This is it, the last regular season week for the NFL. Very few of the games have any meaning at all this week, so it will probably make for a pretty boring week for game viewing. Possibly the biggest game is on Saturday, when the Patriots go for the perfect regular season at the New York Giants. The Giants will likely rest a lot of players, as the game is completely meaningless to them. But since the game is on Saturday that means very few games will be worth watching on Sunday.
This weekend's schedule of games is kind of like reading my picks. Only a few are really worth checking out, and the rest tend to be pretty plain. Hopefully, I can finish up the regular season near .500. Though I have had some off weeks, I consider going 50-50 a pretty good accomplishment. Looking at some of the other weekly picks writers, many of them have ended up near .500 as well. Some of them do have very good records, but they are experts - something I hope to become. Wait… that is my other dream. Ok, enough with my stalling and let me get on to the picks for week 17.
As always, home team in CAPS.
New England 14 1/2 NEW YORK GIANTS
This a huge game obviously as the Patriots go for perfection. Lucky for them the Giants really have nothing to play for. I don't think it would have mattered anyway. The Giants have been too inconsistent this year, and they might not have posed much of a challenge anyway. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the records the Patriots are going for will be reached. They won't be if Tom Brady continues to force the ball to Randy Moss. I thought the Patriots were supposed to be an unselfish team. Apparently when records are to be set, that theory goes out the window.
PHILADELPHIA 7 1/2 Buffalo
The Eagles have been great lately, but it is too little, too late. The Bills were probably better than most expected. The Eagles were likely a playoff team without the injuries. If only Donovan McNabb was healthy all season.
Carolina 2 1/2 TAMPA BAY
The Panthers are one of the most disappointing teams this year, and the Bucs are the exact opposite. I don't think anybody expected them to win the division this year. The Panthers are favored here because the Bucs have nothing to play for. Their first round playoff matchup against the Giants is already set. I am going to take them at home anyway. They want to end the regular season on a positive note.
WASHINGTON 8 1/2 Dallas
The Redskins are one of the feel good stories of the year, and they are likely headed to the postseason. They are on a tear right now, and backup quarterback Todd Collins is playing like the seasoned veteran that he is. The Cowboys are going to rest a lot of their starters, and the Redskins must win this game to get into the playoffs. I think they will.
GREEN BAY 3 1/2 Detroit
Another meaningless game as the Packers already have a bye week for the postseason. The Lions ended up having a mediocre season after a hot start. The Packers should win here. As much as the game is meaningless to them, they still would like to end the season by beating their division rivals.
HOUSTON 6 1/2 Jacksonville
The Texans were in the thick of the playoff race a couple of weeks ago but faltered in the end. They might sneak in next year. The Jaguars have been one of the hottest teams in football the last two months and are really playing well. They have nothing to play for here, so their starters will likely get a lot of rest. I'll take the Texans because of that.
New Orleans 2 1/2 CHICAGO
The Saints must win this game, but they need a lot of help even if they pull this one out. They only hurt themselves by getting off to such a bad start. The Bears have been terribly disappointing this year, and really need to find a quarterback in the offseason. I'll take New Orleans because they have to win this game, but unfortunately for them it is still going to be their last game of the season.
Pittsburgh 3 1/2 BALTIMORE
The Steelers really are in a meaningless game, and of course, so are the Ravens. I don't know what happened to them this year. Pittsburgh has not been playing well lately even though they won last week. They better start playing better if they want to get anywhere in the postseason. They should win here to keep some momentum going.
ATLANTA 2 1/2 Seattle
The Falcons have a lot of work to do in the offseason, and it will probably take a few years to right the ship. The Seahawks are a hot team, and could very well make some noise in the postseason. They will likely rest a lot of players, but they should still be able to beat a Falcons team that can't wait for the season to end.
CLEVELAND 10 San Francisco
The Browns didn't help themselves by losing last week. This game for them is actually meaningless. It doesn't matter what they do, as it all depends on how Tennessee does against the Colts. If the Titans lose, the Browns are in no matter what they do. If Tennessee wins, then it also won't matter what the Browns do. They won't be in the postseason. But they want to finish strong no matter what. I'll take them here.
Minnesota 3 DENVER
The Vikings had a huge loss last week, and it likely will cost them the postseason. They must win here, and hope that the Redskins lose against the Cowboys. Even if they don't win, they look pretty strong going into next year. As for the Broncos, they can't wait for the season to end, like a lot of teams. They also have some work to do in the offseason.
San Diego 8 OAKLAND
Another useless game here, but I am sure the Chargers would like to end on a positive note. The Raiders have not been good but to their credit have not quit all year. They would probably love to beat the Chargers to end their season, but it isn't going to happen. I'll take San Diego here in this useless game.
ARIZONA 6 1/2 St. Louis
Who cares. Really. This game is only for the diehards. But I guess I need to pick a winner anyway, so I will go with the Cardinals.
NEW YORK JETS 6 Kansas City
Another one of those games. See note above.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Tennessee 6 INDIANAPOLIS
There were other games I could have picked, but I chose this one because there is so much on the line. The Titans must win this game to get into the playoffs. If they lose, they are out. Too bad I can't see them winning this game. The Colts will rest a lot of players, but they certainly aren't going to let the Titans just win. Not quite enough for Tennessee this year, but they were still a surprise.
STINKER OF THE WEEK
Cincinnati 3 MIAMI
Lots of games to choose here, but this was the winner because neither team is going to the postseason, and the Dolphins are arguably the worst team in football. The Bengals were a gigantic disappointment, and truthfully Miami was expected to be better. Now they have Bill Parcells taking over, but he has a lot of work to do. I'll take the Bengals here.
Record for Week 16: 8-7-1 ( 12-4 without the spread )
Record Through Week 16: 110-120-10 (151-89 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 10-5
Stinker of Week Record: 6-9
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here: