NFL Picks Week 17: Predicting the Outcome of Every Game
With the debate about whether to rest starters very much alive and well, Week 17 promises to be an interesting one for football fans.
Teams with divisional titles and playoff berths locked up may shy away from running their starters out on the field, but other squads will have none of that.
It's tough to predict such a week in the NFL but we'll take a stab here, considering that home-field advantage spots and first-round byes are still somewhat up for grabs..
Buccaneers at Falcons
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Analysis: Atlanta is clicking on all cylinders right now and Tampa Bay just can't get things figured out. The momentum that the Falcons have is unheard of.
While Matt Ryan hasn't proven to be much of a postseason quarterback, he tears up the regular season and will give another stellar performance against the Buccaneers.
Here's betting Mike Smith trots out his starters.
Jets at Bills
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Analysis: As bad as it's been for the Bills of late, the Jets are in a much worse situation right now with the media circus tearing this team apart.
This isn't a no-questions-asked prediction though, considering just how well the Jets did when these two teams last met.
Ravens at Bengals
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Analysis: Both teams are coming off huge wins in their last games, but the Ravens have more to play for in this contest.
Joe Flacco wants a new contract and will push his team as the Ravens attempt to keep the divisional title in their grasp.
Watch out for Cincinnati though, considering the Bengals are heating up at the right time.
Bears at Lions
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Analysis: The Bears are fighting for their lives here and need a victory to have any hope of making the playoffs.
After starting off 7-1, it's unfortunate that the team is even in this position, but a victory here gives it a shot to get to the postseason.
Jaguars at Titans
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Analysis: The Titans are coming off a 55-0 shellacking while the Jaguars were decently competitive against the Patriots.
In a game that has no bearing on anything but pride, the Jaguars win with just a little more momentum going in.
Texans at Colts
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Analysis: When these two teams matched up the first time, it just seemed as though Houston has the right formula to take down the Andrew Luck-led Colts.
J.J. Watt will be looking for the all-time single-season sack record, and he may get it too; Indianapolis will have too much to worry about and won't be able to move the ball down the field.
Panthers at Saints
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Analysis: Cam Newton has gone off these last few weeks while the Saints expended a lot of mental energy in last week's thriller against the Cowboys.
Newton will finish the season strongly and firmly entrench himself as the Panthers' quarterback of the decade.
Eagles at Giants
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Analysis: Similar to the Bears, the Giants need a win here to have any hope of making the playoffs. Either way, with a Bears win, it doesn't much matter.
Unfortunately, the way these predictions have gone, the defending champs won't even make it back to the postseason.
Browns at Steelers
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Analysis: The Steelers are angry that they've just squandered their playoff chances and will take it out on a lowly Browns team in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ben Roethlisberger will attempt to make up for lost time by going off against Cleveland.
Chiefs at Broncos
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Analysis: A victory here would guarantee the Broncos a first-round bye and on an 11-game winning streak, this week off would come at a good time.
An elder Peyton Manning could use an extra week of rest, and he'll take down the Chiefs to cap off an impressive regular-season winning streak.
Packers at Vikings
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Analysis: The Vikings made a valiant run but can't get it done against the Packers to make the playoffs. Green Bay has a first-round bye riding on this game so it'd be surprising to see the Pack rest their starters here.
Coming off a 55-0 blowout victory over Tennessee, Aaron Rodgers' gang will assert its dominance one last time this regular season.
Dolphins at Patriots
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Analysis: Even though, with a Bronco win, the first-round bye is out of the realm of possibility, Bill Belichick will step on the gas pedal in this last contest.
New England needs one final tune-up before the postseason and a middling Dolphins team will give a better look than the Jaguars did last week (as competitively as the Jaguars did play).
Raiders at Chargers
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Analysis: Norv Turner is likely under the impression that he can still save his job, considering how hard his team played last week against the Jets.
While Turner will end up getting the boot next season, look for his Chargers to help him go out with a win and finish a disappointing 7-9.
Cardinals at 49ers
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Analysis: Assuming a Seahawks win and a 49ers loss, the 49ers wouldn't even get to play at home in their first playoff game and would cede the divisional title to Seattle.
Jim Harbaugh wants none of that, and his bunch will look to down an easy opponent at home here. For those who gamble, the 49ers will cover any spread in this game.
Rams at Seahawks
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Analysis: The Seahawks are just too good, especially at home, and while the Rams have put up a decent fight this season, they're no match in this game.
Pete Carroll is quickly establishing himself as one of the better coaches in the NFL. Watch as defensive end Chris Clemons has an enormous day as the Seahawks prepare for the postseason.
Cowboys at Redskins
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Analysis: A good old-fashioned Cowboys-Redskins matchup in Week 17 for the NFC East title is a real treat for any football fan, especially on Sunday Night Football.
It was a close, high-scoring affair the last time these two teams met, but Dallas is coming off a disheartening loss last week and the Redskins are coming off a clutch victory.
Robert Griffin III has been too good this season, and Dallas doesn't have the mental toughness to win this football game. Hail to the Redskins, they're going to the playoffs.