NFL Picks Week 17: Teams That Will Make Statement Wins Going into Playoffs

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIDecember 28, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after a Washington Redskins first down in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, as Week 17 is the only thing separating us from a glorious month of football.

As some teams tune up for January or fight for their spots in the postseason, there is just one more game to show what you've got before you put it all on the line.

Of those lucky teams who will be making it to the playoffs, these are the teams who will use this final opportunity to make a statement.


Denver Broncos

Who could have seen this coming? The Broncos sign Peyton Manning and become arguably the best team in the league?

It's true. Denver started slowly, but after a 2-3 start, the team has won 10 straight games and will make it 11 on Sunday.

The Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs as they attempt to take the No. 1 seed in the AFC. At 12-3, the Broncos are currently second in the conference because they lost to the 12-3 Texans in Week 3.

However, the Texans have been struggling and have a difficult road game against the surprising Indianapolis Colts, who have secured a wild-card spot this year after being the worst team in the NFL just a year ago.

Denver needs a win and a Houston loss to take the No. 1 overall seed, but by winning, the team guarantees itself a first-round bye.

When the 2-13 Chiefs come to town, it's going to get ugly. The Broncos have already beaten the Chiefs once this season, and they will do so again to close out the season.

The third-ranked rush defense of the Broncos will give even Jamaal Charles trouble, while Manning picks apart the Chiefs and a recovering backfield has an easy day against Kansas City's pitiful rush defense, which ranks No. 26 in the league.

The Statement: The Broncos are Super Bowl favorites in the AFC.


Green Bay Packers

In an AFC North rivalry that will decide the NFC playoff picture, the Packers host the Minnesota Vikings. By winning, the Packers will clinch a first-round bye, while essentially ending Minnesota's hopes of making the playoffs.

The Packers have won four straight and are coming off a 55-7 demolition of the Tennessee Titans. Aaron Rodgers put up MVP numbers in that game, throwing for 342 yards and totaling four touchdowns on the day.

Green Bay's aerial assault has been playing well and has a matchup against a Vikings defense that ranks No. 20 against the pass.

The Vikings need to find a way to force turnovers if they're going to beat the Packers, but that simply won't happen very often. Rodgers hasn't thrown a pick in three weeks, and he hasn't thrown more than one in a game all season.

The Pack is hot. With a first-round bye on the line, you can bet that Rodgers and Co. are going to light up the scoreboard in Minnesota.

The Statement: The Packers are still dangerous.


Washington Redskins

There's a new sheriff in town. The No. 1 team in the NFC East? The Washington Redskins.

As the Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys this week, it will be with the NFC East crown on the line, and Washington will take it.

The 'Skins are riding a six-game win streak into this game, during which they went on the road to beat the Cowboys. This time the two will meet at home, and Robert Griffin III will lead the team to another victory.

Dallas won't be able to run the ball in this game. The Cowboys rank second-worst in the league in rushing yards per game, while the Redskins have the third-best run defense. The last time these teams met Dallas only recorded 35 yards on the ground.

The Cowboys will be one-dimensional all night, and that didn't work out too well last time. Now that the team has to deal with a hostile environment as well, the Redskins will be able to pull out the victory.

The Statement: The Redskins control the NFC East.