Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bring on the playoffs: NFL Week 17 Predictions

With playoff spots and playoff positioning still on the line, here are my picks for Week 17. At the end of the picks, I will break down what the playoff match-ups will look like if everything goes as I predict.

Remember, all picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.

Record Last Week: 10-6, .625
Overall Record: 164-76, .683

Sunday Early Games:

Colts (14-1) @ Bills (5-10) With the number one seed already sewn up, I would assume that the Colts won't let Peyton Manning play more than 2 quarters in this one. While the Colts could easily get a 3 touchdown lead against the Bills in the first half, Curtis Painter has shown that he can't hold a lead if his life depended on it. My pick: Bills

Jaguars (7-8) @ Browns (4-11) The Jaguars need a ton of help to get into the playoffs but they won't know if they are going to get that help until after their game is over. The Browns have been playing well recently but I don't think they will be able to slow down Maurice Jones-Drew. My pick: Jaguars

Bears (6-9) @ Lions (2-13) I've never rooted harder for the Bears than I did last week in their epic Monday Night game against the Vikings. Boy, that Jay Cutler sure is a roller coaster, isn't he? My pick: Bears

Niners (7-8) @ Rams (1-14) One of these teams hasn't quit despite being well out of the playoff picture. The other team wants to wrap up their number one pick in the draft so they are starting a no-name quarterback and resting their Pro Bowl running back. My pick: Niners

Steelers (8-7) @ Dolphins (7-8) The Steelers seem to think they are going back to the playoffs to defend their championship. Has no one told them they need some serious help to get back in? Perhaps they should have actually shown up against the Browns a few weeks back. I'm still waiting for them to "unleash hell". My pick: Steelers

Giants (8-7) @ Vikings (11-4) Which team has faded worse this season? The Vikings collapse from certain number 2 seed to hopeful number 3 seed has been remarkable. Perhaps this Brett Favre guy isn't as good as everyone in the media says? At least his team hasn't punted on the season like the Giants have. My pick: Vikings

Falcons (8-7) @ Bucs (3-12) Give the Bucs credit for not packing it in and going for the number one pick in the draft. I think the "magic" runs out this week, however, when the Falcons finish their season with a strong 9-7 record. My pick: Falcons

Saints (13-2) @ Panthers (7-8) It's hard to say what the Saints will do in this game but I don't see them playing all of their starters the entire game when they have the number one seed wrapped up. The way they are struggling, however, it wouldn't surprise me to see Drew Brees in there late in the 3rd quarter. As for the Panthers, I think they continue their hot play and get themselves to .500. My pick: Panthers

Patriots (10-5) @ Texans (8-7) Bill Belichick loves to stick it to teams so you can bet he will try to roll the Texans right out of the playoff picture. Count on all the starters playing for the Pats because if they don't sit during an undefeated season, why would they sit here? My pick: Patriots

Sunday Late Games:

Eagles (11-4) @ Cowboys (10-5) As if an Eagles/Cowboys match-up needs any extra hype, this one is not only for the NFC East, the Eagles are also looking to lock up a first round bye. There are a ton of great match-ups in this one, from Asante Samuel against Miles Austin to the banged-up Eagles o-line against the solid Cowboys d-line. I expect this one to resemble the Giants/Eagles game from a few weeks back with teams scoring touchdowns back and forth and the last team with the ball will very likely win. As long as Donovan McNabb doesn't throw 10 passes into the dirt, I like the Eagles to move the ball at will against Dallas. If the Eagles defense can just find a way to get some pressure on Tony Romo, we know how easily he will crumble. The Eagles always beat the Cowboys at the end of the season, it's just tradition at this point. My pick: Eagles

Packers (10-5) @ Cardinals (10-5) If you have any clue what will happen in this game, you are a smarter man than I. If the Vikings win against the Giants, this game should be a battle of the backups. If the Vikings lose, Arizona would have an outside shot at the number 2 seed in the NFC and they would play to win. Of course, the most likely scenario is that these teams will play each other in the first round of the playoffs so neither will want to show anything this weekend. I'll go with the home team. My pick: Cardinals

Redskins (4-11) @ Chargers (12-3) I don't care who plays or doesn't play for the Chargers, the Redskins have given up. They want a new coach and losing this game will help show Jim Zorn the door. My pick: Chargers

Titans (7-8) @ Seahawks (5-10) Much like the Redskins, the Seahawks have given up on 2009. The Titans, on the other hand, even though they have been eliminated, have proven they will play hard no matter what. My pick: Titans

Ravens (8-7) @ Raiders (5-10) If the Ravens win, they are in. The Raiders played spoiler last year against the Bucs but I don't see it this year. Ray Rice should go off and carry the Ravens to victory. My pick: Ravens

Chiefs (3-12) @ Broncos (8-7) The Broncos will win this game but they won't know their fate until the Jets play later in the day. You can bet everyone in Denver will be huge Bengals fans for the day. My pick: Broncos

Sunday Night Game:

Bengals (10-5) @ Jets (8-7) The Bengals will have nothing to play for at this point in the day, which will just anger fans in Denver. These two teams will very likely play again next week so neither will want to show everything, though the Jets will need to show enough to win their way into the playoffs. My pick: Jets

NFC Playoffs:
Byes: (1) Saints, (2) Eagles
First Round Match-ups: (6) Cowboys @ (3) Vikings, (5) Packers @ (4) Cardinals

AFC Playoffs:
Byes: (1) Colts, (2) Chargers
First Round Match-ups: (6) Ravens @ (3) Patriots, (5) Jets @ (4) Bengals

Those are my picks for Week 17 of the NFL Season. Check back every Thursday during the postseason for my playoff predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comment section!

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