NFL Week 17 Predictions

Earlier this week I posted a graphic on Twitter about the changing playoff picture for this year, finding that it’s really just another case of health (primarily at QB) determining the changes. The only real decay and growth came from the Lions and Vikings, which many expected to happen.

NewPOTeams

There was something the other day I thought I would build this Week 17 post around, but it has slipped my mind. It was not going to be a rant about the MVP, because Carson Palmer should have been leading that for several weeks. I’m tired of talking about that. It wasn’t about Carolina, which finally lost a close game last week. I’m not even sure it was about the Chiefs, who I just don’t think are anything special again this season. Was it about the prospects of a weak AFC playoff field practically rolling out a red carpet for the Patriots to the Super Bowl? No, I don’t think so. Was it some support for Marvin Lewis, who might have had a No. 1 seed if Andy Dalton and Tyler Eifert didn’t get hurt at the worst time? Probably not. I’m not nearly interested enough in Vikings-Packers to even preview it at this point, especially if we end up having to preview it again a week later.

Whatever it was, I’m sure I will get back to it eventually this month, which is usually my busiest of the year. The playoffs are coming, moving on from the weakest regular season I can ever remember following.

Which games are even worth focusing on this week?

Jets at Bills – that sure would be perfect for Rex Ryan to keep the Jets out of the playoffs with a season sweep. However, it’s been about five years since Ryan did something monumental, so why should we expect it now? Of course, the Jets are a team known for failing in ways worthy of Greek tragedy. But I think they get this one, because they really let the first meeting get away with some bad play calls and bounces. The Jets have a better offense and better defense than Buffalo. They also just may have the better coach too.

Steelers at Browns – so I’m not expecting the Steelers to get the help they need (a Bills win) to make the playoffs, but that’s why you take care of your own business and win the games you’re supposed to. The Steelers will naturally smoke Cleveland, getting the memo one week too late when they should have taken care of The Replacements in Baltimore last week. If they can’t even beat Austin Davis and a Cleveland team waiting to fire Mike Pettine, they shouldn’t even think of bringing Mike Tomlin back next year.

Patriots at Dolphins – the outrage over New England’s justifiable decision to kick off in overtime was funny to me. I guess the league will do what it takes to build up some Week 17 drama. That No. 1 seed isn’t in jeopardy at all. I know Miami has won the last two home meetings against the Patriots, but have you seen Miami play this year? Out of the ridiculous 10 scenarios the Colts needed to make the playoffs, Miami beating New England is probably the most far fetched of them all. The Patriots will win and the Texans, albeit a mediocre team at best, will win the AFC South.

Seahawks at Cardinals – it’s the DVOA Bowl. Seattle ranks 2nd and Arizona ranks 1st in DVOA in a tight battle with one game left. Seattle’s DVOA dynasty has been something else, leading the league three years in a row. That’s about the only thing on the line for Pete Carroll here, so I actually think he should rest starters. The NFC North winner followed by Carolina is a playoff path I wouldn’t mind starting out on, and why show the Cardinals your current offense this close to the playoffs? This could be the game that ends Seattle’s 85-game no blowout streak. Backwards hat Jeff Fisher came pretty close last week, which was a real surprise. But that also speaks to why this team does so well in DVOA. The Seahawks rarely have bad quarters, let alone bad games. They are always so competitive and never out of a game. They just may have their worst two-game stretch in a while here if they take this game lightly.

Vikings at Packers – doesn’t it seem like every Week 17 has the Packers in some crucial playoff seeding game? That’s what made me realize earlier this week that despite such a long run of HOF QB play and 10-win seasons, the Packers have only had a first-round bye three times since 1998. Even Jeff Fisher has done that (2000, 2002, 2008). This year’s team does not look like it’s headed anywhere far, but the Vikings are one team I can trust these Packers to beat by having the defense step up. Then again, Minnesota’s really seemed to have an 07 Giants-like surge from the confidence it gained in Arizona a few weeks back. Remember, the Vikings were supposed to get killed in Arizona on a short week with several starters out, but were down 3 points in the final minute in field goal range, not too unlike its loss in Denver earlier this season. Then Teddy Bridgewater had his most dominant game against the Bears and the Vikings embarrassed the Giants last week. Maybe this team is peaking at the right time, but this is a great test on the road where the Packers have already lost at home to the Bears and Lions this year. The Vikings have enough on the roster to win this one, yet my knee-jerk reaction is to still go with Green Bay.

So we’re not really set up for a ton of excitement on the final day of the regular season, but something worthwhile should happen.

2015 Week 17 Predictions

Keep in mind I am 3-12 at picking Tampa Bay games this year…And it’s about 10:16 p.m. on Saturday night and I don’t have a f’n clue who the Colts are starting at quarterback, yet I almost feel compelled to still pick them.

Winners in bold:

  • Redskins at Cowboys
  • Eagles at Giants
  • Saints at Falcons
  • Jets at Bills
  • Steelers at Browns
  • Patriots at Dolphins
  • Titans at Colts
  • Lions at Bears
  • Jaguars at Texans
  • Ravens at Bengals
  • Raiders at Chiefs
  • Chargers at Broncos
  • Seahawks at Cardinals
  • Buccaneers at Panthers
  • Rams at 49ers
  • Vikings at Packers

Season Results

  • Week 1: 10-6
  • Week 2: 6-10
  • Week 3: 14-2
  • Week 4: 11-4
  • Week 5: 9-5
  • Week 6: 8-6
  • Week 7: 10-4
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Week 9: 8-5
  • Week 10: 4-10
  • Week 11: 9-5
  • Week 12: 8-8
  • Week 13: 11-5
  • Week 14: 10-6
  • Week 15: 11-5
  • Week 16: 9-7
  • Season: 148-92 (.617)
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