NFL Picks - Week 17

Sunday Morning

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta

Congratulations to the Falcons who have clinched the top seed in the NFC. It's probably a good idea for them to rest their players this week to allow the team to get as stale as possible so that they come out and sleepwalk through their home playoff game. Of course, that's the nightmare scenario for every Atlanta fan, but it's ok because I've never met an Atlanta fan and neither have you, so if that does happen you won't have anyone in your life that you'll need to feel bad for. I expect the Falcons' starters to play for about a half in an attempt to keep some semblance of a rhythm going and maintain their undefeated record at home. And against a Buccaneers team that appears to be giving no effort, half an effort should be enough to get the job done.

Falcons 20-17

New York Jets @ Buffalo

Greg McElroy had a good run as the Jets starter, but after one week on the job he's back to the bench as the result of a concussion. Little did you know that McElroy gave himself the injury on purpose by doing this after experiencing life as the starting quarterback of the 2012 New York Jets. I can't blame the guy, in fact, I'm surprised Sanchez hasn't done the same thing yet, though  I guess running directly into your lineman's ass is in the same vein.

Bills 17-13

Baltimore @ Cincinnati

If everything shakes out correctly this could be a preview of a wild card playoff game. And if everything plays out incorrectly, the teams will come to the field and play baseball. But if I had to stake my reputation on one of the aforementioned scenarios happening, I'd go with the former. Coincidentally, the Bengals were involved the last time there was a Week17/Wild Card rematch, it took place in the 2009 season when it happened an astounding three times! It was such a remarkable repeat of the prior week that I, for one, remember believing that I'd traveled backwards in time. I attempted to warn my past self about the Lincoln assassination in an effort to prevent it from happening, but alas, I learned that one cannot change what has already happened, especially if it happened in 1865, and no actual time travel was involved to begin with. Cincinnati has nothing to gain with a victory, except for their pride ...

Ravens 19-16

Chicago @ Detroit

The Bears need a win to have a shot at the playoffs while the Lions need a loss to keep themselves in position for a top 5 pick in the draft. If Chicago agrees to throw in at least 108 yards receiving for Calvin Johnson to get him past 2,000 I don't see any reason that the Lions won't just roll over. Well actually the one good reason is that you've been training that damn lion for the last three months and he still won't roll over. Sure he'll sit, or speak, or even fetch you the morning paper, but for whatever reason that son of a bitch will just not roll over! Other than that though it should be an easy win for the Bears.

Bears 28-17

Jacksonville @ Tennessee

A more cowardly writer might be afraid to remind you that he picked the Titans to make the playoffs before the season started; well I'm not that writer! Though I should note that that more cowardly writer is much better than I am, I mean week in week out he's offering up fabulous insight about the game without fail, really a top-notch read. What went wrong for Tennessee this year is easier to figure out than what I thought might have gone right. But with a Jaguars team desperate for a loss coming to town the Titans should be able to salvage a 6-10 record, for which I would like to congratulate them mockingly. But when it comes right down to it, I'm the one who should be mocked for believing in them. They should throw a dunce cap on me and banish me to the corner where I'll be able to look up and see this game playing on THE CORNER SCREEN AT THE SHACK!

Titans 23-16

Houston @ Indianapolis

The Texans' playoff position within the AFC is still very much up in the air. If they win they're #1, but if they lose, look out. Wins from the Broncos and Patriots would leave Houston as the #3 seed and without a first round bye. It's safe to say that they'll need a better effort than they had last week when they lost 23-6 at home to the Vikings. The Colts, meanwhile, are locked into the #5 seed, so why would they bother to give it their all? For the game, damn it! For integrity! For every guy that didn't quite have what it took to make it. For every child who still dares to dream. That's why the Colts will come out on Sunday and give 100%. Anyhow, I'm going with Houston.

Texans 23-20

Carolina @ New Orleans

The fight is on for 2nd place in the NFC South. Who wants the slightly tougher schedule next year? We're going to find out on Sunday. My guess is that the Saints will come out on top to finish their season at an even 8-8, which this intrepid writer is not afraid to remind you is exactly what he predicted they would be before the start of the season. I can feel your pats on my back as I type; some of you are patting too low; seriously, knock it off.

Saints 34-24

Philadelphia @ New York Giants

The Giants are still clinging desperately to their playoff hopes, like a man overboard gripping a piece of wreckage just to stay afloat. However, I get the feeling that New York will somehow pull a Billy Zane and just force their way onto a lifeboat at gunpoint. A lot of things have to fall right for the Giants, but first things first, they must beat the Eagles in Andy Reid's likely finale as head coach. New York has the look of a team that's given up, but Philadelphia has the look of a team that gave up two months ago. So, with all due respect to the Giants, why don't you leave it to the experts on this one.

Giants 31-23

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh

The wheels have come off for the Steelers who started the season 6-3 and now sit at 7-8 with no hope of weaseling their way into the playoffs. A win on Sunday would get them to .500 for the year and save a little bit of face (maybe the nose? Yeah, they'll save nose). And that shouldn't be too much for Pittsburgh fans to ask considering the Browns will likely have to start Thad Lewis, a guy who doesn't even have a number listed by his name on the espn.com roster. Oh, and he also went to Duke, so c'mon.

Steelers 24-6

Sunday Afternoon

St. Louis @ Seattle

What happens when an unstoppable force meets a fairly movable object? We'll find out on Sunday when the Rams travel to the CLink to face the wrecking ball that is the Seattle Seahawks. Of course, after such an unreal three game stretch it might be natural to expect a letdown from the Hawks, but that would require Russell Wilson to let me down, which I'm just not ready to accept. The Hawks are in a full sprint towards the playoffs and they're only getting stronger

Seahawks 34-10

Oakland @ San Diego

Yuck, I just caught a whiff of this game and I could use a courtesy flush. I find it more than a little hilarious that when the Raiders' opened the season at 3-4 it wound up qualifying as a hot start. I'm really hoping that the San Diego fans don't sell this game out so that I don't have to bother looking at it.

Chargers 31-13

Arizona @ San Francisco

This week will really test the mettle of Jaw Sweatshirt and his 49ers. After a total, complete decimation in all phases of the game will they be able to look themselves in the mirror, let alone play a competent football game? Can San Francisco muster enough will power to fight back after they were utterly dominated last week in the deafening and poo-pants inducing noise of CenturyLink Field? No.

Cardinals 17-16

Green Bay @ Minnesota

Playoff implications abound in this NFC North finale. If the Packers win they earn the #2 seed and a first round bye. If the Vikings win they will be the #6 seed and probably be facing Green Bay again next week. Need some more intrigue? Jeez, you really like your intrigue don't you? Adrian Peterson needs 208 yards to break Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record. While that's a tall order, it should be noted that he amassed 210 yards in these teams' first meeting four weeks ago in Green Bay. If Peterson does top that you can expect a Vikings victory, however, I expect neither of these things to happen.

Packers 24-20

Miami @ New England

All of a sudden the Patriots seem off their game. They gave up 41 points at home in a loss to the 49ers two weeks ago and they eked out a win over the Jaguars last week. Most coaches would say, "A win is a win." But this team is coached by Bill Belichick who says, "A win is a win, I guess, you pussies." Clearly some things have to get straightened out for New England before the playoffs, but even a shaky effort should be enough this Sunday.

Patriots 27-17

Kansas City @ Denver

The Broncos are on fire. If that image of a burning horse isn't frightening enough, consider that they've won 10 in a row, with no game being closer than seven points. While it has been a fairly easy schedule for them, that kind of consistency is still impressive. A win here coupled with a Texans loss will give Denver the #1 seed and make them the prohibitive Super Bowl favorite, if they aren't already.

Broncos 38-10

Sunday Night

Dallas @ Washington

Who will win the NFC East? One of these teams, that's for sure. RG3 didn't seem to be at full strength last week, but even if he's 75% as good as he was during his Thanksgiving Day dismantling of the Cowboys it will probably be enough to get the win on Sunday night. I feel like this is the third or fourth time that Tony Romo's been involved in a win and you're in situation in Week 17, and if memory serves he hasn't been very successful in the past. There's no time to actually research that, so let's just roll with the lessons of my (mis)remembered history.

Redskins 27-20

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