NFL Game Picks: Week 17
NFL Game Picks: Week 17
We’re finally here, folks: Week 17. The season has flown by. There’s just one more week to go before the playoffs begin. With all but three spots decided among the playoff teams, there are quite a few matchups this week that will decide which teams will play this postseason and which ones will be watching the playoffs at home.
Here’s one last look at the 2017 NFL regular season:
Chicago Bears (5-10) @ Minnesota Vikings (12-3)
Not much excitement here. With Minnesota basically secured in the No. 2 seed (a whole slew of things would need to happen to keep the Vikings from earning a first-round bye), a win here would only make the resume look better. It will be interesting to see if the Vikings can ride their home-field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl, which will be held in Minnesota.
The pick: Minnesota, 35-14.
Cleveland Browns (0-15) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
It looks like it’s really going to happen: 0-16. It’s hard to imagine that last year’s 1-15 Browns team may actually end this year with an even worse record. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will be needing some help from the Jets to grab the AFC’s top spot. In all likelihood, the Steelers will be stuck with the No. 2 seed. Being an overturned touchdown away from No. 1 is a tough pill to swallow.
The pick: Pittsburgh, 29-10.
Dallas Cowboys (8-7) @ Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)
The Eagles may have locked up home-field advantage in the NFC, but not without worries. Shaky victories over the Giants and Raiders prove that this team has its weaknesses and can be beaten, especially with Carson Wentz out for the rest of the year. An angry, eliminated Dallas team may make this one much closer than Week 11’s blowout.
The pick: Philadelphia, 26-24.
Green Bay Packers (7-8) @ Detroit Lions (8-7)
The season ends in disappointment for both the Packers and Lions, who were eliminated after losses in Week 15 and 16, respectively. Overall, this game won’t mean very much. The Lions are, however, presented with the chance to sweep their division rival for the first time in what seems like forever. Expect them to capitalize in the moment.
The pick: Detroit, 20-14.
Houston Texans (4-11) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-12)
The issue with Week 17 is that, while there are definitely some very crucial games, every once in a while, we get relatively meaningless games like this one. Draft position is the only real matter to be decided here. Indianapolis played competitively in Baltimore, while Houston couldn’t do a thing at home against Pittsburgh, so perhaps the Colts have the edge.
The pick: Indianapolis, 22-16.
New York Jets (5-10) @ New England Patriots (12-3)
It goes without saying that the Steelers will be Jets fans this Sunday. New England’s recent signing of legendary Steelers linebacker James Harrison is salt in the wound. With home-field advantage in the AFC on the line, what are the chances that the Patriots drop the regular season finale against New York? Not very good. New England should win.
The pick: New England, 38-17.
Washington Redskins (7-8) @ New York Giants (2-13)
Even with Ben McAdoo out of the locker room, issues persist for the Giants on and off the field (check out Landon Collins’s recent comments on Eli Apple). The only silver lining right now is their high draft position come April. The Redskins, meanwhile, are looking to finish the season on a strong note by winning their final three games, and they might just do it.
The pick: Washington, 27-9.
Carolina Panthers (11-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (9-6)
This is one of the few Week 17 matchups that has serious playoff implications for both teams. Carolina has secured a playoff spot, but a win here and a misstep by New Orleans would mean a postseason home game for the Panthers. It’s win-and-in for the Falcons, but a loss would open the door for Seattle. Can the Falcons capitalize at the most important moment? We’ll see.
The pick: Atlanta, 24-22.
Buffalo Bills (8-7) @ Miami Dolphins (6-9)
Entering Week 17, the Bills are going to need quite a few things to go their way in order to reach the postseason for the first time in nearly twenty years. It all starts with a win in Miami, which is easier said than done. Jay Cutler and the Dolphins may be looking to play spoiler for their division rivals. This might be Week 17’s hidden gem.
The pick: Buffalo, 20-16.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
Unlike the Bills, the Ravens control their own playoff destiny. A win locks up the No. 5 seed in the AFC for Baltimore. The 20-0 victory over the Bengals in Week one bodes well for the Ravens, though Cincinnati will likely be making this one closer. All things considered, the Ravens should win if they play like they have been playing recently.
The pick: Baltimore, 28-21.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) @ Denver Broncos (5-10)
Kansas City’s midseason scare has blown by, as the Chiefs find themselves locked into the No. 4 seed as champions of the AFC West. It’s a great opportunity to try out backup rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the first time in a game that means nothing to either team, and Andy Reid has realized this. Will Mahomes be the quarterback of the future? Sunday’s game might give us a glimpse.
The pick: Kansas City, 25-18.
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5) @ Tennessee Titans (8-7)
Just like Baltimore, Tennessee faces a win-and-in situation. Granted, they have a much tougher opponent than the Ravens. The Jaguars, who are locked into the AFC’s No. 3 seed, could rest their starters to prepare for the postseason. However, the opportunity to effectively end the season of their divisional rival might be too tempting to pass up.
The pick: Jacksonville, 26-21.
Oakland Raiders (6-9) @ Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
Los Angeles may be on the outside looking in at the moment, but their odds of making the playoffs are better than they may appear to be. A win at home over Oakland and some help from Jacksonville would nearly secure a playoff berth for the Chargers. After a 0-4 start, the Bolts still have hope in Week 17.
The pick: Los Angeles, 34-20.
San Francisco 49ers (5-10) @ Los Angeles Rams (11-4)
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers have been smoking hot with four straight wins, but can they overcome the 11-4 Rams? It’s possible. San Francisco has spent its last two weeks knocking off two playoff contenders. Who’s to say this one will be any different? Maybe Jared Goff and Todd Gurley do. They’ll have to prove it on the field this Sunday to secure the No. 3 seed in the NFC.
The pick: Los Angeles, 27-26.
New Orleans Saints (11-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
Often times, a 12-4 record is good enough for a first-round bye. Other times, a 12-4 record only yields the No. 4 seed, as may be the case with New Orleans this year. In fact, if Minnesota, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Carolina all win, Carolina will be stuck with the No. 5 seed at 12-4. It’s crazy how competitive the NFC is. In the meantime, the Saints should take care of business.
The pick: New Orleans, 34-13.
Arizona Cardinals (7-8) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
It’s strange to see playoff-regular Seattle needing help to make the playoffs this year. They’ll need a win at home and a loss from Atlanta. Even then, a win for the Seahawks isn’t even a guarantee. Since Bruce Arians began coaching the Cardinals, they have won three out of four times while playing in Seattle. For sure, this is one to keep an eye on.
The pick: Seattle, 24-20.
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.