NFL Picks Week 17: Winners of Final Weekend's Marquee Matchups

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 25, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a first half pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The New York Giants are poised to right the ship this coming weekend against the fading Philadelphia Eagles. The G-Men, once viewed as the Super Bowl favorite, now need a win and help from some other NFC teams just to earn a wild-card berth this winter.

Losers of two straight, and five of their last seven overall, the Giants have already collapsed this December, but have an outside shot at surviving their meltdown to reach the postseason.

But New York isn't the only hungry NFL team set to come away with a win on the final weekend of the regular season.

Here are my picks for teams that will win Week 17's marquee matchups.


Green Bay Packers

The Minnesota Vikings will be scratching and clawing for a win at home on Sunday in order to finish 10-6 and clinch an NFC Wild Card berth.

But the Green Bay Packers will be every bit as motivated to end the regular season with a victory, as they can secure a first-round bye with a win in Week 17. Therefore, I'm on board with the Pack this weekend. 

Sure, the Vikings are 6-1 at home this season and have won three straight since their Week 13 loss at Green Bay. But the Packers shut the Vikings out for three quarters in that Week 13 victory, holding Minnesota to just two second-quarter touchdowns. 

I expect Green Bay to surrender plenty of yards to the Vikings on Sunday, but in the end, look for their red zone defense and ability to create turnovers to be the difference. 


Houston Texans

If the Houston Texans are going to take the next step and make their road to Super Bowl XLVII as smooth as possible, they will need to beat the Indianapolis Colts on the road this weekend.

Houston can lock up a 13-3 record and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a Week 17 victory over the team it beat not long ago in Week 15, 29-17. I don't envision the Texans winning so comfortably at Indy with Chuck Pagano set to visit the Colts on the sideline, but given the fact that the Colts are locked into the No. 5 seed, they won't be playing for anything other than bragging rights. 

The Texans held the Colts to under 275 total yards in their win less than two weeks ago, proving that they have developed a solid blueprint for beating Indianapolis.

Expect them to put that game plan to use again on Sunday, as they look to cement themselves as the AFC's No. 1 overall seed.


Washington Redskins

In Sunday's biggest regular-season finale, the surging Redskins will host the Dallas Cowboys in a game that will determine which team wins the NFC East division and secures a home playoff game this coming January.

But I give the edge to the hotter team, playing at home in this matchup. Washington has won six straight games and four of its last five at FedEx Field. 

Plus, the Redskins hung 38 points on the Cowboys in the two rivals' most recent meeting on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, proving that Jason Garrett's squad has no answers defensively for RG3 and company. Washington racked up over 435 yards of total offense in that win, while Griffin tossed four touchdown passes, two of which came from 59 or more yards out. 

Obviously, like Washington, Dallas is playing for everything on Sunday night and will be inspired if nothing else. Still, you would have a hard time arguing the Redskins aren't the NFL's hottest team right now. 


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