Thursday, December 31, 2009

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 17

The NFL might not have flexed the Cowboys-Eagles game to Sunday Night, but I'm guessing it's the best game of the weekend anyway.

Late in the NFL season making picks gets tricky, as not everyone puts forth their best effort. Some teams have everything to play for such as the Jets, Ravens, Eagles, and Cowboys. Other teams have zero reason to play hard such as the Colts, Saints, Bengals (maybe), and Chargers. Still other teams just don’t care anymore…see the Seahawks, Lions and Redskins. Finally, some teams have nothing to play for but pride, but seem to be playing hard anyway…such as the Titans, Buccaneers, and Panthers. In this difficult landscape, I venture forth…trying to bring home a decent season of predicting. It’s been a good season for me when it comes to making guesses about the NFL. I am still alive in the eliminator game of which I am taking part, I am in first place out of 50 some guys making picks against the spread each week, and I just won the championship in the 16 team fantasy football league made up of guys from Then of course, I’m in first place out of hundreds of entries in The Ed’s Super Deluxe Football game…so I’m having quite the pretend football season. With all of those impressive credentials on my resume…I proudly present my final week of regular season picks for the year:

Indianapolis at Buffalo – How weird is the final week of the 2009 NFL season? The Bills are favored over the Colts. When you factor in that the Colts have exactly zero to play for, and it’s likely that Curtis Painter will be behind center for the lion share of this game for Indy, it makes more sense. Still…doesn’t it seem like the Colts backups should beat the Bills starters? In a game that is completely impossible to predict…here is a prediction. Colts 20 Bills 14

Jacksonville at Cleveland – Improbably the Cleveland Browns are riding a three game win streak. Jacksonville has to be down in the dumps after blowing a chance to make the playoffs, but seriously, there was no reason the Jags should have been sniffing the playoffs. In one of the crazier developments to end the season, I’m going to say the Browns go out feeling good about themselves by improbably winning their fourth straight game. If you told me a month ago that I’d be picking Cleveland to finish with a four game win streak, I’d have told you to lay off the crackpipe. Browns 21 Jaguars 10

San Francisco at Saint Louis – Week 17 is a land of uncertainty. In these uncertain times, it’s good to know that the Rams are truly putrid. In a game that I feel so confident about that I’m sure to be wrong, but I’m going to pick it anyway. 49ers 30 Rams 7

Pittsburgh at Miami – The heart wants the Dolphins because that would be better for the Broncos. The head says that the Steelers are back, winning two tough games versus the Packers and Ravens after their late season swoon placed them in the unlikely position of being nearly eliminated. Heart wins on this prediction, Go Fins! Dolphins 24 Steelers 21

New York Giants at Minnesota – Do I take the slumping team that is eliminated or the slumping team that is in contention for the 2 seed? The Vikings have more to lose, obviously, so they may be tight. However, with as crappy as the Gigantics looked in the Giants Stadium Finale last week losing 41-9 to Carolina, I can’t in good conscious pick New York. Vikings 30 Giants 17

Atlanta at Tampa Bay – The Bucs are another crappy team that has decided to soar late in the season. They went into Seattle and crushed the Seahawks, then more impressively toppled the Saints in New Orleans the next week. With that kind of momentum, why not pick Tampa to keep up the hot streak? Especially since it’s not exactly like the Falcons are world beaters. Buccaneers 22 Falcons 19

New Orleans at Carolina – I’m feeling better and better about the Saints as they currently remind me of the 1998 Denver Broncos team that also started out 13-0, lost two straight games, and then finished up by polishing off a division rival (the Seahawks) before going on a rampage in the playoffs and sweeping to a Super Bowl Championship. I think Drew Brees has a similar run in him. The playoffs are totally unpredictable, and though the Saints are on a tiny slump, I think they right the ship in Carolina and get things in order for a deep playoff run. Saints 24 Panthers 17

New England at Houston – I’m definitely pulling for the Texans to win here and have their first ever winning season, but I don’t know if they have what it takes to take down a Patriots team that would probably like to be a 3 seed over a 4 seed. Patriots 27 Texans 13

Chicago at Detroit – The Bears actually looked solid against the Vikings winning on Monday night, so I’m going to guess that they can at least approximate what they showed six days earlier in the friendly confines of Detroit’s Ford Field…where almost everyone leaves happy except the home team. If the Lions keep improving by 2 games each season, they’ll be a .500 team by 2012! Bears 27 Lions 0

Baltimore at Oakland – The Raiders ruined the Broncos season two weeks ago in Denver, and now when the Broncos could use their help, I’m guessing they get stomped. Stupid Raiders. Ravens 34 Raiders 10

Green Bay at Arizona – Chances are good that these two teams will be facing off again next week in Arizona with a lot more on the line. Not sure how much they want to show each other, as this will feel more like a warm-up than an actual game. Both of these teams have made the postseason, and there are some interesting scenarios for the Cards that could include them getting a bye, but it’s unlikely, and I’m guessing this game will be pretty vanilla. Packers 13 Cardinals 10

Washington at San Diego – I feel like the Redskins are going to continue not trying for a head coach that is going to be cleaning out his office on Monday or Tuesday. “Thanks for the memories, Jim Zorn. Here’s one final beatdown to remember us by, with love, -The Redskins” Chargers 27 Redskins 6

Tennessee at Seattle – The Seahawks clearly don’t care about this season anymore, and I think the Titans want to finish at .500 to put a final stamp on their recovery from an 0-6 hole. Titans 29 Seahawks 20

Philadelphia at Dallas – This should be the best game of the weekend, and the winner gets the NFC East crown. Both of these teams look to be peaking as the playoffs come into view. I’ll call for overtime to decide this contest which should be an exciting one. I say the Cowboys get it done and avenge their season ending thumping at the hands of the Eagles last year. Cowboys 30 Eagles 27 (in OT)

Kansas City at Denver – In a second half of the season marked by indignities, the Broncos avoid what would be the worst mark on their record of all by taking down the very untalented Chiefs at home in a game that may or may not mean something for Denver. Broncos 26 Chiefs 13

Cincinnati at New York Jets – Hopefully this game means something for Cincinnati by the time it rolls around on Sunday Night, as I really don’t want the Jets to make the playoffs on the strength of two late season wins against teams that aren’t trying. Bengals 20 Jets 16

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 8-8
Season to Date: 152-88

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