I’ll go with the home team, the Bills.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
A week ago this one looked like it was going to be an elimination game but now both teams are all ready in the playoffs, and there’s nothing to be gained for either side. These games are tough to pick because it is impossible to know how the teams are going to approach it. The Bengals are at home so give them the edge but if you are headed to Vegas, stay away from this one.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
The Chicago Bears have done everything in their power to give away a playoff spot, but the schedule maker has come to their rescue. If they can manage to beat the Detroit Lions, then chances are high that they will get the last spot. The Bears win, not because I believe in them, but because the Lions are awful.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
There’s no bigger football fan than me and I don’t think I could watch the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. My guess is there won’t be too many other people watching either. Once again, I’ll go with the home team; the Titans.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
For most of the season; it looked like the Houston Texans had home-field advantage wrapped up in the AFC but are now one loss away from not even having a bye week. This one comes down to how the Colts approach the game and my guess is they will play all out in the return of their coach, Chuck Pagano. In that case, I’ll take the Colts in an emotion filled football game.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
This game features two teams playing very good football but have nowhere to go after this week. It may not mean anything in the standings but it should be fun to watch as both the Saints and the Panthers move the ball almost at will. Having said that; the Saints are rolling and they want to make a final statement, and they will.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
The New York Giants still have a shot at the playoffs but it is a long shot. They have to win and have four other teams lose, not likely. They will do their part, however, as bad as the Giants have been they are still better than the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants win and then hope.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s still hard to believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be playing in January but it’s true. I have no idea how they are going to react in a game like this; they almost never play in them. The Steelers have more talent and you have to believe that they will play hard. The Cleveland Browns are really beat up as well. Give me the Steelers.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers
The Oakland Raiders hosted the San Diego Chargers in the back half of the Monday night opener back in September, and it was a dreadful football game. As it turns out; both of these teams were dreadful this season so it is fitting that they close their season versus one another. The Chargers are doing their late season push to save Norv Turner’s job; they get the win but Turner won’t survive this time.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers got hammered in Seattle last week but they get to host the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday. The Niners get healthy and they win the NFC West with an easy win over the Cardinals.
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
The St. Louis Rams have had a nice season, but they are walking into a buzz saw on Sunday. The Seattle Seahawks are rolling and when they are home, they are unbeatable. They put up big points again in another impressive win.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
If the Bears win as predicted, the Minnesota Vikings will have to beat the Packers in Green Bay to make the Playoffs. It won’t happen; the Packers are scoring at will and as great as Adrian Peterson has been this season, it won’t matter when the Packers are up 28-0. The Packers roll and they might be the most dangerous team in the NFC playoffs.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
The New England Patriots need to beat the Miami Dolphins just in case the Texans or Broncos lose on Sunday. If that happened, then the Patriots could get a bye with a win. Add to that the fact that Tom Brady was not happy with the way the Patriots played last week, and you have the makings of a blowout.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
At one point the Denver Broncos were 2-3 and now they are one Sunday away from the number one seed in the AFC. They can’t control what the Texans do but they can control their fate in terms of the second-seed and a bye. The Broncos have been amazingly consistent; no letdowns and they do not look past teams. They do it again and blowout the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
The best game of the day is a playoff game in its own right; win and you’re in for both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. There are scenarios in which the Redskins could lose and still get in, but this one sets up as a play-in game. The Redskins are hot and at home. The Cowboys are the Cowboys and they always come up lame in these spots. The Skins win.
That’s a wrap for the regular season but we are only getting started. Playoff football is right around the corner, and the field is wide open this year. There are five of six teams who are playing great football and there’s always that one team that no one see’s coming. I hope your team made the tournament but if not, sit back and enjoy without the stress.
Last week’s record-10-6 Overall record-86-39-1
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