Predicting the MVP for Each Week 17 NFL Game
Week 17 of the NFL season is here. While some teams are jockeying for playoff seeding, others are putting themselves in position to draft earlier in the 2013 NFL draft.
The NFC East is still wide open, and so is the seeding in the NFC West. All the AFC teams have been decided for the playoffs, but there is still some movement that could take place in terms of what team is which seed.
On the opposite spectrum, either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Jacksonville Jaguars will wind up with the No. 1 draft pick in April. Both clubs are in rebuilding mode and need all the selections they can gain.
The Pro Bowlers have been selected, and while there are still countless other postseason awards to dole out, the MVP selection to each Week 17 game hangs in the balance. The winner has to come from the winning team, so with some teams resting starters this week, there are bound to be some upsets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
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MVP: Bucs RB Doug Martin
In an NFC South division game that does not mean much to either squad, look for the Atlanta Falcons to rest a lot of players. While the Falcons have locked up the No. 1 seed, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost five straight, with the loss to Atlanta in Week 12 as the start of their slide.
Doug Martin already has 1,312 yards on the season and is averaging 4.5 yards a carry. The Falcons defense gives up 4.8 yards a carry and 121.8 yards a game. The Falcons are ranked 20th versus the run this season and should be without quite a few starters.
Look for the rookie from Boise State to top the 150-yard mark on the ground and find the end zone at least once. The Buccaneers will win their final game and go into the offseason saving some pride.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
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MVP: Bills RB C.J. Spiller
When these two teams faced off in Week 1, no one could have predicted how far each team would fall. On paper, this game looked like the type of game that could determine a playoff spot.
Both teams have fallen on hard times, and many changes are due this offseason. However, one constant for the Buffalo Bills has been C.J. Spiller. The running back has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last two games. Spiller’s best rushing game of the season came at the hands of the Jets defense, as he rushed for 169 yards in that contest.
Spiller will get tons of carries and help his team get the win. Another 100-plus-yard rushing game is in the cards for the Bills runner.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
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MVP: Bengals QB Andy Dalton
The Baltimore Ravens will be resting quite a few starters, so look for Andy Dalton to have the best game of his career against the team. Dalton has struggled historically versus the Ravens defense and had a quarterback rating of 15.7 percent in the Week 1 loss to the Ravens.
But the Cincinnati Bengals need momentum heading into the playoffs, and Dalton has not thrown for over 300 yards in the last nine games. That will change in Week 17.
Dalton will pass for over 300 yards and a score as the Bengals win at home for only the fourth time this season.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
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MVP: Bears WR Brandon Marshall
The Chicago Bears offense has not been clicking on all cylinders lately, which is no fault of Brandon Marshall. The former Denver Bronco and Miami Dolphin scored a touchdown in each of the last three games. In that same span, Marshall has 22 catches for 284 yards.
The Bears will be fighting for their playoff lives while the Lions are playing for pride. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and Marshall will have career games as the Bears get a win to at least be in the hunt for a playoff berth.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
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MVP: Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon
Quarterback Chad Henne hasn't produced many wins for Jacksonville, but he did beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 12. Justin Blackmon seems to have found a niche with Henne. Since Henne was named starter, Blackmon has caught 25 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns.
The Titans have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and give up 30.1 points a game. Tennessee has given up 51 passing plays of over 20-plus yards.
Since Blackmon is averaging 13.6 yards a catch, look for Henne to find the wide receiver deep a couple times this game. Blackmon will help the Jaguars get the win and end the season on a positive note with at least one touchdown catch.
Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
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MVP: Texans WR Andre Johnson
Andre Johnson had 11 receptions versus the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15 and has been playing at a very high level the past five games. The Houston Texans are competing for a first-round bye, so Johnson should be full-go and ready to exploit the Colts secondary again.
The Colts give up 24.7 points a game and allow, on average, 7.4 yards per passing play. Johnson will get his scoring going this week because the Colts have allowed 23 receiving touchdowns.
Johnson will score at least once and have over 150 receiving yards as the Texans clinch an off week to get healthy.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
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MVP: Packers WR Greg Jennings
Greg Jennings scored last week and will be looking to repeat that feat as the Green Bay Packers need to win to lock up a first-round bye.
Look for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to make Jennings his go-to guy this week. Jennings has abused the Vikings in the past, and with Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson both dinged up, the former Pro Bowler will have a big week.
Rodgers has targeted Jennings 28 times in the past four games. Jennings will catch at least eight passes for over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
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MVP: Patriots QB Tom Brady
Tom Brady has the New England Patriots offense humming right now, and the Dolphins simply look like a small speed bump in the road. Brady has produced 13 touchdowns in the past five games.
Brady knows the Patriots need the win to have the chance to secure home-field advantage and get a first-round bye, so look for Brady to come out sharp early.
Brady is playing like a league MVP and will get up big on the 25th-ranked pass defense in the NFL. Brady may not play the entire game, but his statistics will look like he did at the end of the day.
Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
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MVP: Panthers QB Cam Newton
The New Orleans Saints defense was a major reason for the team's demise in 2012. Playing against Cam Newton, who has stepped up his game in recent weeks, will not make life easier on the Saints defense.
Newton has already led his Carolina Panthers team to a win versus the Saints in Week 2. Newton played an efficient game that week, completing 70 percent of his passes. Newton also rushed for 71 yards in that contest.
The Panthers have won four out of their last five games. Look for Newton to lead Carolina to its fourth in a row with a total yardage output of over 350 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
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MVP: Eagles QB Michael Vick
Michael Vick gets his one last shot to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and will go out in a blaze of glory. Having been able to watch rookie Nick Foles grow in the Eagles offense has allowed Vick to get healthy and play smarter.
The game will be emotional for the Eagles, and the team will rally around embattled head coach Andy Reid. Vick was brought to Philadelphia as a project for Reid, and the quarterback will give his all to win the game.
The Giants defense gives up 387.8 yards a game. Vick will run and pass like a kid on the playground as the Eagles keep the Giants out of the postseason.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
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MVP: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Neither team has much to play for, so expect a lot of backups to get some game experience. Ben Roethlisberger has lost his last three starts and will have something to prove to the city of Pittsburgh.
The Cleveland Browns have the 24nd-ranked defense in the NFL and give up 373.9 yards a game. Roethlisberger may not throw for 300 yards and three scores, but the big quarterback will run the Steelers offense efficient enough to win.
Look for Roethlisberger to throw for over 280 yards and a touchdown in a hard-fought game at home. The Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive players will rally around Roethlisberger and play extra hard to not finish with a losing record.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
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MVP: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
The last time the rookie from Baylor faced the Dallas Cowboys defense, Robert Griffin III threw for four touchdowns and over 300 yards. Expect that same type of performance from RG3 again.
The winner of the best game of the weekend is NFC East champion. The Washington Redskins at home will be tough for the Cowboys to beat.
The Redskins are on a five-game win streak, and in the last five games RG3 has played, he has 12 touchdown passes to only two interceptions. Griffin is a threat as a runner and a passer, and he will lead the Redskins to the NFC East crown.
Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers
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MVP: Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor was named the starter on Friday and will get a chance to see if he can be the future at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. In a game that years ago had credence, both teams are just playing to evaluate talent on the roster.
Pryor is a good athlete and will use his feet to pick up big chunks of yardage. In a fashion that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick displayed in his starting debut, Pryor will be an offensive look the Raiders have seen much this season.
Pryor may not put up crazy statistics, but he will lead his team to the win and give general manager Reggie McKenzie something to think about for the future of that position for the Black and Silver.
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
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MVP: 49ers RB Frank Gore
The 49ers are playing for the NFC West Championship. San Francisco is a better team when Frank Gore gets his touches. Look for Gore to carry the football over 25 times as the 49ers look to wear down an Arizona Cardinals team that doesn't have much to play for.
Gore has not rushed for over 100 yards in the past eight contests. That will change Sunday. The Cardinals held Gore in check in Week 8 but are now the 28th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.
Gore will exploit the Cardinals defense for over 125 yards and two touchdowns.
St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
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MVP: Rams RB Steven Jackson
Steven Jackson may be playing his last football game, as the wily veteran implied a possibility of retirement after playing his entire career in St. Louis.
The Seattle Seahawks have been playing some great football in December, having yet to lose. That will change against a St. Louis Rams team that beat them in Week 4.
The Rams have won four out of their last five contests, and Jackson has rushed for 405 yards total in those games. Look for Jackson to rush for over 100 yards in his swan song with the Rams as the Jeff Fisher-led bunch finishes the season 8-7-1 and with the best record in the NFC West.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
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MVP: Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno
With starting running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve, Knowshon Moreno has been a solid starting running back. Moreno has gotten over 20 carries in each of the past five games and has a total of 436 yards on the ground in those games.
The Kansas City Chiefs are 26th in the NFL in rush defense and allow their opponents 133.3 yards a game on the ground. The Chiefs have also allowed 18 runs of over 20 yards.
Moreno may not rush for over 100 yards because the Denver Broncos are resting him for the playoffs. But with top seeding in the playoffs still hanging in the balance, Moreno will find the end zone at least once and will give his team balance in a dominant win.