I missed on Miami, Kansas City, Cleveland, Seattle, Detroit and Green Bay last week.
Miami should have beaten Buffalo based on talent, but the NFL is loaded with talent that can win any week against anyone. Buffalo looked good at home against a Dolphins team, who couldn’t protect their quarterback.
Kansas City just got destroyed. I don’t even know how that happened. Indy plays up to their competition.
Cleveland should never be trusted to win a game… ever.
Seattle lost at home. Expect the apocalypse to occur shortly.
Detroit lost at home. Probably should have expected that one…
Green Bay has a great chance, but were really missing Aaron Rodgers.
If you have any questions or simply want to discuss my Week 17 NFL Predictions, simply contact me and I’ll try to get back as soon as I can.
Sunday, 12/29 – 1:00 pm ET
Cleveland Browns 4-11 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 7-8
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers
The question is if the Browns can play spoilers and ruin the Steelers’ outside shot of getting into the playoffs. Nope. The Steelers are playing like a playoff team and the Browns continue to get into close games and lose them. Cleveland fell to the Jets last week, which shows me they aren’t ready to upset a Steelers’ team that needs a win to have a chance.
Washington Redskins 3-12 @ New York Giants 6-9
Prediction: Washington Redskins
This is a toss-up, but I really think Washington is rallying behind Kirk Cousins and trying to finish strong. The Redskins have has some close finishes in back-to-back weeks and despite a trip to New York, I like them to finally break through and pull off the win. The big question mark in this one is Eli Manning. If he plays up to his ability, the Giants win this game comfortably. If he throws multiple picks like he has for stretches all season, the Redskins will be sitting pretty by game’s end.
Baltimore Ravens 8-7 @ Cincinnati Bengals 10-5
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
Another tough game to call because, on one hand, the Ravens are a team that Cincinnati has never been able to beat in a comfortable fashion or really even when there is something on the line. On the other hand, Cincinnati has been a top-five NFL team when playing at home this season. They have beaten New England, Green Bay and Pittsburgh in Cincinnati using a suffocating defense and Andy Dalton’s spectacular quarterback play. On the road, they are simply above average, but playing at home is a completely different story. With a Patriots loss and a Bengals win, Cincy will have a first-round bye and be home unless they have to meet up with Denver. That is huge for this Bengals team. I think they know that, and know that they can push Baltimore out of the playoffs with a win. I like Cincinnati to play well with that home-field advantage.
Houston Texans 2-13 @ Tennesse Titans 6-9
Prediction: Tennessee Titans
There is a chance that Tennessee loses with nothing left to play for, but Houston is done. They are already looking at their first-overall pick and I don’t expect them to surprise a Titans team that is playing in front of their home fans.
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-11 @ Indianapolis Colts 10-5
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis needs this game to have a chance to improve their seed (with a Bengals loss and/or a Patriots loss) and Jacksonville is playing for pride. Indy should win.
New York Jets 7-8 @ Miami Dolphins 8-7
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
Geno Smith has been playing better for the Jets over the past three games, despite my seemingly weekly prediction that he will falter, but with that said, I can’t count on him to go to Miami and knock off a Miami team playing for their playoff opportunity. Miami can bring tremendous pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which should be the difference. I also like Ryan Tannehill to play like a playoff quarterback, leading the Dolphins’ offense.
Detroit Lions 7-8 @ Minnesota Vikings 4-10-1
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings
I’m picking the upset here. In the final week of the season, there are games between teams that are playing for nothing and this is one of them. With the letdown from last week’s loss at home to the Giants, I think Detroit could struggle on the road. They went from playing for the NFC North, controlling their own destiny, to losing to a under .500 team, knocking them out of the playoffs. I think Minnesota plays hard and uses Cordarrelle Patterson to pull off a win heading into the offseason.
Carolina Panthers 11-4 @ Atlanta Falcons 4-11
Prediction: Carolina Panthers
Carolina needs this game for a chance at the top seed, which would be huge for this team. Atlanta’s defense is terrible, so I expect Carolina to pound the ball on the ground, control the game and win the game.
Sunday, 12/29 – 4:25 pm ET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 @ New Orleans Saints 10-5
Prediction: New Orleans Saints
I’m taking the Saints at home. They need a win and some help to help their playoff seed. Playing at home is huge and the Buccaneers aren’t going to surprise them.
Buffalo Bills 6-9 @ New England Patriots 11-4
Prediction: New England Patriots
The Bills are without E.J. Manuel at quarterback, which is a big blow for the Bills, but I don’t think Buffalo really had a great chance even with him in. The Patriots are closing in on January and you know they are hitting their stride over this week. Should be closer than expected, but New England will win.
St. Louis Rams 7-8 @ Seattle Seahawks 12-3
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
So, I can’t simply pick Seattle every time they play at home after they fell to Arizona last week, but the Cardinals are a great team. St. Louis is a great team at home, but on the road, they are a below-average talent team with Kellen Clemens at quarterback. Seattle will be focused and will be at home. 14-1 over the last 15 home games isn’t too bad, so I won’t give up on the “Seattle home” effect.
Green Bay Packers 7-7-1 @ Chicago Bears 8-7
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
Winner take-all. Aaron Rodgers is back and the Bears are now forced to at least question if Jay Cutler should have replaced Josh McCown when the offense was so hot. I like to see Eddie Lacy put up huge numbers for the Packers and allow Rodgers to pick his spots. Plus, I picked Green Bay to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl… so…
San Francisco 49ers 11-4 @ Arizona Cardinals 10-5
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals
I have been referring to the Cardinals as the quiet success story for most of the season. They have a great defense, a solid offense, and Carson Palmer who has the ability to be a solid quarterback when he isn’t throwing interceptions. Knocking off Seattle in Seattle was huge last week in many ways, but I really think the momentum that causes is the biggest factor here. Arizona is at home, in front of their home fans with the momentum of knocking off the Seahawks. They know they can beat the 49ers.
Denver Broncos 12-3 @ Oakland Raiders 4-11
Prediction: Denver Broncos
I can’t take Oakland. Peyton Manning is chasing history and Denver needs a win to ensure the top seed. Denver will take care of business and win this game.
Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 @ San Diego Chargers 8-7
Prediction: San Diego Chargers
There is risk for the Chargers. The Chiefs are resting some key players, but backups will view this as their opportunity to make a name for themselves. San Diego has to be sure to come out focused and ready to go. I think they will and will win in a game they need to have a chance at the playoffs.
Sunday, 12/29 – 8:30 pm ET
Philadelphia Eagles 9-6 @ Dallas Cowboys 8-7
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys
Let’s call this my expert pick. Philly is hot and Dallas is entering the game without Tony Romo, however, I think this could be just what Dallas needs. I have been saying all season that Dallas needs to utilize their run game behind DeMarco Murray. With Kyle Orton at quarterback, who isn’t really as bad as far as backup quarterbacks go, the Cowboys will, in theory, run the ball as a focal point of their offense. If they actually do that, control the clock and allow Murray to lead them, then the Cowboys will win. If they screw up that plan, then Dallas has no hope. My thinking is that even the coaching staff realizes they have no other option, but to give the ball to Murray.