NFL Week 17 Predictions: Settlings the Score
Predicting Week 17 NFL Action
Week 17 in the NFL is finally here. The final week of the season will determine who will get the playoffs spots in the NFC and what the playoff picture will look like in the AFC. In the NFC, the east has yet to be determined, but the Dallas Cowboys will go head to head with the Washington Redskins to find out who will still be playing when the wild card games start next week. The Seattle Seahawks clinched last week and will have nothing short of a fifth seed. This means the sixth seed is up for grabs, but the Chicago Bears and New York Giants are going to need some help.
The Seahawks can still clinch a first round bye and the division title, but it will take a miracle. Not only do the Minnesota Vikings have to beat the Green Bay Packers, but the Arizona Cardinals have to beat the San Francisco 49ers. If this happens, the Packers will be even more upset because they will revert back to that fateful night in Seattle and the now infamous "Fail Mary". However, this will still take a miracle. I will say it is not going to happen.
Like I said before the AFC picture is a little clearer. All six spots are locked up, but the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals still have to determine the fifth and sixth seed order. Also, the first round byes and order in general have yet to be determined for the division champs.
Week 17 is sure to be fun with a plethora of divisional games that actually mean something. All eyes will be on Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Jay Cutler and Adrian Peterson. They're going to be fun to watch. Also, what will be the game of the week? Biggest blowout? and biggest upset? All of these questions I aim to answer in my week 17 NFL predictions, enjoy.
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Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
The Houston Texans are still trying to lock up home field advantage. The Colts want the Baltimore Ravens in the first round, so they need to win to keep their fifth seed. This is going to be a great game. The Texans have been a little inconsistent all year, but they will need to show up in this game if they want to win. RB Arian Foster should be able to play this weekend, so all eyes will be on the matchup between him and the Colts defense. I do not think the Colts can stop him, so the Colts offense will have to pick up the slack.Predication: This will be an offensive shootout. Texans 38, Colts 34
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
This is my game of the week and it's in prime time. The Cowboys and Redskins need to win to reach the playoffs this year. Both teams have had a roller coaster type season, but they have come together to decide their fates. Romo will be under the most pressure. He is a veteran quarterback that needs a statement win. Griffin III is a rookie there will be other years, so the pressure is not so intense. Griffin may be nervous, but he needs to go out there and just have some fun.
Prediction: Romo gets a little emotional at the end of the game and not in a good way. Cowboys 17, Redskins 23
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are coming off a nail biting win against the Cowboys. QB Drew Brees showed why he is so good last week with an aerial assault that could not be stopped. The Carolina Panthers have won four out of five games and are looking to end the season on a high note. QB Cam Newton got out of his early season funk over that stretch and he will look to continue it against the Saints defense.
Prediction: Brees hits 5,000 yards again and goes to 8-8 on the season. Panthers 20, Saints 35
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
If there was ever a game not to watch, this is the one. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the middle of a rebuilding process that will take a decade. The Tennessee Titans have a quarterback of the future that has no future. It is back to the drawing board for both of these teams in the off-season. RB Chris Johnson will have a monster game in this one. QB Jake Locker will not have any pressure and QB Chad Henne will throw the ball all over the field in a bad way. Prediction: Johnson demands a trade in the off-season. Jaguars 13, Titans 20
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
This is my upset of the week. The Cardinals are at the end of a painful season. Not all is lost in Arizona though. They have beat the New England Patriots and Seahawks. If they want something to be proud of, they need to win this game and they need to win it for WR Larry Fitzgerald. The 49ers are my least favorite team in the NFL because they are coached by Jim Harbaugh. There is no denying they have a good football team, but I want his decision to bench Alex Smith to come back and haunt him in his sleep all off-season long.
Prediction: Colin Kaepernick throws three interceptions. Cardinals 13, 49ers 10
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
This is my blowout of the week.The Seahawks are in the playoffs. The St. Louis Rams want to finish their season with a record over 500. The problem they are going to run into is the Seahawks are the hottest team in football right now. They have won four straight and are 7-0 at home. The Rams have played some defense that nobody expected them to play this year. RB Steven Jackson is having a better than expected year, so I assume he will be back next season continuing to beat up opposing defenders. Unfortunately for him, he is going to be getting beat in this one.
Prediction: The Rams are going to have a better time than the 49ers last week, but not by much. Rams 10, Seahawks 31
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers
The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are some of the most disappointing teams in football. Nobody could have guessed they were going to be this bad. The Chargers have Philip Rivers this week, but QB Carson Palmer broke his ribs and will not be available. Nothing has come easy for the Chargers this season, but this week should be an easy one for a change.
Prediction: Rivers does a little more work than the entire Raiders team. Oakland 12, Chargers 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have the first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I expect the first stringers to get a series or three before the team rests them. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell really hard towards the end of the season and would like to end on a high note. Their little rookie RB Doug Martin is going to be able to run the ball on Sunday, so what matters will be turnovers. QB Josh Freeman and Martin have to take care of the football. If they do not have a turnover, they will be in this game, especially if I'm right about Atlanta resting their starters.
Prediction: Falcons get ahead early and rest their starters leaving the door wide open for a comeback. Buccaneers 23, Falcons 20
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos want a first round bye in the playoffs this year, so I expect them to come out the first half and try to dominate. If they do that they will rest QB Peyton Manning in the second half. A win for the Broncos and a Texans loss will give them home field advantage as well. The Kansas City Chiefs are not a happy subject this year, so I have decided to barely mention them. The Broncos' defense makes them a legitimate threat and it's a bold statement, but this might be the best team Manning has ever played on.
Prediction: The Broncos lock up a first round bye. Chiefs, 17, Broncos 34
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Like I said before, all eyes will be on Eli in this game. He cannot continue how he is playing an expect to win football games. The Philadelphia Eagles will start QB Michael Vick and that is probably the worst news the Giants have heard in a long time. Vick will have something to prove in this game and when that happens it does not bode well for the other team. This will probably be the last game Andy Reid coaches, so he'll want to go out in the most stylish way possible.
Prediction: Eli sulks in the corner while Reid and Vick ride off into the sunset. Eagles 31, Giants 27
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
This could be a preview game for the wild card round of the playoffs. It is a little unlikely though. The Baltimore Ravens would be smart to come into this game with the idea to rest RB Ray Rice. Their playoff standing will not get much better if they win or lose. The Bengals are trying their best to stay away from the Patriots, but that could be their fate. They want to win this game just to go into the playoffs with a little momentum. The Bengals' offense has done a great job over the final weeks of the season to get them in the position they are in.
Prediction: LB Ray Lewis comes back and brings the hammer down on the Bengals. Ravens 24, Bengals 10
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
The Bears have an outside shot at making the playoffs still, so that is fun. However, the Detroit Lions want WR Calvin Johnson to go over 2,000 yards receiving, so they can have something to build on for next year. The good news for the Bears is winning and Johnson going over 2,000 yards do not have to co-exist. Johnson has been tearing up defenses all year long, but the Lions can't seem to win. That won't change this week. QB Jay Cutler knows that he needs to win this game to give his team a chance.
Prediction: The Bears channel the spirit of Mike Ditka's coaching career. Bears 27, Lions 17
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are not great football teams. There is almost no excitement surrounding this game. The Jets do not have a quarterback and the Bills can't seem to figure out that they have to score more points than the other team to win. Like the rest of us, they should have learned it from John Madden.
Prediction: Nine people, including members of both teams, will tune in to watch this game. Jets 13, Bills 24
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
The New England Patriots need to win to give themselves a shot at a first round bye. They hold the tie breaker over both teams ahead of them, so if the Texans or Broncos stumble they will not be playing for a couple of weeks. The Miami Dolphins have upset the Patriots before at the end of the season, but that was in a meaningless game. The Patriots are going to show up for this one and the Dolphins are not going to have a response.
Prediction: QB Tom Brady is rested before the start of the fourth quarter. Dolphins 13, Patriots 38
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers do not want to finish the season below 500 and that is what is on the line on Sunday. They have already lost to the Cleveland Browns this season and to get swept by them would be the most disappointing aspect of their season. The Steelers are out of the playoffs for just the fourth time in 12 seasons. The Browns are still rebuilding, but with their offensive and defensive talent, they could be a playoff team a couple of years down the line.
Prediction: Steelers keep a level head. Browns 10, Steelers 24
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
The Packers almost have to win to get a first round bye in the playoffs. At least one, if not both, of the 49ers or Seahawks will win their game, so if they want a week off winning is the best route. The Vikings also want a playoff shot, so if they win they will be in. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is still chasing history, but the Packers do not want him to even get to 2,000. He will be the focal point and the Packers will give QB Christian Ponder a chance to beat them. He probably won't take that chance.
Prediction: Peterson gets to 2,000, but the Vikings come up short. Packers 30, Vikings 20