Well this is it. Week 17 of another great NFL season. Week 17 of course means a final playoff push for many teams, especially in the AFC this year. There are seven teams in the AFC vying for the final two playoff spots. Two of the teams, Miami and Jacksonville, are mathematically still alive but realistically have no shot. The New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens have the best shots, but as we have seen, especially this past weekend, anything goes in the NFL.
I will get right to the picks, but note that many of the spreads are due to the expected rest of many players on what would normally be a favored team. For instance, Buffalo is favored by two points over Indianapolis, where normally that would not be the case.
As always, home team in CAPS.
BUFFALO 2 Indianapolis
It looks like Jim Caldwell rested his players too soon last week. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I don't think it will make too much of a difference. The Colts need to win to keep in a groove considering they will be getting a week of rest after this game.
CAROLINA 3 New Orleans
The Panthers have looked great lately, but too little, way too late. There might be some concern for the Saints after losing to the Bucs last week, but I don't see any problems right now. Even though there is a good chance some players get some rest this game, if the Saints look bad again, than perhaps there can be some concern on the bayou.
CLEVELAND 2 1/2 Jacksonville
The Browns are playing well right now. Yes that was read correctly. The Jags are realistically out of the post season. So really, I don't think too many will be watching this game.
Chicago 2 1/2 DETROIT
I am not sure anybody will be watching this game either, even in Chicago and Detroit.
HOUSTON 7 1/2 New England
The Patriots are lucky this game doesn't mean all that much to them, because I have a feeling they are going to get waxed. The Texans absolutely must win, and the Patriots just need to get out healthy. The Patriots can't beat anybody on the road, especially decent teams. There are advantages to the Patriots playing well and winning, but it doesn't appear that they will.
MIAMI 1 1/2 Pittsburgh
Both teams are likely out of the post season, but the Steelers have the better shot. Therefore I think the Steelers win this game, especially where they have been playing better. But the defending Super Bowl Champs will be left out of the post season.
MINNESOTA 4 New York Giants
The Vikings haven't looked great lately, and they might even lose out on their second seed. The Giants got pasted at home last week, and will be out of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how Brett Favre plays down the stretch. If years past is any indication, I think we already know the answer.
NEW YORK JETS 10 Cincinnati
The Jets got major help last week with the Colts playing third stringers for part of the game. The Jets must win this game to get to the post season. The Bengals are already in, but would like to keep some momentum going.. This is a tough game to call, but I like Cincinnati. Even with resting some of their players I think they get the job done here.
San Francisco 7 ST. LOUIS
Another game where nobody really cares too much. The Rams need a lot of work next off season. A lot.
Atlanta 1 1/2 TAMPA BAY
Another ho hum game for the final week of the season.
DENVER 13 Kansas City
The Broncos must win and get some help to play another game, and I think they will get that help. I don't see any problems with them winning here, but they need the Jets and Baltimore to lose. See you in the playoffs.
Baltimore 10 OAKLAND
The Ravens are also a team that must win, and even though the Raiders haven't been easy this year, they should be able to get the job done. Baltimore also holds a lot of tie breaker edges, so the playoffs are likely. Assuming they win this game. And I assume they will.
SAN DIEGO 3 1/2 Washington
The Chargers kept rolling along in December, but we will see if they keep rolling along in January. They are a team that nobody wants to play, and for good reason. No problems here as San Diego gears up for a long playoff run.
ARIZONA 3 Green Bay
Both teams are in the playoffs, and barring some upsets the seedings aren't going to matter too much. The Packers are playing well, but the Cardinals can go on a roll at any time, just like last year. Both teams will likely be resting some players, but I'll take the Cardinals.
Game of the Week
DALLAS 3 Philadelphia
This is actually a big game, but the winner will win the NFC East. The Eagles are one of the hottest teams right now, and it is going to be a game late in the year so it is hard to trust Wade Phillips and Tony Romo. Both teams are in the post season no matter what. Watch out for the Eagles in the playoffs.
Stinker of the Week
Tennessee 4 SEATTLE
This is the Stinker for a big reason.
AFC Playoff Teams
NFC Playoff Teams
Record For Week 16: 6-10 (8-8 without the spread )
Record Through Week 16: 102-109-2 ( 140-73 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 6-8
Stinker of Week Record: 6-8
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:
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