NFL Picks Week 17: Teams in Must-Win Situations That Will Crash and Burn

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys sits on the sidelines with an injured hand against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The end of the NFL regular season is always filled with drama. There are three playoff spots still up for grabs in Week 17, and based on past history, the teams that appear to be in the driver's seat right now will fall flat on their faces. 

Matchups, poor performance, injuries, or some combination of the three, will all be key factors in determining which teams fail their final test to get into the postseason. 

Here are three teams facing must-win situations that will face on offseason wondering where everything went wrong. 


Dallas Cowboys (at New York Giants)

The Cowboys have been in control of the NFC East for the last month, but three losses in their last four games leave them on the brink of elimination.

To make matters worse, Tony Romo looked like he had a balloon sewn into his hand after hitting it against Jason Babin's helmet last week. 

The Giants have been just as inconsistent as the Cowboys this season, but they are playing at home and have all the momentum on their side. You don't have to look good to make the playoffs. 

Prediction: Giants 31, Cowboys 27


Denver Broncos (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

It is clear after observing the way that everyone in the division has played in recent weeks that no one wants to win the AFC West. 

The Broncos looked like they were going to cruise to a division title, but blowout losses to New England and Buffalo have left them in this situation. 

And the fact that they have to go up against Kyle Orton makes the story even better. He wants to prove to his former team that they made a bad decision letting him go in favor of Tim Tebow

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Broncos 17


New York Jets (at Miami Dolphins)

We have all gotten accustomed to seeing the Jets make a late-season push to get in the playoffs, but this year is different because the defense is not as strong as it was in 2009 or 2010. 

Mark Sanchez has still not figured out how to be a successful NFL quarterback. He has moments when he looks like a star, but they are few and far between. 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins are probably the second best team in the AFC East right now. They have won five of their last eight games, and even had New England on the ropes last week before blowing a 17-point lead. 

Reggie Bush has found a home in Miami, and he is going to send the Jets back to New York without a playoff berth. 

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Jets 21