Week 17 NFL Picks: Predicting Who Will make the Playoffs

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I went 12-4 in Week 16, bringing my season record to 142-97. Call it a little bit of OCD, but there's just something about having 100 losses that I want to avoid. Maybe it's just my personal sense of pride. In order to accomplish such a feat, I will have to go 14-2 this week.

With some teams already locked into the playoffs, it can be more difficult to project what will happen. I will give it a try, nonetheless. The discussion theme for this week's picks will be to highlight what playoff implications each game might have.

Week 17 Games Explanation Pick
vs.

Back to the Sanchise: Both teams are eliminated from the playoff picture. For the Jets, the story gets more interesting at quarterback: Greg McElroy wasn't truthful about his concussion symptoms after being sacked 11 times last week (geez!), and now Mark Sanchez is back in the saddle. Whatever, I'm tired of talking so much about a team that failed to use a guy who could've been one of their best assets all season in Tim Tebow. For that, the Bills deserve to win big. Bills 31, Jets 6

vs.

Getting Back to .500: Both teams are eliminated from the playoff picture. The Saints have kicked things up a notch over the past few weeks, though, and have even started to play better defensively. Strangely enough, the same is true for the Carolina Panthers, who have won their past three games and could finish ahead of the Buccaneers. I'll go with the Saints to finish .500. Saints 28, Panthers 24

vs.

Nothing to Play For: The Falcons have nothing to play for this week, and they are the only team in the NFL that has the luxury to rest all of their players if they so choose to. I'm tempted to pick the Buccaneers, but they've looked like a down-and-out team the past two weeks and are in the midst of a five-game losing streak. I'll stick with the Falcons for that reason. Falcons 20, Buccaneers 17

vs.

Legitimate Chance for Chicago: The Bears still have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs. If they win and the Vikings lose to the Packers, they are in. Calvin Johnson is crazy good for the Lions, but he's really the only weapon they have right now, and the Bears are sure to make sure he isn't the reason they miss the playoffs. Jay Cutler will thrive and then the Bears will play the waiting game. Bears 27, Lions 16

vs.

Only a Prayer's Chance: This is where it ends for the Giants. Even if they win, they need too many other things to happen: the Bears, Vikings, and Cowboys would all have to lose. It's not entirely out of the question if Chicago lays an egg, but it's still a tall order. The Giants will win this week because the Eagles still can't cover well, but they'll miss the postseason. Giants 24, Eagles 17

vs.

Winless in the Division: Both teams are eliminated from the playoff picture. The Titans are 0-5 in their division, and I like what Jacksonville's receivers have been able to accomplish late in the year. I'll go with Jacksonville to sweep the season series and hurt their draft position a bit in the process. Jaguars 20, Titans 17

vs.

Pagano Rallies His Troops: This is a crucial game for the Texans. If they lose, there is a legitimate chance that they will fall to the No. 3 seed. If they win, they'll lock up home field advantage in the AFC. They barely escaped with a win against the Colts two weeks ago at home, and haven't been playing as dominant as of late. The Colts are already locked in as the No. 5 team and can rest players if they choose to. Chuck Pagano said he won't do that, and that's the right call with such a young group of guys. The Colts will rally behind their returning coach for another emotional win. Colts 28, Texans 23

vs.

First-Round Rematch? This game is rather meaningless. The Ravens have won the AFC North, and the Bengals will definitely be the No. 6 seed. If the Ravens win, though, there is a chance they could move up to the third seed, which means they could face Cincinnati again one week later. I really don't care to see an AFC North matchup in the playoffs, so I'll take Cincinnati to win and put that concern to bed. Bengals 31, Ravens 17

vs.

Blocking the Seahawks: The 49ers must win this game, because they can't afford to let Seattle get any home games in the playoffs. There's also an outside chance that the 49ers can still get a first round bye. They'll make it possible at least, because they will manhandle the Cardinals at the line of scrimmage without a doubt. 49ers 35, Cardinals 3

vs.

Garbage AFC West Game: Both teams are eliminated from the playoff picture. It's pretty surprising that these teams have even combined for ten wins with the way they've played this year. The Chargers really don't have a home-field advantage, but Oakland isn't good on the road and will likely turn to Matt Leinart this Sunday with Carson Palmer hurt. Disaster. Chargers 17, Raiders 13

vs.

Shooting for the Top Seed: You can certainly bet that the Broncos will want to win this game and play their starters throughout. The Texans may very well lose to the Colts, and the Broncos want that No. 1 seed. If the Texans win, the Broncos still need to preserve a first-round bye. Fortunately, they face the worst team in football this week. Broncos 34, Chiefs 13

vs.

Forget the Record: This will be a "win-and-in" scenario for the Vikings. At the same time, Adrian Peterson will be hoping to break the NFL rushing record. It's a tall order to ask for, though, given the amount he needs in a game like this. The Packers are motivated to win, too, because they can secure the No. 2 seed that way. The Packers are on fire and will come away with a key win here to upset the Vikings' chances. Packers 27, Vikings 20

vs.

Hanging Tough: The Patriots are pretty much locked in at the No. 3 seed, but they still have a chance at the No. 1 seed if the Texans and Broncos both lose. The Dolphins have been playing great football and are looking to finish at .500. They'll make the Patriots earn it again, but Tom Brady will come away victorious. Patriots 24, Dolphins 21

vs.

Make it Happen: I love this Seahawks team, and I am hoping there is a way they can get a home playoff game. I'm already having visions back to the game over the Saints a couple of years back. Unfortunately, they'll need help from the Cardinals earlier in the day. They'll at least know their fate heading into this game. Seahawks 28, Rams 13

vs.

Finale Game: Bang. This is what you have to love: win-and-in for the final game of the 2012 regular season. Personally, I'd love to see both of these teams in the playoffs. Tony Romo has been insanely good as of late, but they blew a big opportunity last week. The Redskins are on a six-game winning streak with the benefit of finishing the season at home. Robert Griffin III will lead a game-winning drive to close out the regular season. Redskins 23, Cowboys 20

vs.

Going for the Sweep: Both teams are eliminated from the playoff picture. I bet we didn't think that statement would be true for Pittsburgh at the start of the season. This game is still "Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh," so the rivalry means something to both cities. In terms of the quality of the game, injuries and being eliminated from the playoffs makes it far less compelling. My full game preview and prediction will be up on Saturday.

TBD



Survivor Pick:
I am 12-4 in survivor, riding a nine-game winning streak after the Bears beat the Cardinals last week. The teams I've used are GB, HOU, PIT, NO, DEN, NYJ, SEA, MIA, and CHI. This week, I'll go with the 49ers over the Cardinals.

Here is how the playoffs would like in my scenario (note: use ESPN's Playoff Machine tool to work out your own scenarios):

Espnplayoffs_medium

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Dawgs By Nature

You must be a member of Dawgs By Nature to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Dawgs By Nature. You should read them.

Join Dawgs By Nature

You must be a member of Dawgs By Nature to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Dawgs By Nature. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker