NFL Picks Week 17: Playoff Scenarios Will Be Settled, Predictions For Each Game

Matt RudnitskyCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2010

NFL Picks Week 17: Playoff Scenarios Will Be Settled, Predictions For Each Game

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 26:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    NFL Week 17 includes Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins, New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns, just to name a few.

    Divisional matchups with playoff implications are everywhere in the AFC and NFC this weekend, and all of the playoff scenarios will be settled by Monday night (barring another Tuesday Night Football game).

    So with the 2010 NFL regular season ready to finally come to an end, here are my last set of NFL picks for the year.

Chiefs (-3.5) Over Raiders

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 26:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs makes a catch in the endzone for a touchdown as Gerald McRath #51 of the Tennessee Titans defends during the game on December 26, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missou
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Chiefs broke down late against the Raiders in their first meeting, but this game is at home.  Kansas City is undefeated in Arrowhead Stadium this season.

    Look for Jamaal Charles to go off in a Chiefs victory.

    Chiefs 30, Raiders 13

Patriots (-4) Over Dolphins

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 26:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills  at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York.  New England won 34-3.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The Patriots will get a week off before the start of their first game, so Bill Belichick won't want his starters to sit this one out; they'll be too rusty for the playoffs.

    And if the starters are playing, the Dolphins don't stand much of a chance.

    Patriots 42, Dolphins 23

Colts (-9.5) Over Titans

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts passes against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December  26, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    This is a must-win game for the Colts, and a meaningless one for the Titans.

    And disregard the score in their last meeting, the game wasn't close despite the 30-28 result.

    Manning and Co. should have little trouble in this one.

    Colts 34, Titans 20

Jaguars (+3) Over Texans

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 19: Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    The Texans, with all of their talent, just can't win games.  And their pitiful defense doesn't help.

    Jacksonville, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a whole lot of talent, but they've managed an 8-7 record.  And it's a must-win for them if they want to have any shot at the playoffs.

    The Jags are the smart bet here.

    Jaguars 28, Texans 27

Steelers (-5.5) Over Browns

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 23:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during the game against the Carolina Panthers on December 23, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    The Steelers have the NFL's best run defense, and should completely shut down Peyton Hillis.

    And when the Browns are one-dimensional (and that dimension isn't Hillis), they are pretty easy to stifle.

    Steelers 31, Browns 10

Bengals (+9.5) Over Ravens

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19:  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens looks for a receiver during the game against the New Orleans Saints  at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry
    Larry French/Getty Images

    The Bengals are quitely playing some solid football lately, with two straight wins, including last week's impressive triumph over the desperate Chargers.

    But the Ravens should win the game.

    Ravens 28, Bengals 21

Lions (-3) Over Vikings

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    DETROIT - NOVEMBER 25: Shaun Hill #14 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during the game against the New England Patriots at Ford Field on November 25, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. New England defeated Detroit 45-24.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    The Lions are the NFL's most underrated team this season.  If not for a couple of bad breaks, they could be just outside of a playoff berth.

    They'll have trouble stopping Adrian Peterson, but should be able to contain Brett Favre (or Joe Webb) with their impressive pass-rush.

    Lions 24, Vikings 20

Giants (-4) Over Redskins

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants runs with the ball as Quintin Mikell #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles defends during their game on December 19, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This is an absolute must-win for the Giants.

    If they can't beat the Redskins, Tom Coughlin needs to be fired immediately.

    Giants 38, Redskins 13

Packers (-10) Over Bears

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 26:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers rolls out of the pocket against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on December 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    It seems a little extreme that the Packers are favored by 10, but I think it's justified.  Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as anyone not named Brady (yes, even Vick), and their defense has been great.

    The Bears are good, but despite their lesser record, the Packers are better.

    Packers 31, Bears 20

Eagles (-7) Over Cowboys

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 28:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Eagles were contained by the Vikings last week and (for three and a half quarters) by the Giants two weeks ago, but that's because of their pass-rushes.

    And even though Vick likely won't play, the Cowboys don't have what it takes to pressure Kevin Kolb and disrupt the Eagles' explosive offense.

    Eagles 30, Cowboys 21

Jets (-1.5) Over Bills

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 26: Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 38-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    No Mark Sanchez doesn't mean the Jets can't run the ball.  Or that the Bills can score on them.

    All it means is a favorable line for gamblers.

    Jets 20, Bills 17

Falcons (-14.5) Over Panthers

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 27:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks upfield to pass during the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome on December 27, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The only minor weakness in the Falcons' armor is their less-than-stellar pass defense.

    But Jimmy Clausen can't exploit that weakness.

    Falcons 36, Panthers 20

Saints (-7.5) Over Bucs

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints looks upfield to pass in the second half during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 27, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Ge
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The Bucs are the king of mediocre teams.  They can beat anyone worse than them (the Lions game excluded), but can't beat anyone better than them.

    And the Saints are looking like a solid bet to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

    Saints 31, Bucs 21

Rams (-3) Over Seahawks

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 19: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams passes against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Edward Jones Dome on December 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Chiefs beat the Rams 27-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Sam Bradford vs. Charlie Whitehurst.

    Need I say more?

    Rams 26, Seahawks 13

49ers (-6) Over Cardinals

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    SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 12:  Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers runs after a catch as Lawyer Milloy #36 of the Seattle Seahawks defends during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 12, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jaco
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The "game after coach gets canned" rule in its truest form.

    Releasing the Niners from Mike Singletary's reign of terror will lift them to victory.

    49ers 31, Cardinals 17

Chargers (-3.5) Over Broncos

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    CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26:  Philip Rivers #17  of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass during the Chargers 34-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Imag
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Two of the most embarrassing teams in the NFL.

    Still, I'll take Philip Rivers (-3.5) over Tim Tebow any time over the next 10 years.  Especially in Tebow's third start.

    Chargers 28, Broncos 24


    Last Week: 7-8

    Season: 83-65

    Matt Rudnitsky is a student at the University of Michigan and a Featured Columnist/writing intern at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter at

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