NFL Week 17 Picks: Underachieving Teams Sure to End Season with Win

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball as  Josh Brent #92 of the Dallas Cowboys defends on November 11, 2012 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Week 17 of the NFL season is upon us, which means it's all but too late for some teams to turn around their seasons. But even one insignificant late-season win can carry a lot of weight moving forward in order to build hope and work on personnel heading into 2013.

While the hopes of making the playoffs and championship aspirations have vanished for these teams who were likely seen as favorites to make a deep run, they'll surely still notch a Week 17 victory as they enjoy a favorable matchup. 

Nothing can change the fact that they'll be spending January on their couch instead of in the team facility and on the field, but these players will do much with their last chance to play in 2012.

Check out below which underachieving teams will end the season on a high note with victories.


Philadelphia Eagles

Saying the Eagles' 2012 season was a letdown would be a vast understatement. The team is 4-11, the Michael Vick era is all but over and the team is facing a sure coaching change with many top-salary players bringing the team down.

It's safe to say they're playing for a lot of pride Sunday against the struggling New York Giants. 

The 8-7 Giants certainly have much more to play for as they can still somehow pull off a playoff berth with a ton of help, but after losing three of their last four and their offense sputtering, things aren't looking up for the G-men.

On the other side of the token, Philly will get Vick back as starter after Nick Foles was placed on the IR (per Fox Sports). His chances of regaining the starting position with the Eagles is slim, but 32-year-old knows there are plenty of teams searching for elite QBs and it's not far-fetched to assume he can still be one. 

One of the league's most struggling teams faces a team with a lot of pride on the line and a quarterback who's desperate to unleash his talent. This one has the Eagles' fifth and final win written all over it.


San Diego Chargers

Things were expected to be a little tougher for the Chargers this season when Peyton Manning entered the AFC West, but a 6-9 record indicates more of a struggle than we all expected. 

It's hard to picture a scenario that doesn't end in Norv Turner's firing after the season, especially after an early December report from Yahoo! Sports saying the decision has already been made. But don't discount the level of talent on San Diego's roster.

Of course, it doesn't hurt when the hapless Oakland Raiders come to town for the season finale. As if the 4-11 Raiders weren't doomed already, Dion Caputi of National Football Post reported that Terrelle Pryor will make his first career start. 

#Raiders head coach Dennis Allen has named Terrelle Pryor as the team's starting QB vs. #Chargers on Sunday. His first career start.

— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) December 28, 2012


It's too early to write off Pryor as a potential future starter, but I'm willing to assume he'll struggle in his first go-around as most rookies do. Besides, most of the players around him are checked out.

Don't be surprised if this one gets ugly as Philip Rivers takes out a season's worth of frustrations on a horrendous defense. 


Pittsburgh Steelers

A combination of injuries to playmakers and poor offensive schemes made 2012 a season to forget in Pittsburgh. The perennial Super Bowl contending Steelers can only hope to finish the season at .500 with a win over the Cleveland Browns.

By losing to Cleveland earlier this season and missing the playoffs, the Steelers extended their Browns playoff curse in which they miss the postseason every year that they lose to their AFC North rival (per ESPN). 

But the matchup earlier in the season was quite a bit different, as no Ben Roethlisberger led to eight turnovers for a hapless Steelers offense. Things will be quite different in Week 17, as Roethlisberger looks to give his offense the tiniest sliver of hope heading into 2013 and beyond.

Also, Adam Schefter reported something on Twitter that might make a few Steelers fans chuckle and chalk up an easy win. 

Browns HC Pat Shurmur announced QB Thaddeus Lewis and RB Montario Hardesty will start Sunday vs. Steelers.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2012


One of Cleveland's only times of promise this season came in their win over Pittsburgh, but don't expect them to duplicate it come Sunday.

Especially not with Thaddeus Lewis at the helm.