NFL Week 17 Picks: The Final Countdown

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IDecember 27, 2008

Well, the week a lot of us don't look forward to has finally arrived. We are on the eve of the final week of the 2008 NFL regular season, and my goodness did it come fast!

After this weekend's games, a lot of us will go back to sitting in our dark corner of the room, and await the 2009 NFL Draft, mini camps, training camps, and the pre-season.

Others will continue to watch their teams who made it into the playoffs in hopes of playing for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy and a big fat Super Bowl ring.

But, as I said earlier, we still have one week left in which to loathe our teams' downfalls or triumph in their successes.


1:00 PM EST Games

St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons

The Rams will try to salvage whatever remains of their bleak, dismal record of 2-13, but I can't imagine them being able to do much, if anything, to help their pathetic record that they're bringing to "Hotlanta" on Sunday afternoon.

Atlanta is looking to take the division title and the No. 2 playoff seed with a win, and in the hopes of a Panthers loss against the Saints.

I don't know about that game right now, but I do feel the Falcons should quite handily give the Rams their final loss of the season.

Falcons by 14.


New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills had a decent turnaround this season from last year.

The Bills started the season hot, and I kept saying that everyone needs to watch out for Buffalo all season. Well, I was kind of wrong; however, I say watch out for the Bills Sunday as they look to play spoiler to the Patriots post-season hopes.

The Patriots have shown up strong against their opponents, and without Tom Brady.

It seems to me that the Patriots are the ultimate in "plug and play" when it comes to injuries.

I know I said to watch out for Buffalo in this game, but I can't help but feel the power of the Patriots.

Patriots by 6.


Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals

Both the Bengals and Chiefs have had terrible seasons.

I expected as much from the Chiefs, but Cincinnati was a shocker to me and many others throughout the league.

I must say in defense of the Bengals however, that they have shown up big in just about every game they've played this season, including the game where they took the big bad Giants into overtime.

The Chiefs have had another "par for the course" year, and I will be surprised to see Herm Edwards back at the helm next season.

Bengals by 3.


Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Green Bay (5-10) had a fairly disappointing season, and I suppose that would be an understatement, but how can anyone explain going to the NFC Championship with Brett Favre last year, and totally bombing with Aaron Rodgers this season?

Apparently Brett Favre was a larger factor than the Packers organization gave him credit for...Just ask Eric Mangini of the 9-6 Jets.

Detroit, in typical Motor City Kitty fashion, just might become the first team in NFL history to have the Imperfect Season, and go 0-16!

No team has ever lost 16 games in the NFL...yet.

I think that with time Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be a bigger threat than they are right now, and I think the magic of Lambeau will be with the Packers Sunday afternoon.

Packers by 7.


Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

The Titans have nothing to play for on Sunday.

With their win over the Steelers last weekend, Tennessee clinched homefield advantage throughout and the first-round bye.

The Colts, on the other hand, are still looking to lock up a playoff berth to end their season of uprising.

Colts by 3.


New York "A-Team" Giants at Minnesota Vikings

With a win in overtime last Sunday night against the Panthers, the "A-Team" is another team with nothing to lose this weekend, besides their hearing in what should be an incredibly loud Metro Dome.

The "A-Team" has locked up homefield throughout and the first round bye.

The Vikings are desperately trying to lock up the last wildcard slot, and a win over the "A-Team" would also be a nice moral victory for Minnesota going into the playoffs.

I can't imagine the "A-Team's" Tom Coughlin playing any of his starting lineup tomorrow, but we'll have to wait and see what his ingenious ideas will be.

Vikings by 7.


Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

The Panthers are coming off a huge loss in overtime to the Giants last Sunday night.

Carolina is a hungry team right now, and one that also has its back against the wall in a "must win" for the No. 2 seed and the division title.

The Saints are hoping to play the spoiler role and push the Panthers on their faces, thus knocking them down to a wild-card seed.

I look for Carolina to bounce back and make a final statement in the regular season while picking up the first-round bye and the right to host the divisional round in Charlotte.

Speaking of the Panthers, I need to go for a few minutes and get my freshly washed game jersey out of the dryer in preparation for tomorrow's big game.

Panthers by 3.


Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Browns were also the recipients of another surprisingly dismal season.

Cleveland is playing for nothing more than bragging rights in this one, and I can see them winning it, too.

Pittsburgh has a playoff berth and the division clinched with a win, however.

Browns by 3.


Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The latest from Oakland is that Al Davis will not be in attendance at this game. He is too busy in preparations for the upcoming "open coaches' tryout" competition.

The Buccaneers need a win in this game to compete for the last wild card spot, as well as a barrage of other this one needs to do this and this one needs to do that.

The Raiders are another team looking to play the spoiler role and dash the Bucs' hopes of a post-season.

Raiders by 3.


Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

The Bears are another team that is still in playoff contention.

The Texans, a team that had a markedly improved season, will also be playing a spoiler role on Sunday.

Houston seems to be hitting its stride at the right time, in order to create some season-ending upsets.

Texans by 7.


4:15 PM EST Games

Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers

The Redskins went from post-season hopes and leading the NFC East, to the basement of the division; The Eagles are only half a game better than the 'Skins.

The 49ers, under interim head coach Mike Singletary, have been playing some solid football the past few weeks, even though their record looks a little anemic.

This should be a good game between two teams with no hopes of a post-season appearance.

49ers by 2.


Miami Dolphins at New York Bretts...I meant Jets

The Miami Dolphins have made a terrific 180 from last season to this season.

They went from bottom of the barrel to the mix of who's who, going into the playoffs.

The Jets also turned around from a typical season last year, while also taking a crap shoot at picking up Brett Favre—17 years after they wanted to draft him.

Chad Pennington is bringing his awesome Dolphins to the Meadowlands, where he will show the Jets management why releasing him was such a big no-no.

Jets will not likely be seen in the playoffs this year, either.

This is also my pick for game of the week.

Dolphins by 7.


Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

The Eagles finally have two things going for them.

First, tight end LJ Smith won't have an opportunity to make himself look like a complete fool on the field.

Second, rumor from the Eagles' cleaner's closet says win or lose, Reid is relinquishing his command over McNabb and the Eagles following the game against Dallas.

The TO and Romo show has become very monotonous, and quite frankly I am really hoping for an Eagles victory, so that instead of hearing about how these two wahoos can't get along but manage to make the post-season, I'll probably have to hear about all the crying and hype about what TO said to Tony after the loss.

Get your popcorn ready, Cowboys...

Eagles by 3.


Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens

The Jags had a surprisingly sub-standard season. I figured them to be a wild card at worst this year.

The Ravens have had a really exciting season this year, and head coach John Harbaugh has really made a splash as a rookie head coach along with rookie quarterback, Joe Flacco.

The Ravens need this win in order to stay in the hunt and possibly snatch up a wild card seed.

Ravens by 7.


Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

I don't know what to think of Seattle anymore this year.

Head coach Mike Holmgren is calling it quits after this game—or a brief hiatus—depending on who's story you prefer to believe.

The Cardinals have a playoff slot locked and they aren't really playing for much in this game.

I feel the Seahawks could take this one, as it simply could be a "gimme" game.

I don't look for the Cardinals to just give the game to the Seahawks the way Brett and the Jets did last week though.

Seahawks by 5.


8:15 PM EST Game

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

Denver and San Diego have also been two teams struggling to stay in playoff contention.

This game, along with the Jets/Dolphins game, should be another game of the week.

I am entranced by the numbers that have been put up by Philip Rivers this year. The Chargers, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, made a nice trade picking him up.

Another good thing about this game is Ed Hochuli and his cronies will not be officiating in this one, either.

Chargers by 2.


Everyone have a safe and happy holidays.

I have some "merry" to catch up on.


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