NFL Picks Week 17: Predicting Most Exciting Matchups in Playoff Race

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIDecember 26, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22:   Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 22, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There are still open spots in the playoff race and there are some teams who control their destiny. There are plenty of exciting matchups in this playoff race and we'll predict who will win the best ones. 


Dallas at Washington

The winner of this game will win the NFC East and become the fourth seed in the playoffs. Additionally, the Redskins can make the playoffs if they lose and Minnesota and Chicago also lose.

This is a fierce division rivalry between two teams who hate each other. Both will do anything they can to make the playoffs.

Robert Griffin III is back from injury, but is not yet 100% and will be somewhat limited. The Redskins have a great rushing offense and they could have a big day against Dallas' mediocre rush defense. The Cowboys give up about 115 yards per game and Washington averages 162 yards on the ground. It could be a big day for Alfred Morris.

However, Washington struggles against the pass, giving up almost 288 yards in the air per game. This is where Dallas will have to capitalize. The Cowboys have the third-best passing offense in the league.

It will come down to which facet of the offense is better. Will the Redskins' robust rushing attack be able to counteract Dallas' potent passing offense? 

We think so and the Redskins should win this game and the NFC East, by a score of 21-14. 


Green Bay at Minnesota

The Vikings will be in the playoffs if they can win this game, which would make them the sixth seed. They don't have an easy task against the Packers, who will secure the second seed and a first-round bye with a win.

This game comes down to the run. The Vikings, led by the incredible Adrian Peterson, will look to establish the running game against a mediocre Green Bay rush defense. The Packers give up an average of 112 yards per game.

If the Packers can stop Peterson then they should be able to win this game. That's a task easier said than done.

Look for Peterson to have a huge game with the season on the line and for the Vikings to win this game by a score of 17-10.


Houston at Indianapolis

This game is to determine if Houston can secure home-field advantage and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

If they win, then they accomplish that goal. If not, there are a few things that can happen:

  • If Denver wins and New England wins and Houston loses, then the Texans take the third seed
  • If Denver and New England and Houston all lose, the Texans take the first seed
  • If Denver wins and New England loses, Houston will take the second seed
  • If New England wins and Denver loses, Houston will take the second seed

Of course, the Texans would much prefer to win and not worry about what the other teams too. That'll be tough against an Indianapolis team that is hitting its stride and will be welcoming back Coach Chuck Pagano from illness.

That emotional lift may be enough, as Lucas Oil Stadium will be rocking. Indianapolis will take this game by a score of 13-3 and Houston will wait for the other games to determine their fate.